Prison Yoga in Mexico

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.  They are dedicated  to bringing Hatha yoga, meditation, pranayama, body-mind awareness and stress management tools behind Mexican prison bars. It has survived now without financing of any kind other than the odd donation for the last ten years.

The Parinaama Prison Project was started in 2003 by Ann Moxey – Anusara Certified Instructor with a training in Vini-Yoga and original trainings with Iyengar teachers. 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.

The two prisons are situated in Atlacholoaya in the state of Morelos, about two hours from Mexico City, twenty minutes from the city of Cuernavaca. 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 per class.

The Parinaama Prison Project proposes a complete change of paradigm: replacing the present War On 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 in Mexico. Other locations include Costa Rica’s San Jose prison, and Argentina’s prisons in Tucuman, La Plata, Mar del Plata, and Buenos Aires.

For more information on The Parinaama Prison Project, please contact Ann Moxey.

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