EXCLUSIVE: Hartford Police Academy using yoga to help cope with stressful situations

HARTFORDYoga is not really a new idea, but it’s being used in a new way in Connecticut and all over the United States.

Yoga takes serious core strength and body control, but that’s not what makes it valuable for law enforcement training. It’s the mental mastery yoga offers that has police academies rolling out the floor mats.

"You need to be as physically strong as possible, but you also need to be mentally prepared for the job at hand," said police cadet Eddie Klein.

The Southington native will join the South Windsor Police Department when he finishes his police academy training. He's counting on a new idea to help him stay in control on the streets.

Klein and his classmates at the Hartford Police Academy are getting their first taste of something called "Yoga for First Responders."

It's the brainchild of long time yoga instructor Olivia Kvitne. Protests in the streets, and accusations of police brutality and excessive force have put police officers under intense public scrutiny.

And with nearly every move recorded by cell phones and body cams, stress levels are through the roof. Yoga for First Responders started on the West Coast, but the program is spreading to police and fire stations and academies across the country.

Klein said he and his classmates at the Hartford Academy are buying in, not just so they can handle the stress on the job, but after the shift is over as well.

"So you can go home to your loved ones at the end of the night and be yourself, be who they expect you to be," said Klein.