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Nevada Police Sergeant shows true career flexibility

Andrew and Meagan with their children: Lily, a junior in high school; Olivia, a freshman in high school; Finley, a fifth grader; and twins, Briggs and Sawyer, now 5 months old

The life of a cop can be stressful.
The life of a yoga instructor is pretty much working to create a space that’s stress-free.
So, what happens when you mix the two careers? You create a balance that someone like Sgt. Andrew Henderson, 39, of the Nevada Public Safety Department, understands. Henderson not only works long days for the Nevada Police Department; he also teaches yoga on Thursday evenings.
“They’re totally different worlds,” said Henderson, but worlds that also complement one another.
“Because police work can be really stressful, and because you’re sitting in a car a lot, wearing a belt and vest and all this stuff that adds 30 pounds of extra weight to your frame, physically, I think yoga is excellent for police officers. It can stretch our bodies back out and put us at homeostasis.”
Henderson said the practice and history of yoga is all about connecting mind and body. “It’s a lot of breath work, and in some ways, it might be harder than police work, because in doing yoga, you have to get out of your head.”
Getting out of one’s head is not an easy thing, especially for cops who have to be thinking and totally present when they’re on duty. To come to a yoga class and leave all that stuff that’s in your head behind for a while, it’s a challenge, but one Henderson has gradually overcome. “I had to learn to get out of my own way,” he said, to fully embrace the transformative values of yoga.
“As officers, we see a lot of weird stuff, so clearing that out of our head can be good for us,” and he noted that getting into yoga has become “a thing” for a small percentage of first responders (cops, firefighters, EMS professionals) across the country in recent years. Henderson said the breath work in yoga can help officers in their jobs when they find themselves in a stressful situation or going into “the red,” as cops call it. Henderson believes the practice of yoga has helped him as an officer to stay calmer during stressful situations.
Henderson was introduced to yoga by his wife, Meagan, who loved yoga from a young age but got more serious about the practice of yoga when she was pregnant with their first of five children 16 years ago. Becoming a healthcare professional, Meagan continued learning and growing with yoga and eventually became an instructor, leading classes for Story Medical Center at Gates Hall in Nevada. Being able to teach and share her love of yoga with others in the community, Henderson said, “I think that’s when she really fell in love with it.”
It was probably 2018 when Henderson said Meagan invited him to go along. It became the couple’s “date” time. “It was a way to be with my wife more, and it was a good workout.” Henderson had been on the police force for three years by that time and had just been promoted to detective.
The more they got into yoga as a couple, the more Meagan wondered if her lifelong dream of having her own yoga studio was possible. “She wanted to teach more yoga and provide that service, and she also knew with a studio, she could do as much yoga as she wanted,” he said.
In January of 2020, she realized her dream, opening a studio at a private gym in Nevada, and eventually moving the gym to a downtown location in a historic hotel building which the couple now owns together.
It’s been a busy time for Henderson. As a detective who was promoted to sergeant in 2021, he enhanced his police skills by studying and taking online courses to earn a bachelor’s degree in computer forensics and digital investigations. As a property owner in the downtown, he helped his wife create a beautiful yoga studio space, while also working to continue renovations on the large historic hotel property, which includes several other businesses and residential apartments. As a husband and father, he saw his family grow to five children this past year when they welcomed newborn twins. As a practicing yoga individual, he finally let his wife convince him to earn his 200-hour certification to be an instructor at her studio.
Though he never imagined himself as a yoga instructor, he admits that it’s enjoyable. “I love providing the service to others and giving them the best class I can.”
He also likes continuing to practice yoga. “I enjoy the fact that it’s an hour at a time that is just for me. I don’t get that very often. Even when I consistently was lifting weights at the gym (something he still enjoys), people would talk to me. With yoga, you’re listening to the instructor as they give you a pathway that’s just for you during that hour.”
Life is really busy at times, he admits, and it’s sometimes hard to think about fitting in his yoga time. “I might dread it before going because I have so much else to do, but every time I’m done with yoga, I’m so glad I did it.”

A few more interesting notes about Andrew Henderson:

• He grew up in Zearing and graduated from Colo-Nesco High School in 2003.
• He attended Kirkwood Community College after high school and took general classes, then returned home and worked at Menards for a year-and-a-half. He then took a job with Saxton, a company that designs and installs office furniture. He worked for Saxton for eight years, overseeing the installation of office furnishings.
• He met Meagan through a mutual friend. The two married while he was working for Saxton and moved to Nevada in 2012.
• He joined the Nevada Fire Department, which was his gateway into public service.
• He was hired by the Nevada Public Safety Department as a police officer in 2015.
• The class he teaches presently is called “vinyasa yoga,” which offers more movement and more of a workout, he said.
• His favorite yoga class to take: Hot Yoga, a class that is offered in a room that is heated to 100-plus degrees. He loves that you get a great workout and come out sweating. “It may not feel good right when you finish, but it’s a great workout.”
• The type of yoga his wife would say he needs more of: “Restore Yoga, because it’s about holding poses longer, and it’s the best yoga for getting out of my head.”
• His favorite yoga pose: “I really like the half-pigeon, because it’s a good hip opening pose. For me, with my belt on and always carrying a gun on my hip, my hips get really tight.”
• What he wears to do yoga: “Shorts and a t-shirt. You don’t have to get all fancy to do this.”

–Written by Marlys Barker, City of Nevada


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