Yoga in prisons

Picture of Yoga Mandir
Yoga Mandir

Stage One Prisoners

As a live‑in group, participants are isolated from the main gaol and the pressures of prison society for three months. Here, prisoners undertake a programme designed to raise self‑esteem and confidence, and equip the individual to support the change in attitude needed for life without drugs. All classes are compulsory.

Stage Two Prisoners

These prisoners returned to the main gaol daily, participating voluntarily in classes and contact groups.

As a teacher I often meet people willing to question their attitudes and approach to life, and so I was keen to see how prisoners without any yoga experience or inclination would approach Iyengar Yoga.

Having never been inside a gaol, I was at first intimidated by the oppressive nature of the high stone walls, iron bars and heavily armed guards dotted in observation towers. Upon entering I was searched, and questioned on the use of my yoga equipment, especially the belts. Without the covering authority of the superintendent I would never have been able to enter with such equipment. On meeting the groups I took time to explain something about yoga and practice, by demonstrating asanas and answering questions in the hope of sparking interest.

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