I felt depressed and angry at everything and everyone. I did not know that the mind is capable to change from negative to positive with just a few easy breathings and at the same time the body and spirit can become one with just a few easy poses. But after I started with this yoga course I felt the changes throughout my whole body. I have a whole new outlook on life. I thank you Prison Freedom Project for setting me free from my own mental prison.
– Graham, Brandvlei Max
The Prison Freedom Project has been running since 2010. Starting initially with one yoga and mindfulness class at the admissions centre of Pollsmoor Maximum Facility in Cape Town, it has expanded to include classes in the admissions center, male juvenile section and the women’s unit. We also give weekly classes at Malmesbury Medium Facility. Besides these volunteer-led yoga classes, inmates are able to enrol in a FREE six module Yoga and Mindfulness Correspondence Course. And if yoga truly inspires, they can then enrol in our six module Teachers Training Course.
We have over 435 inmates in several facilities around South Africa enrolled. Offenders, after experiencing the benefits of the practices for themselves, pass them on to other offenders who then write to us for the course. There are prisons that we have never been in or heard of, where men are getting up at 5am to find some space and quiet to practice yoga.
The Prison Freedom Project includes volunteer-lead yoga classes, distributing yoga manuals and course materials and mentoring inmates through letter writing. We also partner with the Human Kindness Foundation in the USA and distribute their book, “We are all Doing Time” to inmates all over Africa.
The project is changing peoples lives from the inside. True freedom is an inside job.
The Prison Freedom Project is kindly supported by the National Lotteries Commission. Visit their website to find out about other projects supported by the NLC.