Many view prison as a punishment. Others see it as a space to help people recover. For inmates, prison could be a variety of things, but most will acknowledge that it’s a highly stressful environment. A prison environment can increase stress levels, ultimately hindering their recovery.
Yoga can be a way to combat the stresses of the prison environment. In a new research study, when they participate in yoga programs, prisoners can alleviate paranoia and become more psychologically healthy.
The prison yoga program was for ten weeks, and 152 people participated. The majority of them were male. Participants were divided into two groups: one group participated in a weekly yoga class throughout the duration period of the study. Then, a second followed the same routine, switching out the yoga class with 90 minutes of physical exercise. Participants logged their thoughts and physical symptoms over ten weeks.
Adding physical exercise, yoga or otherwise, to the inmates’ daily routines “significantly reduced [their] levels of psychological distress.” But, adding yoga, particularly, into their daily routines also had other benefits. Yoga helped reduce symptoms of anxiety, paranoia, obsessive-compulsive behaviors, and somatization.
In the analysis of the study, yoga was identified as a viable method to assist in reintegrating an inmate into society following release. Due to its psychological benefits and benefits, a regular yoga routine could also decrease the chance of inmates becoming dependent on drugs after discharge and reduce the likelihood of recidivism.
It’s important to note that the research was also carried out in Sweden. Scandinavian prison systems enjoy a reputation for being among the most compassionate and modern. Although the positive effects of yoga on the psychological and physical health of people with mental illness have been thoroughly investigated and confirmed, external factors may be a factor that could have affected the study results.
Yet, this study provides an essential understanding of yoga’s effectiveness. It is not just a way to improve the health of people suffering from emotional distress, but also benefits the general well-being of society and helps in rehabilitating prisoners and helps them to be able to integrate back into the community.
Suppose you’re interested in helping to make yoga programs more widespread in prison systems. In that case, you can consider donating to one of the following organizations through either volunteering or by making a financial donation: