Thanks to your support, Transformation Yoga Project's Prison Yoga Program has had an incredible year. We have held 400 classes, in 10 facilities, in 7 counties, and 3 states. Our team has been deeply moved by the work that we've been able to do throughout the greater Philadelphia Area and beyond. We could not be more grateful or more proud of our staff, supporters, and participants.
We have built a department that operates 17 classes a week, and two monthly classes. We have piloted our first 200 hour yoga teacher training at State Correctional Institution (SCI) Graterford, and are kicking off a 20 hour intensive at the Philadelphia Federal Detention Center. We have increased programming at our youth centers to reflect the needs of their residents, and have piloted a youth Think Tank encouraging critical thinking and writing.
We have held two 12 hour Criminal Justice CE workshops sharing our trauma sensitivity methodology with nearly 40 yoga instructors, social workers, and counsellors in the greater Philadelphia area. TYP was also invited and represented at Yoga Service Council's Best Practices Symposium to contribute to next Best Practices Book "Yoga in the Criminal Justice System".
TYP hosted its first 200 hour Yoga Alliance recognized YOGA TEACHER TRAINING behind the walls of SCI Graterford. This maximum security prison houses some of our greatest yoga students and teachers. We held class and shared space, twice weekly, for six hours a week with poets, philosophers, athletes, sages, and change makers. We certified 8 men who are incarcerated at SCI Graterford and two men from the TYP community.
Those of us who facilitated the program have been forever changed by the depth and beauty of this profoundly human experience. Our newly certified Yoga Teachers now seek to facilitate classes at SCI Graterford for those in the Therapeutic Units in recovery, for those in oncology, hospice, mental health units, for seniors, athletes, and veterans. There is no community within Graterford which is excluded from the love and compassion of our recent graduates.
Through the inspiration of our staff member and youth instructor, Alexis Donahue, the men were even able to share some of their experience with yoga and life with the teens at Lima Detention center in Media. As community minded individuals, the men were eager to pass on the wisdom and wealth of experience that came from the community of teacher trainees. We are eager to expand our services and support of these inspiring individuals.
The following pieces and testimonials were written by Transformation Yoga Project participants within the criminal justice system:
"I am not confined to this pose, nor the breath that I breathe in it. I travel beyond all of this: the time, the space, the moment which seems to be measured. I am not defined by the conformities of society's limitations, not by the thoughts conveyed by those who know nothing about me. I am granted the ability to be, to exist, to explore, to transcend, to discover the life inside of me. I've been given wings to fly, to soar, to glide across a sky that was not only created for you and I, but for all who are able to see. " - NM, YTT Graduate SCI Graterford
"The mental benefits of yoga are unbelievable. The yoga path has made me a better person. I am a lot less reactionary- keeping my cool keeps me out of The Hole. The physical benefits have been increased flexibility and strength (it compliments my other workout routines), better digestive health (which is of the utmost importance...). And I sleep better." - SCI Graterford Participant
"I have regrets every day I wake up in jail knowing how much harm I did to my friend, family, and neighborhood. I wish I could take it all back. Yoga helps me to slow down my thinking process and see life in a different way. I'm mindful that nothing negative can come from yoga and it feels great." - SCI Graterford Participant
"I got into yoga as a means to stretch and strengthen my muscles. While I did stretch and strengthen, I also began to notice things about myself that I never knew. Now I can try different things to change. Becoming a good person is about realizing the things we are not satisfied with in our character, accepting the circumstances that have contributed to the attitude or behavior and taking small steps to improve." - SCI Graterford Participant
Thank you for your support of TYP's mission and prison programs. All of us, we are the light bearers. Let us continue to shine our light through darkness. Love prevails.
OUR PROGRAMS ARE PROUDLY SPONSORED BY:
Together, we go forward.