Prison yoga. It’s not so new. Heck, it ares one of the subplots of the new women’s prison-centered Netflix series Orange is the New Black. (You did not have to watch all 13 episodes of the season over the weekend to satisfy inmate ‘Yoga’ Jones, however you could have, and there’s absolutely absolutely nothing wrong with that. Nope, nothing at all.) But as researches on yoga are rapidly increasing so are the findings that the practice and reflection are beneficial for the body and the mind for everybody. Yes, that include jail prisoners.

This certain research study, reported in the Journal of Psychiatric Study, took place in a women’s jail and a young wrongdoer organization in the West Midlands region of England. It was performed by analysts from the Departments of Experimental Psychology and Psychiatry at Oxford University, supported by the Jail Phoenix Trust, an Oxford-based charity that provides yoga classes in prisons. Studying the results of yoga on mood, anxiety and behavior, the researchers discovered favorable outcomes.

‘We found that the group that did the yoga course revealed an enhancement in positive state of mind, a reduction in anxiety and higher precision in a computer test of impulsivity and attention,’ say Dr Amy Bilderbeck and Dr Miguel Farias, who led the study at the Departments of Experimental Psychology and Psychiatry at Oxford University. ‘The recommendation is that yoga is practical for these prisoners.’

Inmates of differing ages were randomly designated to 90 minute weekly yoga classes for 10 weeks, or to a control group. Each inmate took part in basic psychology questionnaires (before and after the classes for the yoga group) that measured ‘mood, stress, impulsivity and mental well-being.’ There was also a computer test that measured attention and behavioral feedbacks to visual hints. The results revealed that the yoga group had less anxiety, much better moods and did much better at managing spontaneous habits than the control group.

Bilderbeck is fast to advise that yoga isn’t indicated to replace, however to supplement:

‘We are not stating that arranging a weekly yoga session in a prison is going to unexpectedly turn jails into calm and serene places, stop all hostility and decrease reoffending rates,’ study researcher Dr. Amy Bilderbeck, of Oxford University, stated in a statement. ‘We are not saying that yoga will certainly replace basic treatment of mental health conditions in prison. However exactly what we do see are indications that this fairly low-cost, basic option could’ve several benefits for prisoners’ wellness and potentially aid in managing the burden of mental health problems in prisons.’

Also, it’s means more affordable than meds and other mental wellness interventions:

Dr Bilderbeck adds: ‘This was only an initial research study, however absolutely nothing has been done like this before. Offering yoga sessions in prisons is cheap, much more affordable than other mental wellness interventions. If yoga has any impact on attending to mental illness in jails, it could save significant quantities of public cash.’

While this is terrific information for tax payers and the prison personnel who need to handle rage and aggression, let us not forget the prisoners who’ve to serve their time within the boundaries of cell walls, physically, psychologically and emotionally. Instead of picking up bad practices in jail only to be launched back into society more ill-equipped than when they left, yoga can be one more device these folks can make use of to help make peace within the prison and possibly within themselves. This could mean less repeat culprits, less return sees and even more awareness.

Sam Settle, director of the Prison Phoenix Trust, states: ‘Practically half of grownup prisoners go back to prison within a year, having created more victims of criminal offense, so discovering methods to offset the destructive impacts of jail life is necessary for us as a society. This research confirms exactly what prisoners have actually been regularly telling the Jail Phoenix Trust for 25 years: yoga and reflection help them feel much better, make much better choices and develop the capability to believe prior to acting – all essential in leading favorable, crime-free lives when back in the neighborhood.’

[Science Daily]