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Yoga in Prison

Every day we can choose to take new paths, to give ourselves new possibilities, and to put our experience and professionalism at the service of those who need it most.
For example, Claudia is a trauma therapeutic yoga teacher we met when she was organizing a festival, and in recent months we have found ourselves engaged in a special project with which she has brought yoga into prison.
Claudia lives in Milan, right next to San Vittore Prison, where for a few months she brought yoga as an effective tool to regulate the nervous system of the inmates who often had experienced serious traumas.

“Yoga is a discipline that has a very positive effect on one’s ability to increase the tolerance window of one’s nervous system, and numerous clinical studies show its effectiveness for posttraumatic recovery. In this sense it is therefore a true pathway to personal empowerment and, when offered to the widest possible number of people, has the power to create a positive impact on society at large.”
[Claudia Buzzetti]

Claudia brought this initiative voluntarily, but she would like to follow up on this offering through the Shreem ETS Association of which she is president. To do so, she has organized a fundraiser and for this purpose, she has activated a campaign on GoFundMe-Campaign with which she has begun to collect donations for her project.

Io Donna, an Italian Newspaper recounting the initiative of Claudia and other teachers who use yoga to help people in need, talks about data from the Ministry of Health that show that 40 percent of prisoners suffer from mental disorders, caused by forms of substance addiction, neurotic problems, and adjustment.

Some studies highlight how yoga can be an excellent response to traumatic situations such as those experienced by the sick, prisoners, and in general, all those who are in a condition of marginality.

Claudia worked with inmates from ages 19 to 25 inside San Vittore prison in Milan (ITALY) and was often thanked for what she offered these young people. In addition to yoga classes, she told us that she created a small archive of the practices she left weekly for the boys to practice between meetings as if they were “homework assignments” also accompanied by a rudimentary tracker where they could report the effect of the sequence left for them each week.

“It’s amazing to see what comes back to me and the concrete effect these practices have on kids.”
[Claudia Buzzetti]

Claudia, during her activities for yoga in prison, integrated tools from classical yoga with somatic and embodiment practices designed to help practitioners develop mindfulness in the body and find strategies for change.

It seems that her activity has been the most popular and in a short time has grown from one to two groups, with a list of people waiting to be able to practice with her. We are very happy with these results and are grateful that she has involved us. Our part in comparison to her work is small because we from ReYoga got involved by offering her our mats to use during the classes, but we are really happy to know that they served a social and collective purpose for her.

Together with Claudia, there was then Teresa Sebastiani (head of the medical area of the young adults’ department and former Doctors Without Borders) who was constantly supervising and comparing herself with Claudia on this path, and her husband Ruggero Giuliani, Health Director of the prison and vice-president of Doctors Without Borders.
To all of them, we want to say a big thank you, and to our community, we ask you to help us spread this initiative by sharing it to let most people know how yoga can be an important tool to overcome difficulties.


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