yoga for criminal justice & reentry
Throughout the United States, there is a growing recognition of the need for interventions that address the high rates of psychological stress and reduced wellbeing experienced by individuals within the prison system.
Trauma Sensitive Yoga programs for youth and adults
- Introduce the application of yoga as a lifestyle, on and beyond the mat
- Develop the whole person by increasing self-awareness and self-regulation
- Build awareness of mental patterns and how those patterns relate to behavior
- Provide practical tools for developing mindful solutions to difficult situations
- Encourage compassion toward oneself and others
- Manage deeply held, unresolved trauma
- Reduce stress, anxiety, and depression
- Increase performance in cognitive-behavioral tasks
- Increase social emotional learning
- Create community
- Create space for individuals to come back in touch with their bodies, minds, and hearts
WHERE WE SERVE
- Philadelphia Department of Prisons- Full campus (6 facilities)
- Philadelphia Federal Detention Center - partner with Heart 2Heart
- Philadelphia Juvenile Justice Services Center
- Montgomery County Correctional Facility- partner with Hopeworx Community Advocates
- Montgomery County Youth Center
- Delaware County Juvenile Detention Center
- Chester Upland School District- Camelot
- Chester County Correctional Facility
- Chester county Probation and Parole- WRAPP program
- SCI Chester
- SCI Graterford
- SCI Muncy
From TYP Participants at Pennsylvania State Correctional Institution at Graterford
"The violence of prison is easy. Putting myself through mental warfare is hard. Yoga and meditation has TRANSFORMED me for the better. Yoga helps me think of healthier and more creative ways to think."
"I first got into yoga when I was in punitive custody/solitary confinement otherwise known as The Hole. It was very helpful to me physically, mentally, and spiritually. I felt more comfortable in my own body, mentally clear, alert, at peace and more in tune, or attuned, spiritually. Yoga is giving me a new tool for self-control and self-mastery."
"The mental benefits of yoga are unbelieveable. 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 because both the food and the water here are bad), and I sleep better."
"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."
"I got into yoga as a means to stretch and strengthen my muscles. While I did stretch and strengthen, I 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."
"Yoga class helps me because it's the one opportunity I get to leave the unit and focus on myself. It's the only class where you allow your body to teach you and to guide you. You get a chance to leave the drama behind at the unit and allow your body to move freely without judgement. It's a class where you get to be yourself. In yoga, you get to make your own decisions. Yoga class is a reflection of life, and you can carry what you learn in yoga outside into the real world."
"Yoga is a way to help free your soul. It helps calm my anxiety, anger, and stress. It helps manage all of this because it works on relaxation, breathing, balance, and flexibility. It helped me find new ways to be comfortable and taught me a coping skill."