Instructing Yoga While Incarcerated by John Gianoli

Instructing Yoga While Incarcerated
by John Gianoli
copyright 2016

I enjoy yoga; and since being incarcerated, I do it every day in one form or another. Fortunately for me, I also teach the yoga class Monday through Friday. In teaching the yoga class in prison, I am afforded the unique opportunity to touch the lives of fellow inmates. Whenever they tell me of the benefits that they get from yoga class, I just light up inside.

Some of my students have shared the following:
“I was a very angry man when I came to prison. John’s yoga class is the high point of my day. When I twist and breathe under his direction, I let go of tension that I did not realize was even there. After yoga, I have the ability to get along with others when I might otherwise snap.”

“My knees were shot before yoga. Since I have strengthened the muscles around my knee-joint and made them more limber, I can now walk distances that I could never do before.”

I used to get injured every time I played racquetball. I had to quit. Since taking yoga, I can now play and not worry about backaches.”

“Before doing yoga class, I could never get to sleep on the hard mattress in my cell. Now with my body more limber, I sleeps most nights with no problem.”

“In yoga class with John, I enter a zone like no other in this prison. He plays music and dims the lights. We focus on our breath and our bodies become an instrument of meditation. I cease to be in prison and my spirit is free; that escape is priceless.”

“Mentally, I am much sharper after yoga. I count my breaths and watch my balance. I am now aware of how I treat my body.”

Comments like these keep me teaching the class! When I can to prison, I started to run. If I ran three miles or more, I was devastated with knee and ankle pain. After doing yoga for a year, I started running again, at the age 56. I am now running more than 20 miles every Saturday morning, with no soreness. I have no doubt that I can run this far now because of my yoga practice. The yoga class has been a blessing for me and I hope that it continues to bless those that I can touch with this wonderful discipline.


2 thoughts on “Instructing Yoga While Incarcerated by John Gianoli”

  1. That is an incredibly uplifting article and expression of the human soul and what it is capable of accomplishing!

    We need more stories of such inspiration in our world today!


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