Our Ambassadors are people who have taken independent action to advance the Prison Yoga Project mission and the concept of restorative justice.
We want to honor them and the actions they have taken – their selfless commitment – to bringing relief and rehabilitation to prisoners through yoga and mindfulness. It is only with the help of dedicated yogis like these that PYP has made the incredible progress it has.
Josefin Wikström (Yoga Therapy for The Mind, E-RYT 500, YACEP, RCYS) has been bringing yoga and dance into the Swedish prisons since 2008. She has been working as a full-time teacher focusing on yoga for trauma-exposed populations since 2003. In 2015, she began working with Prison Yoga Project to coordinate European training and has been teaching Prison Yoga Project training in Mumbai, India, and Mexico.
Globally renowned photographer Robert Sturman has been committed to and has served this mission since the beginning, creating an archive of unforgettable images of our students in San Quentin. He has since expanded this work to other prisons as well.
Leah runs, manages, directs and is the front-woman of the musical group Rising Appalachia, and together with her sister Chloe and their band, they have invested their lives into using the power of the stage for political, social, and environmental justice. Their music speaks both to carrying on traditions in folk music and creating a new platform for equality and change.
Whitney is a dedicated advocate of restorative justice and the Prison Yoga Project, having come to the practice through incarceration as a teenager. “I live, see and feel every day the beautiful impact our service can create.” Practitioner since 2007 and teacher since 2012, as a 200 E-RYT 500 RYT Whitney first attended the PYP Trauma Informed Training in Baltimore Spring 2016.
Naoko completed the PYP Training in San Francisco in February 2014. Deeply inspired, Naoko and her friend from Colombia, Maria-Paula Jimenez, wished to spread the PYP initiative in hostile prison environments in Latin America. They launched a collaborative project to translate our book Yoga a Path for Healing and Recovery into Spanish.
Kelly Boys’ depth of experience teaching Yoga Nidra to veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and traumatic brain injuries (TBI) was an invaluable contribution to the development of PYP’s program for incarcerated veterans at San Quentin. She actively partnered and co-facilitated classes for the first two years of the program and continues to play an important role for PYP as both a dedicated supporter, advisor and impassioned advocate.
John is one of the leaders of the Yoga Education in Prison’s Trust, which seeks to support and expand the Prison Yoga Sangha in New Zealand. He also promotes literacy in prisons through the Howard League for Penal Reform. Along with his colleagues, he’s been invited to expand yoga programs into all twelve of his country’s prisons and is working on setting up community classes for prisoners, so they can continue their practice post-release. John took the Training in San Francisco in 2014.