Besides our volunteer-led yoga classes, prisoners are able to enrol in a self study FREE 12 module Yoga Correspondence Course that can take anywhere between 7 – 12 months to complete.
The course involves both theory and practice and encourages prisoners to do a daily practice of the same techniques (postures, breathing and meditation) for a month. They then write in with their answers to 6 simple questions encouraging reflection and observation before they receive the next module. The course is designed to help prisoners go deeper, develop self awareness and establish a disciplined ‘home’ practice.
We have around 180 prisoners in most facilities around Aotearoa enrolled. Prisoners, after experiencing the benefits of the practices for themselves, pass them on to other prisoners who then write to us for the course. There are prisoners that we have never met who are getting up at 5am to find some space and quiet to practice yoga. One recently wrote to us saying he had gotten rid of his T.V so he could practice more yoga in his cell.
After the first 6 modules are completed prisoners receive a certificate and an option to continue with the next phase in sharing their knowledge, by enrolling in the Peer Instructor Course, where they are mentored, to teach fellow prisoners. To do this they are required to find the students and a suitable time and space to teach them and we require a signature of support from their unit manager or PCO.
Prisoners teaching prisoners – it happens anyway, so this is a perfect, more formal guidance process.