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Hurt people, hurt people. Yoga heals.
As a graduate student interning in Sierra Leone, West Africa, these truths became radically evident when I had the remarkable opportunity to share yoga with former child combatants back in 2010. After seeing and hearing the way that yoga landed in the hearts and bodies of young adults who had lived through the compounded trauma of being disadvantaged as a child and then being taken advantage of and wrapped up into violence, I knew I'd never stop aiming to offer yoga as a form of trauma-transformation to folks who have been cast out or dehumanized by society in the way that being labeled a criminal can cause. The unimaginable and devastating way that Covid impacted those within the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation institutions is just one more indicator of the overwhelming need for trauma-informed practices to be fully available to those incarcerated here in Marin.
After being trained to offer trauma-informed yoga and yoga to at-risk youth through the Prison Yoga Project, I have been going in as a yoga teacher to the Marin County Juvenile Hall, Marin County Jail and San Quentin State Prison since 2019. Sharing yoga with folks who have been impacted by the criminal (in)justice system in our society truly feels like the most impactful way I can share the skills I've learned as an E-RYT yoga instructor and trauma-researcher. In order to make this offering sustainable, I am finally leaning into the reality that I deserve to get paid just as much as I would if I were teaching yoga to a group of paying yoga students inside a yoga studio. I know there are people who believe in this as much as I do, and who are willing to invest in this type of offering. My Patreon page is my first step on that path.