- Founder and Director
James Fox M.A. is the founder and director of the Prison Yoga Project (PYP), an organization dedicated to establishing yoga and mindfulness programs in prisons and rehabilitation centers worldwide. James has been teaching yoga and meditation to prisoners at San Quentin Prison since 2002. He still teaches two classes and manages four classes and six teachers there. Hes taught and consulted in prisons and jails in many states. His book, Yoga a Path for Healing and Recovery, published in January 2010, has been requested by and sent to over 16,000 prisoners free of charge.
James provides trauma-informed, mindfulness-based teacher trainings, in both the US and internationally, for those interested in bringing teaching the psycho-physiological benefits of yoga and meditation, karma yoga, into prisons, jails, rehabilitation and reentry facilities, serving the incarcerated and other at-risk and underserved communities. James has trained over 1,500 teachers resulting in the replication of Prison Yoga Projects methodology in more than 24 states, Canada, India, Mexico, Norway, Sweden, Germany and The Netherlands. In 2010 James developed a special program for incarcerated military veterans that employs innovative uses of yoga to address mental health issues related to active duty, including PTSD. James is one of several contributors to Best Yoga Practices for Veterans, due to be published by the Yoga Service Council in the fall of 2016.
It all began in 2002 when, after receiving his teaching certification, James set out to bring the benefits of yoga and meditation to at-risk communities, including the incarcerated. In the beginning James proposed, developed and led programs for at-risk youth in juvenile detention in both an inner-city community program and at a residential treatment facility. This experience led to his development of the yoga curriculum for the Peacebuilders Initiative, an annual weeklong community leadership intensive for Chicago teenagers focusing on conflict resolution and peacemaking skills. Shortly thereafter he was asked to bring a yoga program into San Quentin.
In time, James became a Founder and Program Director of the Insight Prison Project, a leading restorative justice agency involved in prisoner rehabilitation. James took on several years of experience as a facilitator of victim/offender education, violence prevention and emotional literacy classes for prisoners which informed his work with prisoners and the eventual founding of Prison Yoga Project. In 2008 and 2009 he was awarded U.S. State Department Grants to advise and train governmental and non-governmental personnel involved in prisoner and ex-gang member rehabilitation programs in Guatemala and El Salvador.
James is on the faculty of Loyola Marymount Universitys Yoga, Mindfulness and Social Change Certification Program in Los Angeles, and has served as advisor to the National Institutes of Health-sponsored Chicago Urban Mindfulness Program. In 2015, Yoga Journals 40th Anniversary Issue honored James with a Karma Yoga Award. He has extensive training in various yoga and meditation disciplines and is specially trained in applying yoga practices for addiction recovery and trauma related issues.
- Director, Development and Communications
JC joined with James in the early days of Prison Yoga Project (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. After a brief and tumultuous start in New York advertising, JC founded and operated two different regional advertising agencies with a deep roster of pro bono clients. Then followed a return trip to New York and six years as Exec. VP GM of Golden West Television Productions and COO of Action Media Group, national TV time sales and program syndication company, followed by a lengthy stint as an independent program syndicator. JC, who now lives with his family and works from his home in Oregon, is a long-time meditator and has a nascent yoga practice.
- Director, Women Prisoner Initiatives
Kath's principal interest is in bringing gender-informed, trauma-sensitive yoga practices to the incarcerated population. She has been teaching yoga and mindfulness in prisons since 2010. Starting from one weekly class, she has expanded prison yoga programs in Maryland to multiple weekly classes for men and women at state and federal facilities. In doing so, she has fostered a community of prison yoga teachers to whom she provides ongoing support and training.
Recognizing the need for materials that acknowledged the specific needs of the female prisoner, Kath wrote A Woman's Practice: Healing from the Heart, an accessible guide to the healing benefits of yoga for women in all bodies. More than 1,000 copies of her book have been sent free of charge to prisoners in the United States and overseas.
Continually looking for ways to expand the access to yoga in prisons, Kath has developed and implemented a pioneering Yoga Alliance registered 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training for women prisoners, in collaboration with The Yoga Center of Columbia, MD. Kath leads trainings at Omega Institute and regional yoga studios to prepare interested yoga teachers for work in correctional facilities. Drawing from her own experience she offers insight and guidance to some of the issues encountered when teaching across a gender divide in prisons. Her work has been recognized by Yoga Journal, who named her Karma Yoga honoree in 2015 and 2016.
- Assistant to the Director
Adele Barbato is an anthropologist, non-profit consultant, and certified yoga instructor. Adele holds a bachelor's degree in anthropology, and dual master's degrees in world history and museum studies, with an interest in the psychology of migration and place identity. She is passionate about advocating for migration as a human right and supporting those who've been traumatized as a result of movement and displacement. Adele is honored to aid the work of the Prison Yoga Project as Assistant to the Director in addition to her roles as Founder of the The WAiF Project, and Director of Community Engagement for MarinArts.org. She is also a RYT200 certified yoga instructor, and teaches yoga and mindfulness-based therapeutic practices at the Neural Wellness Clinic in Emeryville, CA to those recovering from stroke and other neurological damage.
- Deputy Development Director
Marialidia Marcotulli is a social entrepreneur, technology advocate, innovator, curator, art collector, and Ph.D. candidate. Born in Rome, Italy and raised in Venezuela, she comes from a long heritage of artistic expression and cultural diversity. She has founded several art and technology companies and is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Ecopsychology, with a focus on the human relationship with water. She is an advisor to the Earth Charter Initiative in San José, Costa Rica and a board member of the KWMR Community Radio and Marinarts.org, along with mentoring young professionals and artists.