Our studio and some of our teachers offer seva (selfless service) as volunteers and ambassadors for the Yoga Education in Prisons Trust. We organise fundraisers, offer yoga classes to inmates and mentor inmates in the South Island facilities participating in the Yoga Correspondence Course.
Prisoners are able to enrol in a self study FREE six module Yoga Correspondence Course that can take anywhere between 7 – 12 months to complete.
The course involves both theory and practice and encourages prisoners to do a daily practice of the same techniques (postures, breathing and meditation) for a month. They then write in with their answers to 6 simple questions encouraging reflection and observation before they receive the next module. The course is designed to help prisoners go deeper, develop self awareness and establish a disciplined ‘home’ practice.
There are around 180 prisoners in most facilities around Aotearoa enrolled with the South Island having the largest intake of prisoners participating. Prisoners, after experiencing the benefits of the practices for themselves, pass them on to other prisoners who then write to us for the course. There are prisoners that we have never met who are getting up at 5am to find some space and quiet to practice yoga. One recently wrote to us saying he had gotten rid of his T.V so he could practice more yoga in his cell.
After the 6 modules are completed prisoners receive a certificate and an option to continue with the next phase in sharing their knowledge, by enrolling in the Peer Instructor Course, where they are mentored, to teach fellow prisoners. To do this they are required to find the students and a suitable time and space to teach them and we require a signature of support from their unit manager or PCO.
The Yoga Education in Prisons Trust (YEPT) relies wholly on donations from individuals and funders to provide free Yoga and Meditation (real rehabilitation) for prisoners in New Zealand. If you feel called to donate, please do so here.