Monday, July 2, 2012

Interview: Yoga for Uniforms

Yoga and exercising have always been something important to me. The benifits for your mind,body and soul are incredible. My gorgeous and talented friend Sarah Lewis has created an amazing company that intends to spread the benefits of yoga to our men and women in uniforms. As a wife of a cop I know first hand the stress that the job has on the cop and cops family. Read on and check out her amazing company.
Also we are going to do a giveaway for one of her amazing shirts. So leave a comment and your email to be entered.
Without further a do here she is

. Name,name of company,website.
Guardian Yoga Foundation, 501c3, non-profit. Program name is Yoga for Uniforms.

2. Tell us a little about your journey from your previous job to a yoga instructor.
Yoga has always provided me with an extraordinary release from whatever stressors I was experiencing. I wanted to be able to have the tools to share this incredible gift with others. I enrolled in my 200hr Yoga Teacher Training and never looked back!
My role as a technical specialist for one of the largest medical device companies allowed me to attend various surgeries and continue to expand my knowledge of anatomy and physiology, I am extremely lucky to have the 'day job' that I do. It not only provides me continuous educational opportunities it helps me truly understand the importance that yoga can play in our overall health and wellness, whether it be as restorative practice or as a vigorous power flow.
3. How did you decide to create a company to support police officers?
My first 200 hr certification assigned a Seva ( service) project that was to assist us with two things: a. Deeper understanding of service and how we will use our yoga to serve
how does your company help men in uniforms?
Our service men and women are often running into the chaos when everyone else is running out. The heightened levels of stress that our first responders are faced with daily can contribute to numerous health issues. Research by John M. Violanti, PhD at the University of Buffalo's School of Social and Preventive Medicine in the School of Public Health and Health Professions has been ground breaking in identifying clinically the effects that job stressors may be having on our first responders. "A new study published in the current issue of Archives of Environmental & Occupational Health (vol. 64, No. 3) shows that this combination of night work, overtime and shortened sleep can contribute to the development among police officers of the metabolic syndrome, a combination of unhealthful factors that increase the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), primarily heart disease and stroke."
Our mission statement is: " to support, develop and promote healthy mind, body and spirit for all those who serve in uniform by providing affordable, accessible and adaptable yoga" Our rationale for doing so is to have happier, healthier responders on the streets and as members of their family unit. We have chosen Yoga as our vehicle but our goal is to provide additional tools to assist our service men and women with their long term, overall health and wellness.

4. As a fellow wife of a police officer would you say practicing yoga has helped you deal with what our husbands do or could face every day?
Yes, from a personal perspective my practice has helped me find balance through some very challenging situations. Being a Law Enforcement Family is challenging, there is no other way to put it. I believe it is imperative to the safety and wellness of our officers that we remain grounded and supportive of their career decisions, for me yoga helps me with that. When I want to have an argument as he is about to leave for work or I am angry when I come home to the dirty dishes in the sink, my practice reminds me to breath. What they are faced with everyday are some of the most heinous, unjust acts of person to person violence and it is extremely difficult for me to support him if I am not 100% present.
5. Can you give us the top five reasons why anyone should do yoga?
Increased Flexibility: Flexibility and physical activity are important factors for our first responders. I see numerous issues with young officers, specifically around their hamstrings and lower back. Due to the pressure of their duty belt and or other equipment they have added an additional 30+ pounds around their waists and they are sedentary for some of their shift. This additional weight can cause muscle tightness and a decrease in flexibility.
Increases your focus and attention: through the focus on breath during the physical practice we are forced to be present. When we are attempting a more challenging asana, we need our breath in order to complete the pose and we need our focus to remain in the present moment to assist us with all of our balancing postures. We are retraining our brains to utilize breath as fuel for concentration. In the world of first responders, we are providing a tool that may help them make their strategy for their next move.
Decreases Stress: Everywhere you turn people are talking about 'decreasing stress'. We know that the chemical cortisol and adrenaline are released into someone's system when they become overly stressed. Clinically, we know that excessive amounts of these hormones can lead to issues with digestion, sleep and cardio vascular health. The practice of asana (postures) and pranayama (breath work) provides a tremendous outlet for relaxation and lowers levels of stress hormones provide individuals to operate in hemostasis.
Increases sleep and healthy sleeping patterns: Through the consistent lowering of your respiratory rate, blood pressure and heart beat your practice assists your body by providing you with the opportunity to come into a restful state. A regular practice has been proven to decrease stress, which appears to be the number one factor in poor sleeping habits.
Yoga is for everyone: There is something for everyone with a regular practice. You are guaranteed to see results, whether they are physical, mental or emotional through a regular practice. Any individual, who has the desire to explore yoga can. are your classes set up?
Classes are set up in a 6 part series right now. We have tried 3 part introductory workshops. Beginning in August we will move to a regular schedule of two, 1-hour classes per week from August 2012- August 2013.
Classes are free.
Who are they designed for?
All service men and women and their families.
7. Where do you see this company going in the next few years?
It is our desire to make yoga available to all service individuals in Dallas Fort Worth.
We have partnered with several local municipalities regarding our formal home for the program and this will be announced within the next few days.
Our kick off Fund Raiser is occurring 11/29 in Dallas at the Sammons Center, with the unbelievable support of several famous yogis.
We aim to expand the program to Arlington, Fort Worth and Richardson by the close of 2012.
We have partnered with the Give Back Yoga Foundation and are working to make this a national campaign for all first responders.
8. can you give us your top five favorite poses!
Balasana (Child's Pose): One of the most centering and grounding poses.
Parsva Bakasana (Side Crane Pose): Challenging and super rewarding. Great way to detox your inner organs
Trikonasana (Extended Triangle): excellent shoulder and side body stretch
Salamba Sirsasana: (Supported Headstand) nothing in this world like turning things upside down.
Savasana (Corpse Pose): Stay for the Pay. After the whole class is over, you rest, you relax and you absorb!

Here are her beautiful shirts that one of you will win


Sarah Lewis
YOGA for UNIFORMS...Stretch into yourself

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