Yoga for First Responders Teacher Training

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This week I am immersed in a week-long teacher training with Yoga for First Responders in Pflugerville, Texas. The training has been awesome so far, and I’m feeling a little out of my comfort zone— in a good way. ;)

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I arrived in Austin on Sunday, after a smooth and fun travel day.

The morning kicked off with a beautiful pastel-colored sunrise in Chico. I took a walk in the park, and a few deep breaths, before hitting the road to the airport.

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The flight was relaxing, and I spent most of it enjoying reading The Upside of Stress, a fascinating book by Kelly McGonigal that’s incorporated into our training. She talks about the benefits of embracing stress, and how this can make us stronger, smarter, and happier. This book has given me an awesome and new perspective— highly recommend it!

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I landed in Austin, grabbed my rental car, and headed downtown to Jugo, an awesome juice shop that has graciously helped sponsor me during my training.

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A few blocks from the store I discovered the Pecan Street Festival, and wandered around for a few minutes to check out the art vendors and live music. Austin is jam-packed with fun restaurants and interesting people, and sweltering heat!

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I am so grateful for the juices that Jugo provided me, and their store was gorgeous. The menu is impressive, and the customer service beyond excellent… I’ll definitely be back to this spot!

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By this time, I was feeling somewhat depleted and the fresh juice — a simple blend of apple, spinach and lemon — was a very helpful pick-me-up. As a sensitive person, being in a new place can feel a little overwhelming at first, and the taste of the juice reminded me of home and helped me feel very grounded and grateful. I made my way to my airBnb, kicked off my shoes, and called it a day.

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The next morning I woke up feeling over-the-moon excited to start training.

I could feel the energy of excitement and anticipation as we launched into the day.

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The crew at Yoga For First Responders is a team of passionate, well-educated and highly motivated folks, and throughout the day I was inspired by their expertise with yoga and the science behind why it works. We talked about the benefits of utilizing breath and postures to regulate the nervous system, perform well under pressure, and build resilience.

I learned a lot about the stress response and post-traumatic stress, and enjoyed the workshop we did on sun salutations. Throughout the day, we emphasized the importance of command presence— of speaking with confidence (“loud and proud”)— whenever you teach.

What struck me most about Day 1 was hearing from all 50 trainees about why they’re here. Early in the day, we went around the room to introduce ourselves and share where we’re from and why we’re here for the training.

I was surprised to learn that the yogis in the room have traveled from all over the world— from as far as the Netherlands to as close as the fire station where we’re training— to absorb this knowledge and bring it back to their communities.

I felt incredibly moved listening to their stories…

A fire captain with tears in his eyes talking about how he wants to do right by his new recruits.

A woman who recently lost her sister to an overdose, and whose experience with the first responders on scene has to inspired her to give back.

A mother who is 5 months pregnant who modifies her sun salutations when we practice. She’s here training, and also in the middle of another 200-hour yoga certification program.

A trainer who recently went through chemotherapy and is here with passion and enthusiasm that is a blessing to witness.

A woman who has never done yoga before— and on day one, she's learning not only how to be a student but also how to be a teacher.

An Ashtangi from the overseas.

Yogis who are ex-military. Retired law enforcement. Spouses of first responders. Yoga teachers.

All of us, united with the common goal to help those who serve as first responders.

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Day 1 was powerful and inspiring, and I’m super excited to continue this training.

Feeling so, so grateful to be here.

Stay tuned ;)

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