California State Prison, Solano (SOL) is in its third year of offering yoga to inmates.
Kim Young, SOL associate warden of the prison, told the Daily Republic newspaper that when she broached the subject to other prison officials about having yoga classes, “they thought I’d lost my mind.”
The program, along with several others, was introduced in an effort to “think outside the box” during the budget crisis, she said.
The program is successful in part to the voluntary help of Zack Pasillas, co-founder of the Yoga Seed Collective in Sacramento.
The aim of the yoga classes is to reduce the stress of incarceration. Yoga is offered at other CDCR institutions, including Folsom State Prison.
An Oxford University study suggested that yoga can improve the behavior of inmates.
“Prisoners after a 10-week yoga course reported improved mood, reduced stress and were better at a task related to behavior control than those who continued in their normal prison routine,” according to an article by Oxford.