Bengaluru , July 26 2021

Yoga to set the mind free, even in prison

Published in- Bangalore Mirror

July 26, 2021, Bengaluru

“Parappana Agrahara police personnel learn yoga to eliminate stress; also planned are skill-development courses for prisoners, undertrials “

Prisoners at Parappana Agrahara Central prison are learning to beat the stress. The Art of Living Foundation is offering yoga sessions to staffers to help them be stress free and to stay fit. The prison has also identified 450 prisoners including those who are under trial for skill development training sessions which will start this month.

The Parappana Agrahara that has over 600 staffers is now focusing on their mental and physical health. Alok Mohan DGP , Prisons & Correctional Services, Alok Mohan IPS started the initiative. The yoga sessions conducted by the Art of living Foundation, will be extended to all the prisoners once all the staff are covered. Each batch has 60 members and the course is conducted for six days inside the prison premises from 6:30 am to 8:30 am.

A senior official at the prisons said the first batch was done a week ago and sessions for the second batch have begun. “We have around 650 staffers, but around 50 cannot take up the course due to health issues. The remaining have been divided into batches. All of them seem to be excited about it and many who have finished the first batch plan to continue it on a daily basis at their homes,” he said.

He said those interested can conduct the course for prisoners on a daily basis in the future. “We are also making preparations for a skill development programme for which we have selected about 450 prisoners including undertrials. The training session will be conducted by organisations such as The Art of Living Foundation, RUDSET institute and SAN IT solutions who help the prisoners to shape their future once they are released from the prison,” he said.

The focus is on undertrials as they may be free soon and can benefit from the skills to make a living. “Our main intention is to prevent them from committing crimes again. We have organised beautician and tailoring courses for female prisoners and for male prisoners, sessions to train as assistant electrician, hair stylist and plumbers. We also have entrepreneurship courses for everyone and photography and videography courses. Due to the pandemic, many are getting involved in petty crimes. This programme will help them make an honest living,” he said.

“All of the staffers seem to be excited about the classes and many who have finished the first batch plan to continue it on a daily basis at their homes”

A jail warden who took the yoga course said she joined last year and work had become stressful due to the pandemic. She said the one-week course helped her relax. “I used to get angry in a snap at work, yoga and meditation has helped me. In the initial days of the course, it was difficult for me to concentrate to perform certain asanas but over a period, I have learnt how to control my mind and I feel peaceful. Every afternoon, I find some time from work and meditate for a while,” she said.

Another officer said that the yoga sessions have brought the staff together and made them realise the importance of health and good eating habits. “We hope the prisoners will change their lifestyle through this and reform themselves. The skill development course which we are planning should help them change their mindset once they are released from prison,” he said.