Why Yoga in Prison? "The truth is we are not getting the rehabilitation we need to make it in the free world. Some of us see that we need to take our rehabilitation into our own hands if we're going to make it." Prisoner, Mule Creek Prison, California.
There is growing evidence to support the teaching of spiritual practices, such as Yoga and meditation, in prisons. A Minnesota-based consensus panel observed that spirtual approaches may be quite valuable in substance-abuse treatment for offenders, and recommended providing a time and suitable place for individual meditation, reflection, or prayer. A study at Seattle's North Rehabilitation Facility found that the recidivism rate for inmates who took a 10-day Vipassana mediation retreat was 56%, a 25% improvement over recidivism rates in the general inmate population. A follow-up study by the Addictive Behaviors Research Center at the University of Washington found that drug use, drug and alchol-related consequences, and self-reported levels among those who took the course, compared to those who did not.
The Prison Yoga Project and the Give Back Yoga Foundation have now reached over 5,000 prisoners with James Fox's Yoga: A Path for Healing and Recovery.
"Let me thank you for what is proving to be the best little yoga book ever published. We use it daily...You have compiled a wonderfully concise yet rich source of yoga information. It is a very rare and personal gift, one that I will keep for a long time." --R.T. Arizona State Prison Complex, Buckeye
I am a 57 year old woman with a life sentence w/o parole in my 17thyear of incarceration. I have had an active yoga practice since theearly 1970’s. I want to thank you for your dedication in bringing yogato prisoners. I have a copy of your book and frankly, for its size, itpacks an enormous amount of accurate information. I subscribe to YogaJournal and Chicago Yoga and it ranks right up there with both.
Selected Quotes from Prisoners Requesting Books
"I am very interested in doing yoga. I know that it’s meant for me to start since I just got your offer. Could you please RUSH me my own copy so I can get started right away on my path for healing and recovery. Thank you so much for this great offer for all incarcerated people that want a better and healthier life."
L.M., Texas Dept. of Corrections, Riverside Unit, Gatesville, Texas
"I’ve done yoga since I was a child. I currently teach it to the therapeutic community (yes horribly I am an inmate though I should not be). Your book sounds right on point with the yogic principles I try to share in my classes."
E.N., Maryland Correctional Institute for Women, Jessup, Maryland
"Please let me thank everyone at the Prison Yoga Project. Organizations like yours are few and far between and I wish there were more caring people like yourselves. Thank you for your services."
K.P., Washington Correction Center, Shelton, Washington
"Your publication helps tremendously – emotionally, mentally and most of all spiritually. Thank you so much for looking after our forgotten souls."
D.C., California State Prison, Delano, California
"I want you to know that you are doing a service that is a boon to society. It is incredibly selfless, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart. Om Mani Padme Hum."
N.H., Virginia State Prison, Pocahontas, Virginia
March 13, 2010
I am a prisoner incarcerated in the Indiana Dept. of Corrections. I recently received your book, “Yoga A Path For Healing And Recovery,” and felt it necessary to send you a quick note.
I have been incarcerated for 17 plus years. During that time I have sought various forms of yoga practice and meditation routines. Different groups have provided bits and pieces of suggested routines over the years, however none were a complete guide.
I want to thank you for the complete and simple to understand book. The illustrations as well as the correct explanations of how to do them – are great. I was very excited and pleased when I opened the book and saw everything in one place.
Simply wanted to say thank you. I really appreciate the book and the effort that went into putting it together, as well as providing it for prisoners. Many thanks.
J.B., Pendleton Correctional Facility, Pendleton, Indiana
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