>Users:   login   |  register       > email     > people    


Living Yoga, calming corrections
By Sarah Etter, News Reporter
Published: 06/19/2006

 

Thirty women sit on mats across a recreation room at Oregon's Coffee Creek Correctional facility. Up front, a yoga instructor presses play on a stereo and calming music wafts through the air. The mood is set, and the women begin to mimic the instructor's stances, from positions like Downward Dog to leg stretches during the hour and a half session.

Taking deep breaths, the inmates try to center themselves and concentrate on their inner energy.

For the ladies of Coffee Creek, Living Yoga is a chance to find peace and quiet in the sometimes chaotic atmosphere of a dorm-style women's facility that houses 128 offenders.

“Yoga helps immensely with living in prison,” says Kim McCauley, an inmate at Coffee Creek and participant in Living Yoga. “We get to have a few moments of silence which is something you just can't find in a prison. There is no place to be alone here. There is no place to cry or have emotions without twenty people coming up to you. These classes are a huge relief. You can center and focus on yourself.”

Living Yoga is a non-profit outreach center established in 1998, and made up of volunteers that teach the mind and body discipline to men and women at substance abuse clinics, shelters, and prisons.

Volunteers began teaching at Coffee Creek's minimum and medium security facilities about three years ago and continue to receive positive feedback from offenders, who take two classes a week, typically on Tuesday and Thursday, in classes of thirty.

“Living Yoga is an invaluable tool for rehabilitation and recovery. It develops skills of emotional regulation and balance, and it improves decision making skills. It's changing the lives of these inmates. They just keep asking for more and more classes,” says Kayci Cavenah, administrator of Living Yoga.

Some might chalk inmate yoga up to New Age nonsense, but proponents of the practice disagree.

“There is nothing New Age about yoga,” says Jim Wanless, volunteer coordinator for Living Yoga. “Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years.”

In fact, its roots date back to ancient Hinduism. Although there are many different types of yoga, most practices focus on stances that keep the body fit, mantras and chanting that calm the mind, and elements of meditation that enhance self-awareness.

For inmates, it often can make the difference between a temperamental reaction and a peaceful reaction.

“Yoga really helps you develop inner peace,” says McCauley. “I can walk into a heated situation in the dorm, and I can diffuse from it and walk away rather than getting involved. Yoga has taught me not to let my surroundings affect me so much, which is a huge plus. It's made me calm. I sleep much better. This is an avenue for my spirituality, for my mind and my body to stay positive and well.”

Since the program is run by volunteers, the only cost to the Oregon Department of Corrections was the mats. According to officials, the program offers a chance for inmates to reconnect with the community before release. 

“These classes are booked. There is a huge inmate response to this program. It's quite popular,” says Elizabeth Craig, Community Resources Manager for Coffee Creek. “For us, it's also important because we focus on re-entry in Oregon. This program gives inmates the chance to see that there are great people in the community that care about them and want to help them succeed. This is an example of community support; they are building bridges back into the community with this program.”

Each class typically begins with meditation and silence. Once inmates feel relaxed, instructors move participants through a number of stances.

“The stances of yoga are largely based on who you have in class,” explains Wanless. “It varies from class to class. If you are teaching people who have been in a yoga class for over a year, the stances and poses will be much more challenging. If you are dealing with beginners, you focus more on meditation.”

Currently, Living Yoga has about 50 volunteers, all of whom went through a rigorous screening, orientation and training processes at the organization and the ORDOC.

“Volunteers have to pass drug screenings, security clearances, and background checks. They go through a four-day yoga training process with us. Once they have finished that, they have a DOC training, as well as training for the specific facility they will be working in,” Wanless says. “It's very different to teach a yoga class after walking through six steel doors and a metal detector to teach a class, and we want them to be prepared for that.”

Inmates reap the benefits of the yoga's peaceful practices and administrators continue to tout the program as a chance to change corrections.

“This program has cut back drastically on inmate idleness, and it gives our offender population a chance to learn something new,” Craig says. “For inmates, it's a place to center and reflect on themselves and their behavior. They can get away from the stress of living in a correctional facility. And hopefully, it gives them a mindset they can take back to the community to make real change.”


