“There are no throwaway people.”
– Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati
Since January 2008, it’s been Kashi Atlanta’s honor to provide yoga instruction and share the teachings of our lineage of yoga to groups of 4-12 incarcerated women participating in STOP (Substance Abuse Treatment Offenders Program) at the DeKalb County Jail in nearby Decatur.
Collaborating with the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office, Jail Services Division, this 90‐day program is offered to incarcerated substance abuse offenders. The program is intended to reduce recidivism by breaking the cycle of substance abuse, crime and incarceration. In addition, it is intended to educate participants on the complex social, personal and family needs which have interfered with their ability to live healthy and constructive lives outside of the criminal justice system. Nearly 200 women have participated in this program since its inception.
And, due to its success thus far, the program is growing! As part of the Jail’s Pilot Program, yoga has expanded with two classes for the general population of female inmates and a new class now being offered for the men in the STOP program, all on Saturday mornings.
As part of the yoga classes, the teachers use Ma Jaya Sati Bhagavati’s book, The 11 Karmic Spaces, to provide tools and insights for the students. This book has become the foundation for the jail yoga classes and copies of the book are made available to the inmates.
Want to help?
Donate to the book fund and make this invaluable tool available to our Jail Yogis.
Donate used books (soft cover only) and magazines, especially yoga related content. Stimulating reading materials that support our Jail Yoga participants in between classes is very much in demand. Please deliver these materials to the front desk at the ashram.
Why we teach?
Perhaps it seems paradoxical to bring yoga to those that are incarcerated. In our view, it makes perfect sense: yoga engenders a depth of radical self-awareness in those who practice it whether inside or outside of a jail setting.
Women in the Yoga Program leverage their experience of self-awareness in Kashi Atlanta’s yoga classes in order to examine their deep-seated patterns of social, personal and family challenges.
These patterns often interfere with their ability to lead a healthy and constructive life outside of the criminal justice system.
We are deeply committed to the transformation of our participants’ lives. What is also interesting is observing how the program touches the lives of the yoga teachers who offer the yoga classes at the jail week in and week out– some of whom have experienced substance abuse or incarceration themselves.