A non-so-strange tale of jail yoga

I promised in the last post to keep this one short. So I’ll point you toward Robbie Norris’ latest, which tells a story from off the mat — and thus isn’t caught in some wordy yoga conundrum:

So, since January 5th, I’ve seen a rare thing: a guy gets released from a long jail sentence and is immediately on track, continuing his recovery and rehabilitation with his priorities intact, supported by his foundational daily yoga practice.  Billy rises before the sun every morning for coffee and 10 sun salutations before riding his bike to the west end YMCA for a workout, and then heading to his father’s house — where he just finished putting in a new bathroom from floor to ceiling.  And Billy bikes and buses downtown four to five times a week in freezing temperatures for a full practice at Richmond City Yoga.

Robbie, of course, loses me when he mentions “freezing temperatures.” But you should keep reading. I’d forgotten about the New York Times story.

And despite Robbie’s headline, I don’t think there’s a single thing strange about his story.

Posted by Steve

A reminder of why we do yoga

It comes — as it has before — from Robbie Norris, who teaches yoga with a firm grounding in Ashtanga, to those in the Richmond City Jail and at his own studio:

Three years later, on October 21, 2014, while sugaring my coffee at Starbucks, I heard a voice, “Hey, I think you taught me yoga at jail a few years ago.”  I turned and was so pleased to see Logan.  Imploring him to come to Richmond City Yoga, I got his commitment to come the next day.  The following morning when I arrived, he was there waiting.  That boy from jail is now a promising young man.  He wants to acquire the education and credentials to become a mental health therapist; hopefully, he will get help with this ambition, because the occupation would suit him well.  Logan is dedicated to working hard and doing the right things.  He’s funny, intelligent, attentive, and humble.  And his disciplined daily yoga practice is bringing him physical strength, mental resolve, and deserved confidence.

You need — really have to — to go the above link and read all of Logan’s story, including this part:

My wish is that anyone who reads this, who is so inclined and who has the means, will please contact me so that we can join forces to help further this young man’s dream.

Many thanks to RCY student Stacey Scott for paying Logan’s second and third month’s dues.  Thanks to the anonymous donor and theCommunity Foundation for supporting my work at the jail.  Thank you,Eddie Stern, for being the fiscal agent for the grant, and for being a continuous source of inspiration and education.  Thank you, David Swenson, for your generous donations of books and supplies to help inmates and indigent ex-offenders.

It is incredibly fun to complain about one’s yoga practice, to write about how or why you’re giving it up, to joy in the triumphs and to curse the challenges. But it always is critical to remember how lucky you are you can complain in such a way — a real first world problem, no?

Read through Logan’s story and think about contacting Robbie, if you’re so moved. You can reach him via the contact link on his blog.

Posted by Steve