Why Firefighters Need Yoga

Guest writer: Shannon McQuaide

My name is Shannon McQuaide. I am a yoga and mediation teacher for firefighters. I came to perform this wonderful work about a year and half ago. At that time I piloted a yoga and meditation program for a small group of firefighters in San Jose. The pilot was designed to reduce injuries related to strains and sprains, and to reduce stress. The pilot program was so well received by firefighters and the data positively correlated in a reduction of both injuries and stress that I have since been hired to lead this program for the department.

As I continue to work with firefighters of all ages and abilities, the benefits of yoga and meditation are undeniable. I an effort to establish yoga and meditation classes as part of health and wellness programs for fire departments across the country, I have created FireFlex Yoga WellnessTM, FireFlex Yoga Wellness is designed to bring together a community of talented yoga teachers and organizations that understand the importance of offering body and mind training to firefighters.

Please check out to hear testimonials from firefighters who have participated in FireFlex Yoga Wellness classes. You can also contact me and get on my mailing list to be a part of future trainings and events. Find me on Facebook at

For the women and men I train, yoga provides an unique opportunity to move their bodies into novel shapes while stretching and strengthening their shoulders, backs, hamstrings and hips. On it’s own, yoga postures help firefighters to develop the physical fitness necessary to respond to the extreme demands of their jobs. However yoga also delivers psychological benefits.  And it’s the impact yoga is having on firefighters’ ability to mentally and emotionally cope with their work that is gaining more recognition and interest from the fire service.

The mechanisms by which yoga is effective at providing psychological well-being are just beginning to be understood; however more and more research is reporting on the benefits of yoga and meditation, to reduce stress, anxiety, drug and alcohol addiction, depression and to release the accumulation of trauma from the body.

FireFlex Yoga Wellness teaches firefighters how to get in touch with their bodies and their minds resulting in a more centered, grounded, functional, reliable, easeful orientation to themselves, their workplace and their lives.

What firefighters experience through FireFlex Yoga Wellness:

A practical way to strengthen one’s physical body, increase functional fitness resulting in less injuries, increased flexibility, and greater on-the-job performance.

  1. Peace of mind.
  2. A framework for processing what happens at work so that personal lives are not affected in a negative way.
  3. Increased ability to focus and maintain awareness so that one can identify and respond with more efficiency, precision, and adaptability when seen or unforeseen circumstances arise.

It is my goal to provide firefighters with tools to enhance their jobs, their bodies, and their lives and to connect with other professionals and organizations that have a similar goal. If you are interested in bringing yoga, meditation and wellness to firefighters, please contact me. or find me on Facebook, at

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