Yoga in Prisons workshops throw up the philosophical questions such as Who am I? Am I separate from what I do? They investigate basic goodness, identity, and forgiveness as well as develop listening and empathy skills. Leaders also introduce simple meditations to help prisoners learn how to calmly be with whatever emotions arise in the present moment. The boys count their breaths and do body scans to get into their bodies, relax, and find freedom from reactivity.
The idea of spending less time in solitary may lure the prisoners but once he started attending the yoga meetings they start to see the benefits. Each session offered a brief respite from isolation, a glimpse of self-awareness, and a chance to connect to others who had similar lives filled with drugs and gangs.
Thinking it over and talking with others, I was able to sort out my ideas. Using a breathing technique, which he learned in group sessions, to control his temper. My anger and other people just don’t mix. Yoga breathing techniques have helped me cope with everyday life.