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INFOGRAPHIC: Yoga Behind Bars

100-PO008 (P 10/01/2016)


(Rachel Friederich , DOC Communications)

Text Version

What is Yoga Behind Bars? Yoga Behind Bars is a local non-profit organization in which professional yoga instructors volunteer to teach inmates yoga in jails, prisons, and detention centers in Washington state, including in four state Department of Corrections prisons.

The organization says yoga can help inmates “heal and prepare for healthy fulfilling lives once they finish their sentences.”


Definition 1: a Hindu thesistic philosophy teaching the suppression of all activity of the body, mind and will in order that the self may realize its distinction from them and attain liberation

Definition 2: a system of exercises for attaining bodily or mental control and well-being

Average Inmate Class Attendance

The infographic contains a bar chart illustrating the average Yoga Behind Bars class attendance at each facility.

  • Monroe Correctional Complex, Monroe – Washington State Reformatory – 18
  • Stafford Creek Corrections Center, Aberdeen – 15
  • Federal Detention Center, SeaTac – 15
  • King County Correctional Facility, Seattle – 12
  • Clallam Bay Corrections Center, Clallam Bay – 10
  • Washington Corrections Center for Women, Gig Harbor – 9
  • Monroe Correctional Complex, Monroe – Intensive Management Unit - 8
  • Washington Corrections Center for Women, Gig Harbor – TEC-R Unit – 6
  • Monroe Correctional Complex MSU – 5

Source: Yoga Behind Bars

Effects of Yoga In Prison

Yoga Can Make Incarcerated Men Better Fathers:

  • A 2014 Washington State University study of fathers in jail participated in yoga classes found that yoga improves inmates’ physical emotional and spiritual states. Incarcerated fathers who participated in yoga reported feeling more resilient and had a renewed desire to respond to their child’s needs.

Source: California Journal of Health Promotion

Peaceful Environment:
  • A recent Oxford University study of prisons in the United Kingdom found that yoga improved behavior and reduced stress levels among inmates.

Source: Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine

  1. Yoga Behind Bars data from January 2016.
  2. Crawford, Jennifer et. al. “Preliminary Evidence for Infusing Mindfulness, Yoga and Parenting Education Training on the Resilience-building Capacity for Incarcerated Parents,” in “The California Journal of Health Promotion,” 2015, volume 12 issue 2
  3. Amy Biderbeck, et. al. “Preliminary Evidence Yoga Improves Mood, Decreases Stress in a Sample of U.K. Prisoners” in “Evidence in Alternative Medicine,” 2015.