Healing: from kids to women’s prison

March 19, 2017
Kids Yoga
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Since teaching my first class in 2014 I’ve since gained a really wide and varied mix of experience in yoga studios throughout Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

I’ve facilitated yoga classes for the elderly in private & group classes. I’ve also taught children in daycare centres and children with special needs in schools. I love them all.

After a brief visit to the USA, I became inspired when I stumbled upon a prison programme in the USA founded by James Fox at San Quentin State prison. He’s been teaching mindfulness and practice to prisoners since 2002. James’ ground-breaking work with prisoners has led to international acclaim in the yoga community – and also in the US prison community.

On my return to Australia, I decided to call some local prisons and ask if they: A) Had yoga in their centre

B) Wanted me to facilitate my program in their facility.

I knew it was a long shot, but after being in the US, I knew I just wanted to some how be involved in a program such as the one that I came across in the States.

I got a call back four days later from the Women’s Correctional Centre in Brisbane, a maximum security prison that houses 360 women. They asked if they could meet with me.

After going through a grueling security checks I was invited into the centre to meet with the Activities Manager to discuss facilitating the Bend and Stretch program in their centre.

To say I was nervous is an understatement.

The energy in a place like that is very different to what most of us have ever experienced.

This is where my yoga journey took an amazing turn.

I facilitated my yoga and mindfulness program in the women’s prison weekly for 16 months.

As exhausting and mentally challenging it was, it was definitely one of the most rewarding things I have ever done in my life.

I saw myself in some of these women.

It’s estimated that around 80 per cent of women who are incarcerated have been involved with domestic violence – this struck a deep, emotional cord with me.

My program has now finished due to funding, but I am beyond grateful that I had the experience. I gained invaluable knowledge while working closely with these women whom I grew very attached to.

Their heartache became mine.

My program is now facilitated in the juvenile prison in Brisbane weekly, also in the Immigrant detention centre.

My experience, particularly with the women in Wacol, has provided me with a true understanding first hand of the benefits that a yoga practice brings to people who have found themselves in unfortunate circumstances.

I loved sharing my knowledge of yoga with these people.

I love seeing the difference that it made to not just their week – but also their lives as they dealt with emotional and psychological issues.

And of course, in turn, it was the biggest healing to my own emotional issues which I was still battling with whilst teaching in a place like prison.

Any queries, please drop me aline, would love to engage with you.

Love and Light Kxx


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