Many prison and jail inmates are getting the opportunity to participate in yoga classes while locked up. Some are gaining better control over their anger and stress, as well as becoming more physically fit. Others are getting reduced jail time in addition to the health benefits that yoga offers.
Yoga in San Quentin State Prison
Some of California's most perilous prisoners are sent to San Quentin State Prison. Some of the inmates in San Quentin will die there and others end up there repeatedly. It is a a sad fact that 7 out of every 10 inmates in California finds their way back within 3-years from the time they are let out. For about 10-years, James Fox with the Insight Prison Project has been offering yoga lessons to many of the inmates who are locked up in San Quentin. Since violence is an ongoing problem in this overpopulated jail, yoga gives prisoners the coping skills necessary to deal with anger. In addition, the coping skills learned in prison will help many prisoners once they are released and have to learn to live on the outside once again.
Reduced jail time in exchange for practicing yoga in India
Inmates in India are gaining more than just coping skills and peace by practicing yoga. They are gaining the ability to reduce their time spent in jail. Those in the state of Madhya Pradesh have the ability to decrease their jail time by 15 days for every 3-months they spend practicing yoga. Narayan Sharma is one prisoner who took advantage of this program. He is now an instructor himself and says it has helped him get rid of the "angry thoughts" in his mind. He went on to say, "It was these thoughts that made me commit crimes."
Yoga for female inmates in Nevada
Females in the Washoe County Sheriff's detention center are also learning to de-stress behind bars. Fran Ulm, a yoga instructor that teaches at the center said, "People who participate in some form of yoga see a reduction in their stress level and are able to think more positively." The goal is that these Washoe County women will use the de-stressing tools they learned in prison once they are out.
If you want to help a prisoner, you can purchase a book titled "Yoga, A Path To Healing and Recovery." By donating a book, you can assist one of the 2.25-million prisoners in the United States.
I think it is great that inmates have the opportunity to participate in yoga classes. What do you think?
More from Rebecca Bardelli:
Rebecca completed courses in Medical Terminology, Administrative Medical Assisting, and Coding and Billing. She is recognized by the National Healthcareer Association as a Certified Billing and Coding Specialist (CBCS) and Medical Administrative Assistant (CMAA). In addition, Rebecca is a former gymnast and is avid about yoga, swimming and other athletic activities. Follow her on Twitter @RebeccaBardelli.