Taking a leaf out of our Prime Minister Narendra Modi to make entire India and world aware of the Power of Yoga, PYNCC started a Yoga Campaign for the prison inmates to provide a new opening in their lives. Specific Yogic Kriyas were envisioned to provide various benefits including improved ability to override impulse, better mood in general, lesser depression and negative thoughts, and hence better staff/inmate relationships. Apart from making them self-dependant, a yoga teacher’s job also give them a social standing and a dignified life, providing better opportunities to social reintegration.
Following a mega launch at 1st World Yoga Day, entry in Limca Book of Records and wide coverage by various channels and print media, PYNCC has continued its pursuit of Yoga Campaign at all (10) Jails in Tihar. Subsequently Yoga Teachers’ Training Course (YTTC) was initiated to train prisoners (serving life sentences) as yoga teachers and send them to different prisons for training.
Additionally a year later, PYNCC have added two more jails of Ambala and Hissar in the campaign.
In the quest to attract maximum participation of the inmates in campaign, a practical approach was adopted in implementing this programme –
• conducting regular workshops
• demonstrations, study tours and research
• providing study material,
• holding motivational sessions and psychological counselling
• specific yogic kriyas for inner peace and positivity
The key activities include -
1. Daily morning yoga sessions in each of jail /ward etc.
2. Yoga Teachers’ Training Course (YTTC) as per the government norms
3. Shorter one and half month Yoga Teachers’ Training Course (200 hours)
4. Alongside a pilgrimage tour has been planned from 15th for the inmates with no family, friends etc.
5. Employing the YTTC trained teachers in respectable jobs upon release
6. Enhancing the skill sets with advanced courses for the potential teachers in yoga, meditation, naturopathy etc.
7. Various awards /rewards for the higher quality performance
8. Supporting the shining performers from sports and international competition perspectives
9. Various Decriminalization activities and programmes
10. Various activities for social and economic integration of inmates
The results so far have been encouraging with inmates from different social background and religious beliefs, are participating in regular yoga classes and teachers training with equal zeal. Since cultural dominance is a precursor, we as true Indians have vowed to leave no stone unturned in order to establish Indian culture and knowledge pool at the highest step for the world to follow. In line with the high endeavour being attempted by Government of India on the world platform to support yoga as the essence of life and mankind, we at PYNCC have undertaken to uphold the cause to the full extent
Yoga as a mindfulness practice is our proposed tool for reengaging prisoners with their bodies to restore the connection between mind, heart and body. By putting the men and women back in touch with their bodies, they begin to care more about themselves and understand the harm they have caused. We use a yoga practice to develop the whole person, increase sensitivity toward oneself and empathy for others.
When dealing with prison inmates one should be aware that in most cases the crime/crimes committed were due to distortions of the mind, inner stress, mental disharmony and unresolved tension. When there is imbalance in the relationship between the sympathetic and para-sympathetic nervous systems and incorrect hormonal distribution in the body, then any sort of behaviour can occur. Depending on whether an individual is sattwic, rajasic or tamasic in nature the hormonal balance varies and substances like adrenaline, noradrenaline and acetylcholine have a great role to play in the control of, or execution of ones physical and mental activities.
It is well known that these hormones can be balanced and regulated through yogic practices. The yoga practices discipline the physical and mental activities. When there is stability and control of mind and physical expressions, then one is less likely to commit a crime, compared to someone who has no control over their body, mind or emotions.
Our objective is to provide prisoners with a mindfulness tool to draw on their yoga practice when they’re not doing yoga. If they’re tangled in a confrontation on the yard, or upon release, or tempted to go back to using, they can draw on what they have learned from yoga for practical solutions. They can do it without actually having to do a yoga pose to get the value. That’s the transformational, rehabilitative value of yoga.
RUPANTARAN of Jail inmates by Yoga
Swami Ji has been spreading his knowledge of Yoga & Holistic Therapies by creating monthly training camps in India. Around thousands of people have been benefiting from these camps. One of his dreams has come true when on 21st June, 2015, under his supervision PYNCC conducted ‘World Yoga Day’ at Tihar Ashram. That day was declared as the ‘International Yoga Day’. PYNCC is proud to state that more than 10,450 inmates participated on ‘World Yoga Day’ and were awarded participation certificates. This achievement now features in ‘The Limca Book of Records’ as the biggest programme of its kind ever held in any jail in the world.
Again in June 2016, under his supervision PYNCC conducted second ‘World Yoga Day’ at Tihar Ashram even at bigger scale and with much enthusiasm to also mark the ending of their first successful year of continuous Yoga Programme at Tihar Jails. PYNCC is proud to state that more than xxxxxxx inmates participated this time and were awarded participation certificates. Additionally 108 inmates has successfully cleared the YTTC and were awarded certificates Feb 26th, 2016. Most of them who are released from Jail are willing to work with PYNCC under its flagship and contributed to WYD preparations 2016.
This YTTC programme in jails, which is the brain child of Yogrishi Swami Ashutosh Ji, will be known as ‘RUPANTARAN’. PYNCC inculcates traditional yoga forms to build character with a sound mind and spiritual orientation. After the course they would be awarded certificate as Yoga Instructor and later be employed by the institute itself. PYNCC takes the responsibility to provide a new ray of hope for them once they are out of Tihar jail and set an example in the society. It’ll be their duty and responsibility to carry this reformation work throughout the jails all over India and across the world.