Temples In Prison

Temples In Prison

After completing my first yoga training in 2005, I was intimidated to teach. The LA yoga market was saturated with young hot-shot teachers trying to make it onto schedules and sub lists all over town. After being relegated to the eternal sub list and experiencing a series of deaths, I became jaded with the yoga scene. I decided it was time for a fresh start and moved to Austin, TX.

In 2013, I began teaching yoga to an inmate population of men who had been incarcerated for committing serious crimes often linked to drug and alcohol addiction. They were visibly agitated, unable to rest in stillness or even keep their eyes closed. Their bodies were another sort of prison. Sitting on their mats twitching and jumpy, each man was searching for change within himself, and yoga had given me the tools to help them.

After our first class together, one of the students walked up to me and said  “I don’t deserve to feel this good.” The other inmates shared his sentiment. I explained to them that “Namaste” means “the divinity in me recognizes the divinity in you,” and I repeated it over and over looking into each man’s eyes. The practice of yoga cultivates presence. Through focused breath and body awareness these men were able to create space from their haunting past and discouraging future. They began to experience the light within themselves and reflect it back to me, allowing me to see my own light in a new way.

By the end of our time together, my new friends were able to sit peacefully in meditation. It was a profound transformation to behold. They thanked me and told me that I changed their lives. The truth is, they changed mine. Everyone is in a prison of one form or another. Witnessing and facilitating these men’s transformation, as well as my own, made me realize I wanted to teach public classes again. I put myself in a position to be given the opportunity to teach at Practice Yoga Austin, where I am currently teaching 5 classes to a large group of regular students. Ive also been given the honor of co-leading the PYA 200 Hour Summer Teacher Training Intensive with Laura Joy in July. Bringing real and positive change to people’s lives is the most rewarding thing you can do. Give yourself the gift of teaching yoga and share it with the world. 





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