A few years ago, I couldn’t even imagine stepping a foot inside a prison. These days I really look forward to it each week. I feel extremely honoured to have this opportunity to share the practice and gifts of yoga in both Manawatu Men’s prison and Arohata women’s prison.
Our newest affiliate Jasmin Dingemans speaks about teaching in Milton.
How do you feel after a class?
Energised and inspired.
I experienced a group of guys keen and willing to try yoga and expressing a lot of gratitude. The class was a mix of all shapes and sizes all looking for a practice to make themselves feel better. There was some gangsta rap blaring in the background…Wutang Clan I think! There was a really big turn out because, as I was told later, they had expected the yoga teacher to be a woman.
I told my yogi warriors at the beginning of class about the training we are doing this weekend in Auckland and asked them what they would like them (the participants) to know about yoga in prisons; what were the benefits to them, what do they want from a teacher, what should they(the teacher) be aware of.
Tuesday (first class!) went very well. The guys were very engaged and enjoyed the class. It’s an interesting dynamic to work and did at times feel a bit like trying to get children to focus, but overall they were enthusiastic and willing to learn and try some things that were maybe a bit different for them.
I began teaching yoga as a volunteer about 18 months ago. This quickly became three classes a week and remains a truly joyous part of my teaching schedule. It’s been one of the most rewarding experiences of my life. Not just as a yogi imparter and imbiber, but as a human being trying to live a fulfilling, kind, heart-opening life.