The Yoga Education in Prisons Trust is a registered charitable trust providing yoga and meditation education for prisoners, in prisons in New Zealand. We recognize that the restrictive environment of a prison may be more conducive to internalisation and contemplation. Therefore it can be regarded as an opportunity to use the time-tested techniques and tools of yoga and meditation for personal growth and well-being.
A safe supportive environment is created by experienced teachers that allows the prisoners to let go of fears and restrictive patterns, explore aspects of themselves that can enhance social integration.
- To provide education for prisoners and offenders in the practices and techniques of yoga and meditation with the purpose to enable personal change and development.
- To provide released prisoners with ongoing education and training in the practices and techniques of yoga and meditation.
Rather than trying to reform the prisoners, the program focuses on offering skills for self observation and reflection. The power of the yoga practices develops the individual’s capacity for relaxation, understanding of a healthy and balanced lifestyle and knowledge of how to manage everyday life challenges. With these skills the prisoners have the tools to transform their own lives.
Through yoga asanas (postures) prisoners are able to release built up physical tension, blockages and toxins, and develop a sense of core strength that will enable them to feel more confident, embrace change and become self reliant.
Pranayama (breathing) Helps the prisoners self manage patterns of obsessive thinking, leading to a quieter mind.
Meditation and Relaxation – simple meditation practices that can be done either sitting up or lying down by anybody.
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- Yoga enables prisoners to live with a greater sense of autonomy within prison. Setting the precedent for life out of prison.
- Through the practices of yoga the body and mind learn to relax and release tensions and greater insight is developed as to why we behave in a particular way.
- Yoga provides techniques that empower practitioners to work on their self development and change negative behaviour and thinking patterns.
- When students are more relaxed physically and mentally through the practices of yoga, this is then conducive to working with others on self development and change, in turn, contributing to overall harmony in the prison environment.