Prison Project Program
The Prison Project
The Sivananda Prison Outreach Program was initiated in 1996 when an inmate read Swami Vishnudevananda’s Complete Illustrated Book of Yoga and expressed his appreciation in the magazine Prison Life. Shortly after, hundreds of prisoners started writing to the Sivananda organizations expressing their interest and requesting books on yoga.
For the past 20 years, the Yoga Ranch has been sending yoga books to prisoners, exchanging correspondence, and teaching yoga classes and meditation in a New York medium security prison.
With 2.3 millions prisoners, the United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world. Prison overcrowding, noise, and limited space can deeply amplify experiences of anxiety, depression, hopelessness, grief, fear, and rage for inmates already often dealing with anger or violent impulses.
A regular yoga practice is a powerful tool for the positive transformation of inmates to learn how to cultivate peace of mind and positive thinking, helping them gain control over their emotions, enhance sensitivity toward themselves, empathy towards others, and a life of compassion rather than violence.
Hear From the Inmates
“This is a letter of gratitude and thanks […] I use this book always […] I now do yoga 4 times a week like religion […] I have many years to go which to diligently continue in this journey, that you all helped me with“. D.C., Tehachapi State Prison, CA
“Thank you very much for your generous gift of the yoga book. It has arrived and it is wonderful. More complete that I imagined. I’m exceedingly grateful”.
– R.I, Maury, NC