Going inside: yoga and mindfulness in prison

In this prison in South Africa, inmates are encouraged to explore meditation and yoga to help them deal with their problems

True freedom is an inside job, say those behind the Prison Freedom Project in South Africa. Beginning with a single yoga and mindfulness class at the Pollsmoor Maximum Security Facility in Cape Town, it now runs classes in the admissions centre, male juvenile section, and the women’s unit.

Inmates meditating at a prison in South Africa. Image: Lee-Ann Olwage

More than 350 inmates are currently enrolled, and organisers say the word is spreading: “There are prisons that we have never been in or heard of, where men are getting up at 5am to find some space and quiet to practise yoga.”


This article is part of a special focus on prisons, which also features in Positive News magazine. Give stories not stuff this Christmas and inspire a friend with a gift subscription to Positive News magazine