Our Programs


We Train Yoga Teachers to Teach in Prison

More Trainings mean more teachers going into more prisons. We’re accelerating the schedule to conduct monthly Trainings in large, prison-intensive North American cities. We’ve trained in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington DC, San Francisco, Baltimore, San Diego, Sacramento, Denver, Tucson, and Tulsa. Several more than once. At our present capacity we can only add 300 to 350 new teachers a year, which does not meet the current demand. Working with local teachers in local cities is the ideal way to build new chapters. We provide partial scholarships to our local Trainings to help motivated students who can’t afford to attend – often needing to travel with costs of lodging and meals.  We receive requests for Training from locations we can’t possibly reach, many in this country and many abroad.

  • teaching classes in prisons, jails and other detention and rehabilitation facilities.
  • helping prisons and jails start programs by providing advice, training materials, yoga mats and class curriculum.

We Support Local Chapters in Prison Intensive Cities

We teach local teachers to work with local prisoners in local prisons. Teachers who take our Training usually bond together and form Chapters. Their work in the Chapter influences the emotional wellbeing or prisoners, and since 93% of all prisoners are eventually released, their work has an impact on neighborhood safety.  It is through the Chapters that the real work of Prison Yoga Project is accomplished. Each Chapter has a Coordinator who functions as executive, organizer, fundraiser and counselor. The Coordinator does the demanding work of initiating and developing relationships with prison personnel, initiating new classes. He or she schedules and manages all chapter teaching activity in local facilities, prisons, jails, community rehab and reentry programs, arranging back-up teachers so no classes are ever missed.

The Coordinator works tirelessly with prisons to create opportunities for teachers – cheerful persistence is crucial to success. The Coordinator also works with the yoga community to arrange fundraising – money and resources – to help those volunteers for whom this works constitutes a financial hardship. A dedicated Coordinator is the key to a strong Chapter. A strong Chapter means success with the mission. No single function is more crucial. You can help support Coordinators, and teachers and help us develop systems and materials that will maintain the professionally consistent effort required by prisons.

  • developing research to measure the effectiveness of our work, to replicate studies already done showing reduction of rates of re-offense.
  • establishing programs to support released prisoners in their lives outside.
  • training current and former prisoners to become Certified yoga teachers.

We Design and Produce Instructional Materials, for Teachers, Prisoners, Governmental Agencies and the Public, in Video, Audio and Print.

Printing and shipping our instruction manual for prisoners constitutes a major program here at PYP. Designed for use in a prisoner’s cell, it supports beginners and established students in their practices. We’ve distributed more than 13,000 copies of Yoga, A Path for Healing and Recovery, providing them to prisoners free of charge upon request. We also provide books to teachers and institutions at bulk rates for their use in classes. We’ve shipped this slender volume into virtually every prison in the United States and in many foreign countries, both to individuals and government agencies.  Recently, a work group, supplanted by the generous efforts of Translators Without Borders (a non-profit organization providing translation services to important social services) have completed the initial translation of our book into Spanish.

We recently completed filming of our entire twelve hour Certified Training program which, when edited and finished, will give us a tool to reach interested teachers in far-flung locations with the Training they need,  to continue their work in prisons and with other trauma-impacted communities and the underserved. We have a program for producing asana practices on DVD, our initial release has been distributed both to prison wardens in 65 American prisons and several hundred individuals.

We Take our Innovative Programs into Every Corner of This Country and Upon Request, to Countries Abroad. 

We’ve traveled to Norway, the Netherlands, India and Guatemala to advise and collaborate with prison officials to introduce programs and train local teachers in our methodology. At the request of the US State Department we have received officials of the Mexican prison system in San Quentin, acquainting them with our innovative programs. We have received film crews from various foreign agencies, including Belgium.

We Advise Prisons, Governmental Agencies, Private Entities and/or Individuals about Establishing Yoga Initiatives  

We Conduct Fundraising Campaigns to Generate the Resources Necessary to Grow the Mission.