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 inspired the establishment of yoga programs in prisons and jails across the U.S. and internationally. James has trained thousands of teachers who have replicated PYP’s methodology in correctional facilities in 28 states, India, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, the U.K. 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, is the Executive Director of Prison Yoga Project (PYP), a non-profit organization that supports incarcerated people worldwide with trauma-informed yoga and mindfulness programs. Through his work with PYP, he hopes to promote social change, transforming our systems and culture to create a more inclusive, equitable, and just world. Bill began working with PYP in 2013 and had served in Federal, State, and County facilities. In 2016 he began offering training with PYP in trauma-informed yoga for incarcerated people and assumed the Executive Director’s role in 2018. He is a contributing editor to the Yoga Service Council/Omega Institute’s book “Best Practices for Yoga in the Criminal Justice System.” In his downtime, Bill enjoys the creative outlets of photography and cooking and is an avid reader of science fiction.
National Program Manager
Nicole (RYT-200) has her Master’s in Public Service from the University of Arkansas’ Clinton School of Public Service where she originally began working with Prison Yoga Project on her capstone project to provide a set of tools for program measurement and evaluation. Previously, Nicole worked as a high school educator with an at-risk population, where she studied and implemented trauma-informed responses to misbehavior to help her students achieve their goals. She has also worked in Cape Town, supporting yoga instructors working with children with autism, and in Vietnam where she taught teachers how to use trauma-informed techniques in their classes for improved classroom management. Nicole has a passion for social justice, prison reform, and yoga; all rooted in her desire for restorative justice as an alternative to punitive punishment and its negative effects that she witnessed while working in the classroom.
Program Director and Training Coordinator, Europe
Josefin Wikström (TCTSY-F, 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.
Josefin has been the primary teacher for the Swedish Probation services and co-developed the Swedish Krimyoga program together with Eva Seilitz, a program that is today evidence-based through the research study- Yoga in correctional settings. She is now creating trauma-informed yoga programs for the Swedish forensic psychiatry units, the Juvenile justice system, and stress-reducing programs for children in the Swedish schools.
Josefin trained as a Yoga Therapist with The Minded Institute in London with a particular focus on complex trauma and mental health. Through the Trauma Center at the Justice Resource Institute in Boston, MA, she has completed the Traumatic Stress Studies Certification with Bessel van der Kolk and is in ongoing training TCTSY (Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga) training with David Emerson. She has also studied trauma-informed dance/movement therapy with Katia Verrault and Tripura Kashyap in India. Josefin is a professional member of ICPA-International Corrections and Prison Association.
Trainer, Program Director (Bay Area-Sacramento)
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. A yoga teacher since 2004, Chanda offers group Hatha and vinyasa yoga classes as well as individual yoga therapy sessions 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 evidence-based practices to heal trauma through mindful movement, breathing techniques, and meditation.
Trainer, Chapter Director (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.