Helping prisoners heal through yoga

Juliet Slogrove is hosting a yoga class in Bucklands Beach on December 2 to raise funds for the Yoga Education in Prisons Trust. Times photo: Wayne Martin

Juliet Slogrove has always believed in the healing power of yoga.

Now the Bucklands Beach local is taking that healing power to the Auckland Women’s Prison.

Juliet took on the challenge four months ago when she signed up to teach yoga in the Mums and Babies Unit at the prison, and says it is the most challenging and rewarding experience.

“Our space is cold and noisy and, at times, the babies are noisy too.  As you can imagine, my pupils face unique challenges. Their situation is very stressful and most of them carry heavy burdens,” she says.

“Every class is different, I never know what to expect. It is wonderful to bring the healing power of yoga to them, to help them cope with their day-to-day issues but also, hopefully, to foster the development of coping skills that they can use in the future, outside prison.”

Juliet, who has been practicing yoga for 40 years, is supported by the Yoga Education in Prisons Trust (YEPT), a charitable trust that takes yoga and meditation classes to prisons across the country.

YEPT provides its teachers with financial assistance and education in trauma-sensitive yoga as well as provides mats for prisoners and offers them opportunities for further yoga education through correspondence courses.

She says that the programme is not about reforming prisoners, but rather giving them the tools to self-reflect, manage stress, anger and everyday life-challenges and live a healthy and balanced lifestyle.

“We want them to have the skills to be able to go out into the world and transform their own lives.”

Because YEPT relies solely on the funding from private donations, Juliet will be holding her own fundraiser on Sunday December 2.

She is inviting the community to join her at a fun, all-abilities yoga class at the Bucklands Beach War Memorial Hall from 8.40am to 9.45am.

Entry is $15 per person and all proceeds will go towards helping YEPT continue their work in New Zealand’s prisons.

She will kick-start the morning with a brief introduction on the work that YEPT does and her own experiences teaching in the Mums and Babies Unit at Auckland Woman’s Regional Prison.

Make a day of it by bringing a picnic mat and swimming gear to soak up the sun after the class.

  • When: Sunday December 2, 8-45am-9.45am.
  • Where: Bucklands Beach War Memorial Hall, 48 The Parade, Bucklands Beach.
  • Enquiries:  Contact Juliet on 021 465 941
  • Cost: $15 cash or bank deposit prior to Juliet Slogrove: ANZ 06-0169-0152894-03 quoting YEPT and your first name and initial of your surname under details.
  • Bring:  Yoga mats.