Inmates talk about yoga

prison yoga project

Light A Path has been honored to support and participate in a pilot program of yoga with incarcerated men at the Buncombe County Detention Facility. The program has been deemed successful and will be continuing, thanks to the support of Sheriff Van Duncan, Captain Scott Allen and Volunteer Coordinator Val Lamberti as well as dedicated teachers Julia Albertson, Paul Heumiller and Eddie Velasquez.

If you have wondered about the value of yoga and mindfulness for the incarcerated, we invite you to take a moment out of your day and read this post. Following, is a letter from one of the inmates that participated in the program. These letter is shared with his permission. [the letter has been unedited in any way]

4.13.16

To whom it may concern,

First off I want to thank you guys for helping us and actually believing in us to make a change when all others seem to have given up. To tell you the truth I thought yoga was a crock and a waste of time. I can now say that the moment I decided to give it a try was one of the best choices I have made in a very long time. Not only has it been helping me physically but it has had a big effect on me mentally. Between yoga and meditation I have been able to change my behavior drastically. I was always getting mad over little things and it would get me in trouble constantly. Learning to control my breathing or should I say, come to my breath, has helped me in those situations. Before it never really mattered to me if I got locked back because the way I saw it, in my room or out of it, we are still locked up. Since I started doing yoga I’ve actually been trying to keep my room in order and to follow the rules as good as possible so I don’t get myself in trouble and get locked back because I don’t want to lose my spot. Yoga has helped me change my attitude and the way I’ve been looking at things and stay out of trouble because I have something to look forward to. Not only do I enjoy it but I can feel a difference in me and I want to thank each and everyone of you for taking the time and believing in us and the opportunity to become better.

Always thankful, D. G.

We are thankful too. Thankful to have the chance to share these practices with those that might not be able to participate otherwise. We will be sharing more letters from inmates in the days to come. Please feel free to share this post, to support the work of Light A Path

[photography by Robert Sturman, shared from the Prison Yoga Project]

 

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