A belated Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you. Summer has been glorious, and we at Yoga Education in Prisons Trust have had a wonderful holiday season. This newsletter covers our work from September to February.
In our prominent news we have elected a new Chairperson to replace Heather Cunningham. We are pleased to announce that Gyananidhi (Jane Allan), one of our long time prison yoga teachers has accepted the role. We had our first official meeting on 30 January and myself, Yogeshwaran and Leigh are excited to be working more closely with her.
Our research project has been launched. Victoria University student Jonathan Muirhead has begun what YEPT hopes will become a 3-4 year Masters thesis into the effects of yoga on the incarcerated. This research may prove to be the most comprehensive international research yet. The challenging part will be getting the researcher into prisons to work with our clients but we plan to work hard alongside the University to make our vision a reality. With that we would also like to thank our dear sponsors and supporters We’ar and Kara Leah of The Yoga Lunchbox for their continued financial support without which such visions would not become actions. Kara-Leah donates $1 from each of her print books Forty Days of Yoga and The No-More-Excuses Guide to Yoga plus 5% of her online sales of the books.
In closing once again we offer you Seasons Greetings and hope you and yours have had an equally relaxing and inspirational summer as we at YEPT have enjoyed.
On behalf of Yoga in Prisons Trust
Leigh Bradbury Taylor - Treasurer/Secretary YEPT.
A letter from Adhyatma
I am currently working on restructuring the Trust. My vision is to include more teachers from different traditions. Ive been working closely with John Sinclair, a Hot Yoga teacher based in Auckland, who has taken on a role of fundraising advisor. I have also started a conversation with prison yoga teachers in Wellington with the aim that by strengthening ties so that teachers can work together supporting each other and where possible securing funds to financially help teachers who need it.
By collaborating with John and other experienced prison yoga teachers and therapists the aim is to design a professional development program specific to people who are interested in starting or already working with at risk communities such as prisoners, drug and alcohol abusers, and other PTSD groups. This is another large project, but one that we think would be welcomed by teachers and provide much needed resources and support for them.
We are presently working towards increasing our teacher presence in prisons. You will appreciate that the process of starting a prison yoga class is unlike starting a normal community yoga class. Working with Corrections, being formally inducted into each new unit you start can take considerable time. Our volunteers do their utmost to connect with Corrections and keep the administrative flow happening, but this all takes time and patience. We have many strong leads and it is our aim to get as many teachers teaching inside as we can in 2015. I wish to extend a deep sincere appreciation to my backbone team Leigh, Yogeshwaran and Gyanidhi for over the years of toil you have held me through sickness and despair yet at the same time together we have celebrated the joy of some small successes and seen the light being shone in areas of darkness ....and in this light we continue to grow and share the yogic tools of self empowerment. Without you I would have layen down and not gotten back up. So thankyou.