The last 6 months has proven to be very affirming for all of the positive work we are doing – with a lot of exceptional prisoner feedback around our in-person classes, as well as our correspondence course.
The challenge now is to find new ways to keep delivering yoga at our current pace. We have programs beginning in some new units around the country, including two Mums n Bubs units, and an Elderly unit. We feel so fortunate to have skilled teachers on board who are equipped to deal with these vulnerable groups.
On October 6th we held our first trauma-informed yoga in prisons workshop in Auckland at the gorgeous Kawai PuraPura. Jane, John, Adele and Adhyatma came together to present a comprehensive, practical training session. Following on from this workshop we delivered approximately 50 brand new Teachers Handbooks to all our affiliates. Thanks to Ricoh for gifting free printing of the Handbook.
Adhyatma and Jo Vernon went to speak to around 200 people at the Ministry of Justice last week as guests of the Diwali team who had chosen YEPT to be the (grateful!) recipient of this year’s fundraiser. They then enjoyed a sumptuous meal after talks of chickpeas, puri, salad, dahl and rice. Thankyou Diwali team!
Adhyatma was also cheerfully surprised to receive a Kiwibank Local hero award this year alongside many other amazing kiwis doing stunning work in the community.
Thank you to Mercury Energy for a grant that is helping a new teacher Holly Cahill provide 12 weeks of yoga in the special treatment unit at Springhill Correctional Facility.
We’re currently embarking on an ambitious project to explore how we can best bring tikanga māori into our yoga education curriculum to bridge the two spiritual philosophies and practices together for our prison populations. Taane Mete teaches in an Auckland prison and doing a phenomenal job weaving his Māori ancestry and knowledge into his prison classroom. Below is his story.
Wishing you and yours a harmonious summer.
On behalf of YEPT,
Adhyatma, Adele, John, Jasmin, Andrea, Jane and Pat
Teacher Profile – Taane Mete
“When I teach yoga in prison, I keep asking myself 3 basic questions:
1 Why do I teach yoga? 2 Who is yoga for? 3 Is yoga inclusive or exclusive?
With these three questions, I look at how I bring Tikanga and Matauranga into the yoga framework. In actual fact, they are very much the same. Ancient practices that centre around awareness and understanding.
READ TAANE’s FULL PROFILE >>
The last 6 months has proven to be very affirming for all of the positive work we are doing – with a lot of exceptional prisoner feedback around our in-person classes, as well as our correspondence course. We get so many amazing letters from prisoners doing the Correspondence Course…this is an excerpt from one of them.
Our second quarter of 2018 has capitalised on our strategising efforts in the first few months to get some of our biggest initiatives to date off the ground.
The biggest success of note is the review and refresh of our correspondence course programme. We have engaged a contractor to overhaul the existing content to ensure it is current, accessible and reflective of our culture and unique needs. This is a very popular programme that runs along-side our classes, and also enables us to support more prisoners when we are not yet able to offer in-person classes. We expect the new programme to be in prisoners hands by the end of the year.
We have also made an important decision to bring professional development for our affiliated teachers in-house as we have a lot of talent within our board to teach teachers. Three of our board members Adele, Jane and Jasmin are currently planning curriculum for a 1-day trauma-sensitive yoga training for this October that will help up-skill our prison teachers, offered for free as part of their affiliation with us.
Furthermore, our great work within the prison gates continues to be welcomed and recognised by both those who need it most, along with corrections staff. Latest statistics show nine out of 10 prisoners have a history of mental health disorders or substance abuse, and more and more research is showing that whole-person therapeutic applications like yoga is a very valuable modality to support change. Indeed, the Department of Corrections is starting to hear our rallying cry for more yoga, in more prisons, and has donated a one-off lump sum to help us increase the number of classes we offer.
All we are doing to help meet their duty of care is also made possible with your generous monthly commitment. Thank you for your continued support as we set ourselves on a path for even greater impact to help those most vulnerable.
Read about Jemma and Pauls experiences at Manawatu prison below and scroll down a bit further to read about Adhyatmas award in the People Choice competition and you can vote (Until Aug 10th) for her if you like!
On behalf of YEPT Adhyatma, Adele, John, Jasmin, Andrea, Jane and Pat.
We’re thrilled and proud to share the news that our sponsor, ethically produced fashion brand WE’AR, has announced their new B CORP certification status, demonstrating that they are not only the best yoga lifestyle brand in the world, but they’re also best for the world.
B Corp is to business what Fair Trade certification is to coffee or USDA Organic certification is to milk.
B corporations are for-profit companies that pledge to achieve social goals as well as business ones, where their social and environmental performance must be regularly certified by a non-profit called B Lab to meet rigorous standards of social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
We hear it took WE’AR several months to gain certification. The process involved formalising numerous processes and structures, collating and comparing a vast amount of key information, and then assessing their whole business and supply chain using B Corps lengthy and thorough business, social and environmental audit process.
WE’AR had to make very few changes to their already existing practices as their operations have always been guided by their own ethical business mission and policy standards, which were already very much in sync with the B Corp ethos and standards. Something we already had an insight into, given our relationship over the past few years.
The new stamp of approval makes WE’AR officially as part of this global movement, and allows their voice to be amplified by the power of many businesses working together with the shared consciousness for positive change.
“As a lifelong yogi, I wanted to see what was possible if I designed a business from the ground up on the principles of non-violence, fairness and holistic sustainability. It’s endlessly amazing being part of this coming to fruition in the success of WE’AR.
Being recognised and celebrated for the passion and hard work it’s taken, by an organisation as prestigious as B Corp is totally affirming and also a great honour.”
WE’AR Designer and Founder Jyoti Morningstar.
Congratulations Jyoti and team! We love your work and feel honoured to be a part of our passion for social change.
We have elected a new Chairperson to replace Heather Cunningham. We are pleased to announce that Gyananidhi – Jane Allen – one of our long-time prison yoga teachers has accepted the role. We had our first official meeting on 30 January and myself, Yogeshwaran and Leigh are excited to be working more closely with her.
Our research project has been launched. Victoria University student Jonathan Muirhead has begun what YEPT hopes will become a 3-4 year Masters thesis into the effects of yoga on the incarcerated. This research may prove to be the most comprehensive international research yet. The challenging part will be getting the researcher into prisons to work with our clients but we plan to work hard alongside the University to make our vision a reality.