Chair Yoga inside the Community Transition Center
WHY DO WE LOVE YOGA? Does yoga make us healthier? These questions were explored by National Geographic in a special health issue. Now that yoga is a $80 billion dollar industry, the article looked at why yoga has become so popular and examined the science that proves yoga does reduce stress, promote well-being and improve sleep. The article includes multiple interviews, and focuses extensively on one local organization: Yoga 4 Change.
Founded in 2014 in Jacksonville, FL, Yoga 4 Change (Y4C) has a mission to offer trauma informed yoga to four populations: veterans, youth, individuals who are incarcerated and those recovering from substance use. The organization has been teaching yoga in all three Duval County Correctional Facilities since 2016 and Y4C programming was researched from February 2018 through February 2019 with a grant from the Chartrand Family Fund. The research was led by Boston University and the outcomes indicate significant improvements in measures of health, sleep quality, coping skills, forgiveness, self-compassion, emotional regulation, anger management, and post traumatic growth.
Y4C recently expanded to three additional regions, South Florida, Tampa Bay and Central Florida, specifically to study the impact yoga has on the opioid crisis. The opioid crisis is the main subject of the January 2020 National Geographic magazine with a feature article on yoga.
National Geographic writer, Fran Smith, reached out to Y4C in 2019 with great interest in learning more about the Y4C programming inside the correctional facilities. Smith followed Y4C Executive Director, Kathryn Thomas, around for 2 days; attending yoga classes, interviewing individuals who are incarcerated, local judges, the Y4C research team and teachers. Smith got an insider’s look at the compilation of Y4C classes, how they are set-up, the thematic approach and the trauma-informed guideline. The newest issue of National Geographic, on stands now, is themed around the mysteries of pain, the opioid crisis and features an article titled “why our fast paced society loves yoga”.
“It is a real honor that National Geographic expressed curiosity on our mission and our research, and made the effort to include us in the article” says Thomas. “Everyone involved in the Duval County carceral yoga programming was excited to participate and proud to show the program to the world and equally proud that our community has come together through the practice of yoga.” Duval County is the only county in the nation that sentences individuals to yoga programming while incarcerated.
The special issue on The Future of Medicine: Wellness, is online now and on newsstands beginning December 31st.
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Men's Yoga inside the Montgomery Correctional Ctr
Yoga inside the Jacksonville Jail
January National Geographic