Provides weekly trauma-informed mindfulness classes at York Correctional Institute. Also developing curriculum for working with young men recently released from prison in the New Haven, CT area.
Our prison outreach is at the Huron Valley Women’s Correctional Facility. Our program consists of two components:
Buddhist Services every Sunday for 1 hour and 15 minutes.
We have a group of four leaders from our Temple who rotate doing the services. About eight women prisoners participate regularly. Two have taken the precepts and another is scheduled to take them this summer. Our services consist of meditation, chanting, and walking meditation followed by a half hour discussion of a dharma subject. These discussions are consistently enriching and thoughtful for all involved. In 2011 and 2012 we had one day meditation retreats that were attended by about 20 women.
Two facilitators also teach meditation classes. These are held weekly for 1 1/2 hours.
Around 75 to 100 different women have taken the classes over the last three years.
The class is presented as a secular practice although Buddhism does get a mention quite often. We teach many basic meditation techniques including breath counting, sound, relaxation, focus on emotions and thoughts; loving kindness. We lead guided meditations, give didactic instructions, and discuss meditation topics. Many women have reported that they are able to cope better with some of the stresses of prison with the help of these techniques.
Prison: Huron Valley Women’s Correctional Facility
Prisoners served: 75-100 women
Recovery Yoga, Inc. is a 501 (c)(3) service organization dedicated to healing and personal empowerment through yoga programs in southwestern Connecticut and Rhode Island. Recovery Yoga’s misson is to establish, develop and maintain yoga programs in residential, rehabilitative and other facilities, primarily for women and teens working to recover from substance, physical or other abuse, or who are at risk or otherwise in need.
We believe yoga is about the triumph of the human spirit.
York Correctional Facility in Niantic, CT.
The Parinaama Prison Project (Fundacion Parinaama) is a totally voluntary effort by yoga teachers of several different traditions (including Iyengar, Anusara, Vini Yoga, Ashtanga, Power Yoga and Kundalini) mostly from Mexico City, Cuautla, Cuernavaca and surrounding areas. We are dedicated to taking Hatha yoga, meditation, pranayama, body-mind & stress management tools behind Mexican prison bars.
We were founded in 2003 by Ann Moxey, Anusara Certified Instructor with a training in Vini-Yoga and Iyengar. In 2011, Ann started a Yoga Teacher Training for the inmates in the Men’s prison, which continues to this day and was attended initially by two female yoga participants from the Women’s prison until they went free. Five ex-inmates are currently working as yoga teachers, some of them in Juvenile Detention/Reform Centers.
Fundacion Parinaama estimates that over 1,500 inmates have attended the classes its members have offered. In the Men’s prison attendance is between 60 to 30 inmates per class. The Women’s prison yoga attendance is currently at about 15.
The Parinaama Prison Project proposes a complete change of paradigm: replacing the present War against Drugs with Drug Prevention Programs . Parinaama Yoga is a registered school which runs a 200 hour Teacher Training in Stress Management and Yoga for Addictions / Prevention. It targets yoga teachers who already hold a Certification or Psychologists/Medical Professionals interested in learning yoga tools to complement the work they already do.
Parinaama has served as inspiration to teach behind bars in Queretaro, Puebla, Toluca, San Miguel Allende, Morelia, Chihuahua, as well as Mexico City and abroad, in Costa Rica’s San Jose prison, and Argentina’s prisons in Tucuman, La Plata, Mar del Plata, and Buenos Aires.
We take yoga and meditation to women serving jail and prison sentences in California. We currently teach at the Twin Towers Correctional Facility in downtown Los Angeles, which is a male facility that takes the overflow of women from other facilities. We teach one class on Sat. and are expanding to two classes. We also have a Spanish yoga/meditation class on Sunday. We hope to expand to two more classes during the week next year.