#GivingTuesday: Liberation Prison Yoga

True story here.

I had been thinking about embarking on a yoga teacher training program for years, but each time an enrollment period came about, I had a million reasons not to do it. And they all came down to the fact I really wasn’t moved to teach yoga to the kinds of folks with whom I practiced. Nothing against my fellow yogis, but they strike me as the types of people who don’t need much, and certainly don’t need it from me.

I continued scoping out teacher training programs, I even signed up for one – ironically enough, my current TT with FlorYoga in Jersey City – but when it was time to get serious about payments and books, I again put off the training. Then in early spring of this year I read an article in Runner’s Magazine about a runner who started a program in a women’s prison in Alaska and the profound effect running had on the inmates, the joy running provided in a world full of trauma, the inner peace the women experienced when their feet hit the track, the overall increase in self-worth. And just like that, everything came to an abrupt standstill. Pieces that had been so scattered in my mind fit together in a perfect jigsaw. All the mess and uncertainty cleared. If I was going to teach, then it was going to be for the men, women, and children who fill our correctional facilities.

I closed the magazine and started searching the web for yoga programs in prisons and juvenile detention facilities. It was during those initial hours of research that I came across Liberation Prison Yoga, an organization in NYC whose mission is to “support incarcerated individuals with the tools to survive the stress of pre-trial, prison, and re-entry into society to emerge with real world readiness skills through yoga and mindfulness.” I finally found my motivator. I emailed the head of my current teacher training program, made sure she still wanted me in her class, and the rest is history.

I will complete my 200 hour teacher training this December, and in late January will complete a two-day prison yoga training with LPY. Which won’t promise me a position with them, but will certainly enable me to apply for one. And trust that completed application will be in their inbox bright and early February 1st.  

In the meanwhile, and to support LPY in their current fundraising campaign leading up to December 3rd’s Giving Tuesday, I am donating $20 every month to LPY to help change the system from within. What about you?

You don’t have to give the same amount, but if you believe in donating to good causes, I ask that you make LPY one of them. Any amount helps, and every donation is tax deductible. THIS. IS. THE. GOOD. WORK. This is the tough work, the punch-you-in-the-gut work, the kind of work that makes a difference. No matter how you feel about crime and punishment, right and wrong, the fact of the matter is a life incarcerated is a life filled with stress and trauma, the kinds of which we on the outside cannot imagine. Organizations like LPY aim to ease some of that for the men, women, and children imprisoned across our country. So please, donate today, and help LPY help someone in serious need of some time on the mat.

xx, Madhuri

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