Finding Freedom on the Mat
Most people hit the mat with some desire of connecting with personal freedom. It's particularly true for the subjects of the current NYTimes.com front page story on prisons that implement yoga programs for their inmates. The article states that at least 20 prisons are implementing programs via the Prison Yoga Project, started by James Fox, who began the program 12 years ago in California.
Photos courtesy The New York Times
While the yoga programs certainly reduce tension and create calmer inmates, Bill Sessa, a spokesman for the Corrections Department in California, which has expanded yoga offerings to most of its 33 adult facilities, says that yoga has an added benefit for a prison rehabilitation goals: “Any program that gives an inmate a chance to reflect is going to have positive benefits. What we’re trying to do with any program is get is get inmates to think about how responsible they are for the crime they’ve committed and the consequences.”
Read more about the research that is being collected on how yoga affects prisoners, and the reactions of practicioners who inititally were wary of a program they thought was "girlie stuff'.
Have you ever had experience with teaching or witnessing how yoga affects those who are incarcerated or at-risk youth?