‘Ashtanga Yoga in prisons can benefit the culture’

Here’s something to ponder on our collective day off.

In our recent post about David Swenson and Robbie Norris at the Richmond City Jail (we’re still watching to see when Swenson’s site re-posts about it per our update earlier), Robbie left a comment that I think is worth highlighting:

My hope is that the publicity will help spread this practice throughout the nation’s correctional system. (Right now, Virginia state prisons don’t even allow inmates to own yoga mats but they can buy televisions.) In fact, due to the article, I was recently contacted by a juvenile correctional facility and am about to begin teaching there … and I’m excited to find out how the practice resonates with teenage boys… and I believe that for some it might change the whole arc of their life.

What could be better than learning a fundamental practice of “self-correction” while in jail or prison. Anyone who has practiced primary series consistently for a number of years, and enjoys helping people, can do it. I think it’s just an incredible fundamental, universal practice. And I think Ashtanga Yoga in prisons can benefit the culture of this whole country, over time.

That’s a pretty powerful statement and also a pretty hopeful and optimistic one. (At least in my line of work, which hews close to politics a lot, I don’t often run into true optimism.)

I’d also point out that when Robbie says that anyone who’s been practicing “can do it,” I believe he means teach Ashtanga to prisoners.

Which leaves us all with few excuses, right?

Posted by Steve

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Two Ashtangis write about their practice and their teachers.

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