Provides weekly trauma-informed mindfulness classes at York Correctional Institute and Path of Freedom classes at Cheshire Correctional Institution. Also developing curriculum for working with people 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
Prison Yoga & Meditation Is a not-for-profit 501(c3) volunteer group that brings yoga and meditation to incarcerated individuals serving time in the correctional facilities of Los Angeles. Our purpose is to share our compassion, love, and respect with a population who find themselves unseen and often discarded. To be seen, heard and treated with kindness and compassion opens the door to healing and increases the potential for positive change.
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.