Founder and Director
James Fox, MA began teaching yoga and meditation to prisoners at San Quentin Prison in 2002. His years of experience as a facilitator of victim/offender education, violence prevention, and emotional literacy classes for prisoners informed his work with prisoners and the eventual founding of Prison Yoga Project. Since then he’s led practices and consulted in prisons and jails across the US and around the world. James has trained thousands of teachers who have replicated Prison Yoga Project’s methodology in more than 24 states, Canada, India, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, Germany and The Netherlands. He is the author of Yoga: a Path for Healing and Recovery, distributed by request, free of charge to prisoners. James was a Reviewer for Best Practices for Yoga in the Criminal Justice System and a Contributor for Best Practices for Yoga with Veterans published by the Yoga Service Council. James is on the faculty of Loyola Marymount University’s Yoga, Mindfulness, and Social Change Certification Program, and has served as an advisor to the National Institutes of Health-sponsored Chicago Urban Mindfulness Program. In 2015, Yoga Journal honored James with a Karma Yoga Award for their 40th Anniversary Issue.
Bill Brown, C-IAYT, RYT200 is the Program Director for Prison Yoga Project. He has brought yoga and mindfulness to San Diego County prisons and jails since 2013 at Federal, State, and County facilities. He is a contributing editor to the Yoga Service Council/Omega Institute’s recently published book Best Practices for Yoga in the Criminal Justice System. He also maintains a private practice as a Phoenix Rising Yoga Therapy (PRYT) Practitioner and Group Facilitator, specializing in working with survivors of trauma.
Director of Development and Communications
JC joined Prison Yoga Project in Fall 2010 and became its designated Director of Development and Communications. Before joining Prison Yoga Project, JC enjoyed a lengthy career in advertising, television syndication, and business development. JC founded and operated two different regional advertising agencies with a deep roster of pro bono clients. He was Executive Vice-President and General Manager of Golden West Television Productions and COO of Action Media Group. JC lives with his family and works from his home in Oregon, is a long-time meditator, and has a nascent yoga practice.
Operations and Finance Manager, Teacher (San Diego)
Lifen Alfstad, CPA, is the Operations and Finance Manager for Prison Yoga Project. After graduating from San Diego State in 2009, she spent two years as an auditor for municipalities and nonprofits. She and her husband then founded, grew and sold a small software firm. In December 2017, she began teaching with the Prison Yoga Project San Diego Chapter a the Vista Detention Facility and RJ Donovan State Prison. She is also currently working toward her Juris Doctor degree from the University of San Diego School of Law with an emphasis in Public Interest Law.
Administrative Support, Chapter Director/Teacher (Sacramento)
Kaysie Markwardt, RYT200, is Admin. Support for PYP and the Sacramento Chapter Director. She spent 15 years in post-secondary education before leaving to focus on a path of Service. Her love of yoga began with her first yoga class in 2001 and from there, her experience has grown from a self-sustaining practice to a full-blown dedication to helping others find a deeper sense of mind-body awareness both on and off the mat. As a self-care advocate, she works with students to increase presence and self-awareness of the body and the breath. She has been teaching at Folsom State Prison since June, 2017. Inspired by various high-level teachers, Ganga White, BKS Iyengar, Judith Hansen Lasater, Richard Rosen and James Fox, Kaysie earned her 200 RYT in 2015, and is a Level 1 Rest & Renew certified instructor.
Trainer, Chapter Director/Teacher (San Diego)
Kate Beckel, E-RYT200, YACEP, RCYT, M.Ed is a Prison Yoga Project Trainer and the San Diego Chapter Director. She is also a trainer for Yoga Ed., specializing in working with children and youth. She has trained in a wide variety of yoga practices. She is in the Advanced year of her Somatic Experiencing (SE) Studies. SE is a mind-body therapy that works with the nervous system to relieve and or resolve trauma. Since 2015 she has taught trauma-informed yoga at Vista Detention Facility, Las Colinas Detention and Reentry Facility, Second Chance, Kitchens for Good, Toussaint Academy, and other Title 1 schools.
Trainer, Senior Teacher (San Francisco)
Chanda Williams, MA, RYT, is a yoga teacher with a background in body mechanics, wellness coaching, and advanced training in trauma-informed yoga practices. Chanda has a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a master’s degree in integrative health studies, focusing on resiliency and wellness in the workplace. Subsequently, she designed and managed award-winning corporate wellness programs for Fortune 100 companies for several years. A yoga teacher since 2004, Chanda offers group Hatha and vinyasa yoga classes as well as individual yoga therapy for people with injuries or chronic health conditions. With a deep devotion to service, she taught yoga in the San Francisco County jail for two years prior to joining the Prison Yoga Project, where she has taught regularly since 2014 at San Quentin State Prison. Committed to teaching yoga for health and social transformation, she is pursuing a doctoral degree in somatic depth psychology researching evidenced-based practices to heal trauma through mindful movement, breathing techniques, and meditation.
Tierney St. John
Trainer, Senior Teacher (San Diego)
Tierney St. John E-RYT200, YACEP, is a Prison Yoga Project Trainer, Mentor, and Senior Teacher. She has extensive training in a wide variety of yoga styles and lineages and has lead numerous 200hr Yoga Alliance accredited Teacher Training certifications. She is a life-long yoga student and a full-time yoga teacher. Tierney is passionate about making yoga accessible to all people. She has experienced first hand the power of yoga to increase self-awareness, cultivate community, deepen empathy, and empower people through a sense of overall wellbeing. She currently teaches two weekly trauma-informed classes at San Diego Central Jail.
Trainer, Senior Teacher (Mexico City)