EMS World

AUG 2018

EMS World Magazine is the most authoritative source in the world for clinical and educational material designed to improve the delivery of prehospital emergency medical care.

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Page 42 of 51

PROVIDER WELLNESS 42 AUGUST 2018 | EMSWORLD.com W h e n m o s t p e o p l e h e a r "yoga," they have one of a few responses: "Yoga is for girl s," "I'm not flexible," "I don't know how to relax," "I'm too over- weight," "You won't see me in a pair of yoga pants!" I thought a lot of the same things. But after six years of training, I've learned yoga is so much more than I could have imagined. The first time someone told me to tr y yoga, I laughed. I'm your typical adrena- line junkie—I've been in EMS for 25 years. I thrive off the rush you get going to emer- gencies, the thrill of the fast-paced think- ing in touchy situations, the high you feel during and after a bad call. But I'm also a runner, which has result- ed in frequent injuries. Following my initial skepticism I decided that if yoga could help me get back to running, I'd tr y it. It wasn't enjoyable for me at first. The practice made me slow down and chal- lenged me physically and mentally in ways I hadn't been challenged before. Yet I forced myself go back. And while initially it was a way to get me back to running, I soon found yoga was actually changing my life. Calm in the Storm The focused practice of yoga goes biologi- cally deeper than just stretching and relax- ing. Yoga taps into your nervous system by By Heidi Wiegand, NRP YOGA FOR FIRST RESPONDERS EMS workers live in a constant state of hypervigilance— yoga can help calm the storm 5 Yoga Strategies Olivia Kvitne, founder and director of YFFR, and a featured speaker at EMS World Expo 2018, offers these yoga tips for EMS providers: 1) It takes just three minutes of mindful breath work to effectively calm the nervous system. 2) If an overwhelming sensation begins to take hold, try this: Begin to breathe through the nose rather than the mouth. Drop the breath down low into the belly. Extend the exhale longer than the inhale. 3) When you begin your yoga practice, there's often an expecta- tion to feel relaxed, peaceful, or at ease. You may not, and that's OK. Release those expectations. 4) Move first thing. Simple move- ments, coupled with breath and an empowering affirmation, can set the tone for your entire day. 5) If you experience symptoms of post-traumatic stress or vicarious traumatization, look for a yoga class taught by a teacher trained in trauma-sensitive yoga. —Source: Yoga Journal, www.yogajournal.com Photo courtesy Olivia Kvitne

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