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Yoga in Prison

Now I've heard about yoga helping cancer patients, and the program yogaHOPE, offering yoga classes to women in recovery or life transitions. Just recently I also heard about another yoga outreach program - yoga in prison.

Three correctional facilities in Hawaii, are offering yoga to inmates. Louisa DiGrazia is one of the yoga instructors. A decade ago, she studied the effects of prison yoga programs as a Peace Studies major at the University of Hawaii. She says that correctional facilities have found that the ancient Indian practice of yoga helps relieve "stress of inmates' daily routine," and can help establish or maintain good health.

This program, paid for by the state's annual budget for academic and elective programs, costs $13,000 a year, which only pays for 4 ongoing classes, with an enrollment of 20 students in each. Since so many inmates are responding well to the program, they want to expand the program even further. Louisa DiGrazia and her husband, owners of the Yoga School of Kailua, have already donated 2 dozen mats to the program. In addition, their yoga school, along with other businesses, have also pitched in a total of $10,000 for the yoga program.

Yoga programs have been a part of various prison systems across the country for more than 25 years. I think it's a great idea to offer yoga to everyone, especially those in emotional need. Yoga can slow us down, so we pay attention to and become aware of the important things in life. It encourages peaceful thoughts, which is so needed in a harsh environment such as a prison. What do you think about this?


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