"This is a beautiful offering, and a superb website bringing dignity to broken hearts."
- Christopher Germer, Ph.D. Author of The Mindful Path to Self Compassion, co-founder of The Institute for Meditation and Psychotherapy
OUR MISSION. To bring yoga and meditation to prisoners to promote healing and rehabilitation.
WHO. WHY. WHERE. Our volunteers are beautiful, aware, unique individuals who teach prisoners because they have all experienced the healing, rehabilitative nature of yoga and meditation in their own lives. Because of the sensitive nature of the criminal justice system, we are not at liberty to disclose the facilities in which we teach. We teach women, men, gay men, transgender individuals, and juveniles who are serving few days in jail up to life sentences in facilities spread out over the greater Los Angeles area.
HEALING FROM WITHIN. Prisons and jails are sacred places of great human suffering. Our volunteers have ventured into jails and prisons since 2014 with the message “Healing from Within” that many find new and hopeful.
RECOGNIZING A SYSTEM IN NEED. Our prison punishment system is a failed experiment—an established fact that even crime victims wish to see changed. Nearly 40 percent of the U.S. 2.2 million prison population is incarcerated with no compelling public safety reason. When they are released, many are too traumatized to rebuild their families and lives and instead either reoffend or dissolve into mental illness and homelessness. Many violent offenders will be released eventually, too, and in part because of the punishment/trauma of incarceration are even more likely to reoffend.
COMPASSION AND COMFORT FOR THOSE IN THE GREATEST NEED. Regardless of a person’s religious affiliation, yoga and meditation can help free a person from his/her physical nature to unite with the Divine within—which is a spiritual and life changing experience. Yoga and meditation alleviate pain and suffering, and heal and rehabilitate minds, bodies, and spirits.
CALM, COMPASSIONATE, CENTERING JOURNEY. There are people in prison who should be incarcerated. There are others who have made mistakes based on poor judgment, lack of impulse control, poor parenting and socialization. Many are victims of a system that persecutes people of color. Others are emotionally shattered from a single or multiple traumatic experiences and abuse, and while stumbling through life, make terrible mistakes.
Prison Yoga + Meditation practices are compassionate, centering experiences that take those suffering from past and present trauma away from the stress of being incarcerated and the many uncertainties of their existences, bringing comfort to those who are stressed, anxious, and fearful.
Compassion toward traumatized prisoners fosters self-compassion, which further promotes healing.
PRISON YOGA + MEDITATION’S CULTURE OF SELF DISCIPLINE. It’s a scientific fact that people who have stronger willpower have better life outcomes than people who don’t. Many prisoners are victims of their own lack of self-discipline. This is not a judgment, but the reality of their upbringings: life experiences that have taught them they must fight their way through life. Ongoing yoga and meditation practices teach and reinforce self-discipline, which originates within each individual and brings rewards such as self-esteem, impulse and anger control, the ability to focus and accomplish tasks, which helps them gain respect from others, all of which furthers life goals and dreams.
ALLOWING FOR FUN AND MIND CLEARING. There are many physical, emotional, and spiritual benefits of having fun and allowing the mind to empty out completely. This is difficult if not impossible inside a jail or prison, but with yoga and meditation prisoners can have fun and experience the mental and spiritual release of mind clearing.
THE FULL EXPRESSION OF THEIR LIVES. Our instructors gently guide prisoners on a calm, mind-clearing journey of yoga and meditation so that they can cope with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Post Incarceration Syndrome. Yoga and meditation give people the tools to discover their true selves, to have the courage to be true to themselves, and, when they are released, to have the strength and mindfulness to resist temptations and bad influences, to avoid reoffending, and to go on to the full expression of their lives.