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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?


Join The Conversation
detroit-doll detroit-doll 10 years
I think this is a great idea. Too bad so many people in our society take the issue of prisons with a string-em-up attitude. Perhaps when you don't have loved ones going through the prison system its easy to feel that way. Before everyone dismisses ideas like yoga for inmates, try to understand that many of those inmates are not there for life. Anything that can help them re-enter society with a more positive and hopeful outlook should be welcomed.
tralalala tralalala 10 years
This is brilliant, and should be implemented in more prisons. I know a lot of people who've used yoga to help them sort out anger issues, and I definitely see how this could help out people with addictions. I'm tired of people going off about prison being a punishment, blah blah. yes, it is a punishment, but the reason so many people reoffend is because rather than being taught life skills/how to deal with their issues, they usually end up bored, and learning more negative behaviour from other inmates. A majority of the people in prison are people from low income families, who weren't given the same chances as a lot of people. Anytime I hear about programs like this, or programs that teach job skills, help people get their GED, or any sort of drug rehabilitation programs, I'm happy about it.
Renees3 Renees3 10 years
This is a wonderful idea. Like a couple other people said, prison is a rehab. Of course they're being punished, do you really think a yoga class is going to make them forget they're in prison? Believe me, the food, the other people, the lack of contact with loved ones, THAT is the punishment. They deserve to redeem themselves just like anyone else. Also, in California at least, our prisons and jails are 80% drug offenders. NOT murderers and rapists. People with an addiction that can't get help because our society treats them like dirt. As an addict with 5 years clean, I can only imagine how helpful this sort of program would've been when I was first struggling not to use. Being aware of my body and learning how to treat it correctly. Anyway, this is a great idea. I hope they start doing it in California!
JBlondie JBlondie 10 years
I agree with allisonblue and Alecks. I think it is a wonderful program for prisoners who will be re-entering the world. If you teach them healthy and meaningful habits in prison, we might not have as many reoccurring prisoners come in.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 10 years
I am not touching this with a ten foot....pole
AlecksNWondrland AlecksNWondrland 10 years
Prison is a place for rehabilitation. Yes, punish them for their mistakes but the whole purpose of the prison system is to change the person for the better. Whether that means to "scare them straight" or to educate them. I think this is a wonderful program that would hopefully help teach prisoners a new way of thinking.
DesignRchic DesignRchic 10 years
WHY give them the privilege/luxury? :MOB:
allisonblue allisonblue 10 years
As someone who practices yoga, I think this is a great idea. Not everyone who is currently incarcerated will be in prison for the rest of his/her life, and yoga could help them become a better, more peaceful person who will be able to more easily reenter society (and avoid recidivism).
workofiction workofiction 10 years
This is ridiculous! People in prison are not there to enjoy their time, they're there to be punished!
tabloidprincess tabloidprincess 10 years
Wow. I don't know what to say.
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