Among its many social outreach projects, Isha Foundation provides yoga to
prisons around the world. Their programs have met with great success. This
website has a multitude of testimonials that confirm the transformative power
of yoga for prisoners.
Sidha Yoga has been providing prison yoga since 1979. Consequently, they are
an established organization, employing 150 trained volunteer program coordinators.
On the website, there is substantial information for those interested in giving
funds to assist them in their efforts.
Founded in 1989 by prisoner Fleet Maull, The Dharma Prison Network focus their
efforts in three main areas: education and training for prison volunteers
and correctional staff, peacemaking training and leadership for prisoners,
and weekly inside programs at the Boulder County Jail and the Colorado maximum
security facility for juveniles.
Together Bo Lozoff and Ram Dass founded the Prison Ashram Project in 1973.
Lozoff runs the Human Kindness Houses in N.C. is well known for his “prisoner
bible,” We’re All Doing Time. Today they continue to provide free
copies of this book to prisoners, among other services.
II) Benefits of doing Yoga in prison
Published in the November 1999 issue of Yoga Magazine, this article explains
that yoga is now widely understood to be effective in altering the criminal
personality. The author explains what factors create this personality, what
factors of prison settings perpetuate it, and what can be done to help it
to heal. In addition, the article documents the improvements that were witnessed
internationally following the arrival of yoga in a given prison.
This is paper on yoga prison work done in Hawaii in 2002 by the yoga school
of Kailua. Here the approach is explained in detail; aside from asanas, there
is a great deal of time devoted to the teaching of yogic philosophy within
a class discussion format.
Published in the July 11, 2004 edition of Newsday, this article provides a
brief look at one prisoner who acts as a yoga facilitator in his own prison.
III) Special Populations
A lengthy first hand account by a prison instructor. It offers an intimate
view into her class and the lives of the woman with whom she works.
Geared specifically toward yoga teachers, this is a detailed “recipe”
for a women’s class.
B) At- Risk and Incarcerated Youth Programs
Intimate, detailed account of yoga with incarcerated youth.