Yoga helping firefighters in Pleasant Grove | News, Sports, Jobs

Courtesy Jill Einerson

Pleasant Grove resident Jill Einerson volunteers her time to regularly teach yoga and meditation to members of the Pleasant Grove Fire Department.

Last year, Pleasant Grove resident Jill Einerson noticed a few of the firefighters pull up a yoga instruction video on a phone while at the Pleasant Grove Recreation Center. That chance occurrence turned into something mutually beneficial for Einerson and the entire fire department.

Einerson, at the time, was completing a yoga instructor certification course and had been teaching a few classes as part of her course. She was looking for other opportunities to teach more students.

“I saw that they were finding some stretches online. I was watching from a distance. Then, I said to them, ‘Can I practice on you guys?’ One of them said, ‘Why not? Why don’t you come to the fire department and teach all of the crew? ‘”

Einerson did just that. The firefighters loved it so much they asked her to come back.

“They loved the stretch part. One of the chiefs mentioned that they are trying to bring a focus on mental health to their department. The job carries so much weight and so much emotion. He expressed the need for mental health among their department. I said, ‘I’d love to keep coming back and doing meditation and yoga,’ ”she said.

Courtesy Jill Einerson

Pleasant Grove resident Jill Einerson volunteers her time to regularly teach yoga and meditation to members of the Pleasant Grove Fire Department.

Since that time a year ago, Einerson has been the regular yoga teacher for the Pleasant Grove Fire Department.

“It’s fun because it’s a different crew of guys as they change shifts. They keep asking me to come back so it must be doing something good, ”Einerson said. “Some have said, ‘I didn’t know how tight I was from stress until you walked me through that meditation,’ or ‘That’s just what I needed today.'”

The class takes place at the fire station and everyone gets involved – including the department secretary and Arson, the firehouse dog. “Arson finds his spot on the mat and does it too,” Einerson said.

One time, when the group was practicing yoga, they were in the middle of a meditation of visual imagery and their alarms went off for a call, according to Einerson.

“Some of those firefighters were almost asleep on their mats when the alarm went off, so relaxed. And I was so impressed that in literally under three minutes they were dressed in their gear and in their trucks heading down the road to answer the call, ”she said. “It was so cool to see and it gave me confidence that when we call and need them, they will be there in a hurry to help. They were dressed in their fire gear, ready to go. ”

Deputy Fire Chief Chase Gustman said that regular yoga has been beneficial to the members of the department. “I have heard a few of the firefighters talk about the increased flexibility and how they feel better after each session. A lot of them appreciate the five to ten minutes of guided meditation at the end, ”he said. “I personally enjoy the increased flexibility and the improvements in my balance. Also, I feel noticeably less stressed after each session, and I’m not the only one who mentions that. ”

Gustman said that strength and endurance are important when it comes to firefighters’ ability to do their job. “Sometimes we overlook balance and flexibility, which can be just as important and help us reduce injuries. Yoga does a great job of working on the flexibility and balance aspect that we sometimes miss with standard cardio and strength training, ”he said.

Einerson added that she volunteers her time because she is grateful for what the fire department does for the community. “It is a very high stress job, with demanding hours and lots of time away from their families. It is hard on them physically, mentally and emotionally, ”she said. “Anytime someone expresses a need to address mental health, I love to share yoga and what I have learned about how it can be so healing and soothing for the mind and body.”

Einerson has now been teaching as a certified instructor for the last year and previously taught as a volunteer in her neighborhood, church and city. She currently teaches at the Pleasant Grove Recreation Center and at Mindpose Yoga in Lindon. “Over the last year, I’ve really fallen in love with the mental benefits. I’ve seen such a benefit for myself in the mental and emotional aspect, ”she said.

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