One of my favorite yoga instructors, Cassandra, often says during class, “we don’t do yoga to change ourselves, we do yoga to discover the awesomeness that has always been there.”
For some of us that does mean change. To look inside yourself and make changes in your life based on what you love the most about yourself. While we do this subconsciously, we definitely learn to like ourselves more. And when you like yourself more, you believe in what you can offer the world.
I believe in practical application. If yoga did not improve my life, I would not do it. That’s why I took interest in Yoga Behind Bars, a Seattle non-profit that now brings yoga classes to inmates around the country. I found several non profits that are working to do studies on the effects yoga has in prison. Through Prison Yoga Project, you can even donate a book to a prisoner for less than $10. Let’s keep in mind we have to share the world with these people when they get out. I would be relieved to know that the ex-con standing behind me in line at Safeway has been exposed to the healing powers of yoga.
Yoga builds balance, on the mat and off. While some people argue that yoga is a luxury that prisoners do not deserve, I think that by finding that balance they can go on to live healthier more productive lives after their time is served. Yoga can bring them motivation not to just stay out of prison, but to give the world the awesomeness that they have to offer.
All photographs ©Robert Sturman
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