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Yoga in Prisons
The United States has the highest documented incarceration rate in the world. While it’s important to analyze the policies that created this situation, more and more yogis and yoginis are bringing mindfulness practices and yoga in men’s and women’s prisons.
In her article Yoga for prison inmates is no longer a stretch, Chicago Tribune journalist Michelle Manchir reports about Prison S.M.A.R.T., a local non-profit that has sent voluteers to 36 correctional facilities in 21 states to implement yoga workshops and programs. “Researchers found that prisoners who embarked on a 10-week yoga course also showed greater accuracy in a computer test of impulsivity and attention. But it doesn’t require an academic study to know that, for some inmates, practicing yoga just feels good.”
The benefits of yoga in the prison environments has been recently dramatized in the hit Netflix prison series “Orange is the New Black” where the character “Yoga Jones” gives classes to fellow inmates and shares moments of wisdom with the main character Chapman.
There’s a lot more work to do, but it’s really inspiring that yogis and yoginis are willing to go across borders, take a risk and bring yoga where it’s most needed.