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Police Chief in India Suggests Yoga and Meditation for Officers

Lifestyle | People

We all know that yoga has excellent benefits for our health, but how can it help us with our career? A police chief in India believes that daily meditation and yoga would help his officers improve their behaviour as well as help them to manage a heavy workload.

District commissioner for 3500 officers across six districts in southern Gujarat, western India, Hasmukh Patel believes that daily yoga practice and mindfulness will help his officers control their anger more effectively.

He was inspired after taking a course in meditation himself, and now practices yoga five times a week.

A Healthy Connection Between Mind and Body

Patel has selected the Vipassana school of meditation, for which officers are now able to undertake an intensive 10-day silent course, while receiving full pay and benefits for their time.

Vipassana is an ancient meditation technique allowing practitioners to gain clarity and self-transformation through self-observation, with the main emphasis being the development of a deep, healthy connection between the body and the mind.

While only 175 officers have taken up the offer of the meditation course so far, almost 500 officers practice yoga every day under Patel’s advocacy, and continue to teach and encourage their colleagues to adopt it as a daily routine.

Improved Concentration, Better Decisions

Reflecting on the benefits of meditation, Patel asserts that there has been a “reduction in reaction, anger, fear and improvement in concentration, better and focused decisions.” He hopes that his officers will be able to see the benefits of this initiative.

It’s no surprise that such an initiative should be launched in India, where the benefits of yoga and meditation are widely celebrated. Patel is not even the first chief to extoll yoga’s benefits for the police force. In Nepal and Punjab in northwestern India, police regularly do yoga for weight loss.

Although the uptake of the yoga and meditation program in Gujarat has not improved the crime figures so far, Patel has had a positive response from the community and will continue to promote meditation and asana practice amongst his officers.

Image Credit: Rajesh Kumar Singh / AP

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