“Yoga provides officers, explorers, and participants a well needed opportunity to take a few moments to focus on themselves; while simultaneously stretching the traditions of community partnership,” said Lieutenant Prince-McCoade.
Officers from the 28 Precinct are connecting with NYPD Explorers and local resident during free yoga classes led by a Harlem business owner. Community Affairs Officer Ariel Castillo routinely checks in on local businesses in order to stay in tune with community complaints and keep the neighborhood safe. Throughout the years, he has developed a great relationship with yoga studio owner Lara Land. As they learned more about each other, Lara Land saw an opportunity to develop a program that would bring law enforcement officers and residents together.
Every week, Lara Land invites cops and Harlem residents to get to know each other and de-stress at free yoga classes. During each session, participants learn how to enhance their strength, coordination, and flexibility. They also practice meditative techniques that are known to provide an emotional boost and enhance overall well-being. While helping others is an inherent part of police work, yoga provides an opportunity for officers to address their own health needs:
“Everyone benefits when cops take care of themselves; it allows them to reemerge energized and take better care of our community,” said Lieutenant Prince-McCoade.
Lieutenant Prince-McCoade also loves that the classes give cops the opportunity to connect with local residents in a relaxed setting. Great job by everyone involved for helping bridge the gap between police officers and the communities they serve. The incredible success of this program in the 28 Precinct has led to its expansion to several commands throughout Upper Manhattan.