ABC7 Stars: Meditation instructor teaches mindfulness to San Francisco Police Department

ByJobina Fortson KGO logo
Saturday, July 27, 2019
Meditation instructor teaches mindfulness to San Francisco police
The sounds of an emergency constantly flow through the minds of police officers. But inside SFPD's Bayview station, for at least an hour, the sound is different.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The sounds of an emergency constantly flow through the minds of police officers, but inside the San Francisco Police Department's Bayview station, for at least an hour the sound is different. With seemingly no effort, Indy Rishi Singh's music immediately brings a sense of peace to the officers. He plays the flute as the group meditates.

"For me, it's really about guiding people into a place where they can tap into their own body and their mindset," Singh said.

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Singh describes himself as a "well-being engineer." He works to set people's mind, body and soul on the right track through meditation and mindfulness.

"I feel there's a lot of people who have a lot of stigma when it comes to mindfulness," Singh said. "I'm here to break it down."

As a part of a new "wellness series" with SFPD, Singh is teaching self-care to officers. He also provides his program for others in high stress roles too, like nurses and physicians.

"A lot of times people get stuck in stress or repetition and trauma because they aren't able to re-frame their mind," Singh said.

"Early mornings, late nights, going into work, going into court, it can all take a toll on your body, your psyche," Officer Ronney Freeman said.

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Sergeant Tracy McCray has watched her officers battle with the burdens of the job for years. So if Singh's class could help, sign them up.

"I think as police officers sometimes, I think we're really skeptical about things because we think they're 'new age,'" Sergeant McCray said. "But I was like, yeah, let's give it a try."

Now McCray is embracing mindfulness like a pro.

"When Indy came in he was so relatable," he said. "It just felt like he was one of us."

Singh has taken his talents all over the world. He's worked with orphans in India and even celebrities on MTV.

A difficult setback began his journey to mindfulness and meditation.

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"Yeah I was like a good typical Indian boy going to medical school, got my straight a's, 4.0 GPA, all that stuff," Singh said. "Then when I went to medical school, I kind of fell into a lapse."

Singh's lapse turned into substance abuse and he eventually dropped out of medical school. He said he totally lost himself, but then met a meditation instructor who changed his life.

The instructor later gifted Singh with his "signature flute."

"I've been carrying it everywhere," he said. "I travel and am on planes and I go everywhere with this. "It's just amazing what music can do."

It's also amazing to watch what Singh can do.

"You know being from the Bay Area, being able to serve the Bay Area, being able to kind of uplift this space, it means so much to me," Singh said. "You know, it's a part of me. It's such an honor to be recognized in doing this work."

Indy Rishi Singh is an ABC7 Star!