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.
Globally renowned photographer Robert Sturman has been committed to and served this mission since the beginning, creating an archive of unforgettable images of prison yoga. Many who know of Prison Yoga Project were drawn to it by Roberts work in San Quentin. Robert is an unrelenting advocate for the Prison Yoga Projects mission and yoga in prison, worldwide. You can find him on his site or on Facebook.
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. The project stalled several times, but with a commitment from Translators without Borders and more than 20 volunteers on three continents, the draft manuscript was completed a project spanning two and a half years. It has since been edited and polished and is in production. *reach Maria-Paula here: http://ccare.stanford.edu/education/cct-directory#colombia.
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 their stages 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. The group has taken Prison Yoga Project on tour and introduced our mission to thousands of attentive listeners. Their work on behalf of the planet and for easing the plight of prisoners is inspiring. Leah has trained in traditional Ashtanga Yoga, mindfulness and yoga for youth and took PYP Training in San Francisco in 2015. She's taught in juvenile detention centers and prisons and believes in the power of mindfulness as a tool for restorative justice.
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.
Josefin lives in Sweden and Mumbai, India. Josefin took the Training in Amsterdam, September 2015 and guested at San Quentin in November. Using all PYP materials and methodology, Josefin started the PYP Sangha in Mumbai by hosting and teaching a PYP Training. Josefin is hosting our Special Training with James in Sweden this fall. She is a persistent advocate of our methodology for prisoners.
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.