Bottom Line: Yoga gives inmates a chance to peacefully reflect on their behaviors and reactions. Administrators benefit from less inmate idle time and the community bonds that can benefit the re-entry process.



Comments:

  1. Markus Weisz on 06/18/2019:

    I am really hoping the very same finest job from you in the future as well. As a matter of fact, your innovative creating abilities has really inspired me to begin my very own Blog site Engine blog site presently. Actually, blog writing is spreading its wings promptly. alarm system company

  2. Yoga Teacher Training in India - Yog Amritam Rishikesh on 06/06/2019:

    I really appreciate your view. The article was interesting and helpful. Thank you for sharing it with us - Thanks & Best Wishes - Yoga Teacher Training School in Rishikesh

  3. Yoga Teacher Training in India - Yog Amritam Rishikesh on 06/06/2019:

    I really appreciate your view. The article was interesting and helpful. Thank you fr sharing it with us - Thanks & Best Wishes - https://yogamritamrishikesh.org

  4. Markus Weisz on 05/31/2019:

    It has actually been months for me. Well, this write-up that I've been waited on as lengthy. I need this article to finish my task in the university, as well as additionally it has the exact same topic with your post. boulevard real estate company

  5. memorialday on 05/18/2019:

    Taking the on top of datum into thought, it's clear that Digital promoting is dominating the promoting landscape. it's not solely advantages the companies however conjointly provides promising career opportunities to aspiring digital marketers. Therefore, there arises the requirement to develop associate degree understanding of digital promoting course content. social media marketing course Digital Marketing Training Institute In Pune

  6. casseverhart13 on 05/15/2019:

    A lot of people will be benefited from this writing. Cheers! cleaning

  7. Markus Weisz on 05/14/2019:

    Splendid, incredible, I was examining specifically how to recover skin break out usually. also, discovered your site by google, took in an amazing strategy, currently I'm instead clear. I've bookmarked your website as well as likewise, on top of that, including RSS. maintain our restored. metal roofing installation

  8. Brielle on 05/10/2019:

    Yoga calms me and lifts up my chi, as much as how https://scottkeeverseo.com/ lifts my business up in the digital marketing world! :) Kodus!

  9. Brielle on 05/10/2019:

    Yoga calms me and lifts up my chi, as much as how https://scottkeeverseo.com/ lifts my business up in the digital marketing world! :)

  10. Markus Weisz on 04/30/2019:

    I never revealed any type of sort of fascinating review like yours. It's truly entirely worth for me. As I would absolutely see it, if all website admins as well as also blog site writers made great substance as you did, the web will certainly be substantially a whole lot handier than whenever in recent memory. check this site

  11. Chris889 on 02/13/2019:

    Yoga has been my best friend since then. I have a very depressing history and it really helped me a lot in coping with everything. Jon | rent to own homes in columbia sc

  12. Rishi Krishnatre on 02/07/2019:

    Liviving Yoga and Calming Correction. the thing yousaid its 100% truth Yoga is all About calming. Thanks for sharing this Yoga Retreat in Dehradun India

  13. Rishi Krishnatre on 02/07/2019:

    I love your article its really informational thanks for sharing it. Hatha Yoga Teacher Training Rishikesh India

  14. adamschule85 on 01/09/2019:

    I'm impressed. minecraft shooting games

  15. Manmohansingh on 12/27/2018:

    Thanks for sharing such a informative post with us. yoga teacher training in india

  16. Manmohansingh on 12/27/2018:

    Thanks for sharing such a informative post with us. https://www.rishikulyogshala.org/

  17. pictaram on 12/22/2017:

    Thank you for sharing! This is what I want to find. imgrum

  18. Sara on 11/18/2017:

    I like your article. This Yoga program has helped people in prison and is a good initiative. Sara from https://investimentoesportivo.net/bet365/


Login to let us know what you think

User Name:   

Password:       


Forgot password?





correctsource logo




Use of this web site constitutes acceptance of The Corrections Connection User Agreement
The Corrections Connection ©. Copyright 1996 - 2019 © . All Rights Reserved | 15 Mill Wharf Plaza Scituate Mass. 02066 (617) 471 4445 Fax: (617) 608 9015