Living Yoga exists to support youth and adults in prison, in drug and alcohol recovery programs and in community transitional services. We use Yoga, with its proven ability to heal trauma, to help people improve their path in life, moving from convicts and addicts, to neighbors, coworkers and friends.
“Yoga helped me be more kind and compassionate. I came to realize the connection we all share and that we are not separate, and to hurt another is to hurt myself. Today I truly care about the wellbeing of others instead of dwelling on my own selfish needs. Yoga is the path that brought me here.”- Troy M.- former inmate at CRCI
“Through tracking the breath and sensations in my body I was eventually able to focus inward and gain space from negative, habitual thought patterns. As I continued to deepen my practice, self compassion arose and with this I found myself able to view and treat others more compassionately.” - Becca K.
For our prisons, treatment programs and community services to work--not just for the individuals incarcerated or enrolled in them but for all of society--they have to be places of real, fundamental, positive change. Yoga--with its focus on finding the strength that is within each of us--has been shown to heal trauma and give students the tools they need to make that kind of change in themselves.
“Yoga really helps you develop inner peace. I can walk into a heated situation in the dorm and diffuse from it and walk away rather than get involved. Yoga has taught me not to let my surroundings affect me so much, which is a huge plus. It's made me calm. I sleep much better at night. This is an avenue for my spirituality, for my mind and my body to stay positive and well.” -Inmate CCCF
“I'm learning about nonviolence. To me, it is loving, caring and joy. This is not only for others, it is for ourselves. We are often violent with ourselves, which then gets cast outward. So when we become loving, caring and joyful within ourselves, it will be cast out to others in a positive, nonviolent manner.” –Inmate CCCF
Our students have to want to change and be ready to work. But the fact is, most people don’t want to be in prison, they don’t want to be on drugs, they don’t want to be out of control of their lives. They want to be productive, positive members of a community because they understand that’s where real happiness lies. We give them the tools--proven tools--to get there.
“I want to keep living life to its fullest and when I get out I am going to keep doing yoga. I am going to stay in recovery, and yoga and recovery are linked. Yoga and recovery till I'll die.- Depaul student
“I'm most hopeful about going home to my family. I have all these different tools, I know more peaceful things to do other than fight.”-Depaul teen
“For someone like me, who is a “feel good” junkie, practice gave me a way to be responsible for my own “feel good”; using the body and the breath. Yoga was the first time I started to develop an authentic, healthy connection with my physical body after years of substance abuse, disordered eating and unhealthy work environments.” Becca K.
"To come to class and be able to embrace the quiet and stillness, for me, it's a reminder of who I really am and I try to stay with that feeling throughout the week to help me make it through."- Inmate, Columbia River Correctional Institution
"Living Yoga has benefitted me greatly as a recovery tool. Thank you for your consistency and support. It is greatly appreciated." -Adult at DePaul Drug and Alcohol Treatment Facility
"I came from a violent upbringing to ten years in the Army and several more in prison. Violence has been a part of me my whole life. Living Yoga is helping me change that. Thank you."- Inmate, Columbia River Correctional Institution
“The yoga program is changing my life. The peace, serenity, and increased self-esteem that I have acquired from (the volunteers) is wonderful.” – Inmate, Coffee Creek
“This is the most fantastic way to begin to awaken to our body, mind, and feelings. To relax and get real. This class has a played a major role in my desire to change my life and create healthy habits. Your time is greatly appreciated in helping us to get to know ourselves.” -Inmate, Coffee Creek
"Thank you for all the support. Yoga has given me a way out of my addiction. Doing yoga gives me a lot of relaxation and helps me so much."-Adult at DePaul Drug and Alcohol Treatment Facility
“Living Yoga has allowed me to slip over the wires and imagine myself in a yoga community outside these walls” -Inmate, Coffee Creek
“Living Yoga has given me a slice of goodness in a hard inflexible place. I will continue to do yoga long after I leave and if worthy perhaps I could be of service.”-Inmate, Coffee Creek
“I want to once again let you know how much we appreciate your continued dedication to those of us in here. We look forward to those moments all week!” -Inmate, Coffee Creek
“I really like the meditation and discussions about life and what causes our suffering and how we can eradicate our suffering.”-Inmate, Coffee Creek
“Yoga has opened my mind and renews my hope in the still attainable flexibility and health of my body.”-Inmate, Coffee Creek
“In coming to Living Yoga, I have remembered who I am, and have been graced with the blessings of returning to my spiritual path.”-Inmate, Coffee Creek
“I really enjoy the class and find that it gives me respite from the stress of living in prison.”-Inmate, Coffee Creek
“I’m really thankful for the free yoga. It’s fun and the instructors have great personalities. It gets me in the relax zone.” -DePaul Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center, Teen Boys' Program
"I just want to say thank you for allowing me to engage in something that takes time off my mind. Relaxation and meditation is helping with treatments.” -De Paul Drug and Alcohol Treatment Center, Teen Boys' Program