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09 July 2016

How Yoga and Meditation Could Help Police Officers

To say racism is the cause of civilians being murdered by police is as simple-minded as saying women in America are paid less than men because of sexism. These issues are far more complicated, however depth in understanding is lacking in our current society. But how can you heal the illness if you haven't even diagnosed it properly?

Make no mistake, I am truly saddened and sickened by what is currently happening in the streets of America. The other night I went to bed and thought I woke up in 1968.

Murders by police officers of African-American citizens who have committed no crimes and now police again being targeted by those (I would call them terrorists) seeking chaos and to increase the hatred as if, in their warped and deranged minds, making the families of police officers suffer the way families of civilians murdered have suffered is justice.

I've written about this issue before, and I wish anyone sincerely interested will check out my thesishttp://marcbonagura.blogspot.com/2014/12/ignoring-science-and-physiology-in.html

In a nutshell, there are physiological causes for these seemingly out-of-control incidents in which police use excessive force. These incidents happen for a reason and it may not be the reason most of us think. I only hope those who train and educate police officers can make this leap of understanding. 

I believe police need training in yoga and meditation. It should be part of their academy education and regular on the job training. 

People laugh at me but if you can lower your heart rate during stressful situations you have better cognition and you don't revert to muscle memory or reflexes or (yes) even deeply ingrained biases. 

When your heart rates exceeds a certain rate, you cannot reason or think, you just react. You revert back to training, and what does that training teach you? Save your life. Eliminate the threat. React fast. Yoga teachers should approach police departments. Why is it so crazy?

Additionally, I believe police officers would benefit greatly by mind/body medicine such as Traditional Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture. 

If my work with Leslie Schwartz has taught me anything, it is that we are all in this together. If we would love only the victims of police brutality without also loving the police we've missed the point of true healing. And we can apply Leslie Schwartz' life wisdom to help us solve these seemingly impossible problems.

I think we need to help our police and take of their well-being, and they need to be trained to keep their heart rate lower during times of extreme stress This can be done. Yogis throughout time have demonstrated incredible feats by the powers of the mind and meditation; these benefits can filter down to the rest of us. 

Lastly, again, let me say this: none of us will get through these times unless we all hold each other and hold each other up. 

We're going to need to forget all our so called differences really fast. 

If you're dying of thirst and someone is offering water, do you really care who they're voting for or what color their skin is or which bathroom they feel comfortable using? 

Is there Christian water and Muslim water? 

Civilian or police nourishment? 

Just drink and save the person next to you. 



Notes: 

Here are a few links on yoga and heart rates:

http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-9431/why-yoga-heart-rate-are-so-important-a-cardiologist-explains.html

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3573539/

On meditation and cognition:
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/20363650

http://jtoomim.org/brain-training/Zeidan2010_Mindfulness_Meditation.pdf

Regarding my earlier allusion to the equal pay issue, I would point you to the work of Claudia Golden of Harvard University as explored in this podcast:
http://freakonomics.com/podcast/the-true-story-of-the-gender-pay-gap-a-new-freakonomics-radio-podcast/

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