Sarah Mulcahy, Chair of HBF Distributions Committee with Linda Trubridge from the Yoga Education in Prisons Trust.
Among the 57 charities to receive a grant in this year’s funding round is the Yoga Education in Prisons Trust, which received a $3,000 grant to support three tutors delivering yoga, meditation and mindfulness programmes at Mangaroa Prison.
Tutor Linda Trubridge has been teaching yoga voluntarily at Mangaroa for the past ten years and describes it as a “privilege” to be able to pass on her gift.
“People think of yoga as a purely physical activity. But yoga is a tool to bring about physical, mental, spiritual and behavioural change.”
As the positive benefits of yoga and meditation are increasingly recognised by both inmates and staff, the demand for classes and tutors has grown.
“Yoga works in a way that nothing else does,” says Linda. “The wardens report that the guys are peaceful and calm after a yoga session. During the course of a class there will be a change, a mellowness of atmosphere, right through to the meditation at the end. The men will be really tranquil, focused and at peace with themselves.”
Linda says learning yoga and meditation techniques helps inmates develop discipline and self-control to cope with the challenges of living in a prison environment and back in the community following their release.
“We can’t just lock people away and ignore them,” she adds. “We need to help them put the pieces back together and rebuild a life so they can contribute back to society.”