Count Me In Yoga Project

Yoga was a very key component to my healing while in prison and also now.

When in prison we were instructed in Hatha Yoga and afterwards the teacher would sit and discuss with us certain topics that were important to us. It was there on the yoga mat where I made my prayer to wake up form the prison life and world of crime. This is our vision and mission for youth incarcerated.

Where are our future criminals coming from? Teen centers are the place where it all starts and it is the same place where it can Stop. The centers can be a place where innocent kids end up hardened criminals.

For years now I have worked in the prison system in a ministerial capacity. Small meditation groups and talk therapy. This model worked well for years but it was more tailored for older adults and not our youth. But now we are moving in a totally different direction. Our main focus will be Gender and Trauma.

George Town Law Review this year the  published a report concerning the benefits of yoga for young minority females incarcerated

See article:  https://www.law.georgetown.edu/news/press-releases/yoga-helps-at-risk-girls.cfm

We will be offering a somatic based yoga program for youth (girls) that will assist in releasing long held trauma in their bodies and minds.

“Somatic interventions are most needed for youth in our juvenile justice system, who have experienced disproportionately high rates of severe or chronic trauma. According to the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), at least 75% of youth in juvenile justice system have experienced traumatic victimization. While few juvenile justice facilities currently provide trauma informed somatic programs, those facilities have shown encouraging results: improved mood self regulation skills, as wells fewer physical altercations, health complaints, and requests for medicine”.

Our initial startup project will begin in Tampa, Florida. We are at the present moment in affiliation with at least four yoga founders and organizations that offer yoga in prisons. This very important introduction into the prison system of Florida is the key to our success. we will be volunteering our services until we are confident to initiate our brand of yoga for the incarcerated youth of Florida.

The basic format will be 1 hour of gentle yoga and then a small (meditation/talk) explanation of some aspect of yoga and how it relates to life. This basic program will accomplish these very important things.

1. Healing from sexual violence and promote the development of girls strengths and leadership; and help foster healthy relationships.

2. Research is showing that somatic interventions that include three core components-yoga poses, regulated and focused breathing and meditation-mindfulness can improve resilience and help youth learn coping mechanisms self- regulation skill, and improve self esteem and increase concentration.

We are looking for partners who see this vision. To learn more please send an email to kenny@thissacredspace.org