Benefits of yoga in firefighters

FirefighterPerhaps it defies your mental image of firefighters, but researchers from The City University of New York report their findings.

First, the details.

  • 108 firefighters participated in yoga classes during work, in their fire stations over 6 weeks.
  • The classes included pranayama (breathing), asana (postures), and savasana (relaxation).
  • Most were physically active but had no prior experience with yoga.

And, the results.

  • 77 participants completed the study.
  • There was significant improvement in the Functional Movement Screen, a 7-item test that measures functional fitness.
  • Improvements were also noted in trunk flexibility and perceived stress.
  • Participants also reported favorable perceptions of yoga: feeling more focused and less musculoskeletal pain.

The bottom line?

This appears to be the first study of yoga in this group of workers. Considering that about 1 in 3 failed to complete the study, the biggest challenge appears to be in getting firefighters to participate long-term.

Otherwise, the findings “indicate that participants benefited from yoga,” concluded the authors.

12/20/09 14:09 JR

Hi, I’m JR

John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.