How yoga is building harmony in prisons

WE-AR gives back to the New Zealand community in a number of different ways - supporting and sponsoring the Yoga Education in Prisons Trust is one initiative that we are extremely passionate about.


The restrictive prison environment presents many challenges for inmates and by practising yoga prisoners can set out on a life-changing journey of personal growth and development that would otherwise not have been realised.


From the front line, Hawkes Bay teacher Linda Trubridge shares:


After working a lifetime of practising and teaching art and yoga I am in the privileged position of being able to work as a volunteer, but few teachers can afford to give their time for free. The interest in yoga in our prison has escalated due to the dedication of Karyn, the prisons volunteer coordinator and the co-operative prison staff. However, we are unable to keep up with requests for classes that are coming from all units. Fortunately, two other yoga teachers have joined me, Kate who has been taking sessions of pranayama, meditation and yoga Nidra and Dee, a positive role model, a strong man leading a gentle Yin Yoga class.


Interactions with the men bring various responses. Throughout I have been met with respect, curiosity and a genuine desire to transform behaviour patterns. Yoga is unique in providing a way to calm emotions, let go of old habits and fill a spiritual void. Following eight years of teaching yoga in all areas of HBRP I have become known and on walking through the grounds I encounter an inmate that I taught several years ago who says "you won't remember me!" But although I am slow with his name I recall his deep concentration and how he told me about the difficulties of being far from his family in Christchurch. 

How could I forget? These men's lives are important- they are perhaps sons of a less fortunate mother- who I may be able to help where she cannot.