Prison Yoga Project (PYP) believes in restorative justice and a healing-centered approach to addressing crime, addiction, and mental illness.
“We serve people impacted by punitive incarceration, including incarcerated people and staff working in correctional facilities,” says Executive Director Bill Brown. “Historically marginalized and oppressed groups comprise the majority of these groups, including people of color, indigenous people, impoverished people, transgender and gender non-conforming people, people lacking education and literacy, and people with mental health issues.”
Prison Yoga’s Work
PYP offers trauma-informed, mindfulness-based yoga programs to address the trauma, addiction, and mental health issues that lead to and arise from incarceration. Some examples of its programming and impact:
PYP offers "Foundational Training" in English, Spanish, French, and Portuguese for yoga teachers, mental health professionals, and corrections administration and staff. The training empowers a diverse group of people, including formerly incarcerated people, to become trauma-informed yoga facilitators.
It also offers a 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training that emphasizes teaching in non-studio environments with groups outside the mainstream of yoga. It is currently developing training for people interested in working with incarcerated youth.
In the last year, PYP offered more than $50,000 in scholarships for formerly incarcerated and other system-impacted people to attend training programs.
In 2021, PYP created 20 new videos in English and Spanish for distribution to incarcerated people worldwide and hosted 24 free webinars to spread the word about its work.
Each year, PYP distributes approximately 3,000 copies of its book, A Path for Healing and Recovery and Freedom from the Inside, to incarcerated people, by request and at no cost.
PYP is currently developing a graphic novel introducing system-impacted youth to yoga and mindfulness.
Read our coverage of Prison Yoga in Yoga Journal.