Prison Yoga Project Foundational Training: Yoga Through the Lens of Trauma and Incarceration

This online training is an evolution of the popular in-person weekend training we have offered since 2010.  More than 3,000 people have attended one of our training programs. Many have become facilitators leading yoga practices with incarcerated men, women, and youth; some have even gone on to start yoga service programs of their own. We’ve had lawyers, therapists, social workers, formerly incarcerated people, law enforcement officers, and others working in prisons and jails attend our training.

This training provides a solid foundation for understanding the necessity of addressing trauma – interpersonal and systemic – as a primary underlying force behind incarceration and the rationale for body-based mindfulness practices, such as yoga, to address that trauma.

The training consists of six parts:

  • An Overview of Incarceration and Philosophies of Justice
  • Race, Gender, Class, and Incarceration
  • Trauma, Mental Health, Addiction, and Incarceration
  • Yoga for Trauma
  • Yoga for Incarcerated People
  • Yoga Service and Personal Transformation

Each section consists of a guided, self-paced online study with curated reading, videos, podcasts, image galleries, and research assignments. Within each section, topics are supported by quizzes to help integrate the content and provide an opportunity for self-reflection. 

Throughout the training, you will have the chance to interact with Prison Yoga Project trainers and other participants in a series of “virtual circles,” one for each section, and you will have access to an online discussion forum to ask questions and share insights. 

The training also gives you access to practice videos for an experience of our approach to trauma-informed yoga. And you’ll receive a PDF copy of the book “Yoga: a Path for Healing and Recovery” written by James Fox; the same book we distribute free-of-charge to incarcerated people across the US and in Mexico.

There is tremendous potential in this field of service. The environment of incarceration intensifies and makes explicit themes we see running throughout our society. It shows us the worst of humanity and the best. It provides us a lens that we can use to examine the world around us and ourselves. Journeying into this world will likely change you, perhaps significantly. We hear so often from people who facilitate yoga inside that they lose interest in teaching elsewhere. We encounter something real and meaningful when we step into the service in one of the most traumatized and traumatizing environments known to humanity. There is tremendous potential for deep healing through service.

Who should attend?

This training is for anyone who would benefit from:

  • perspective on the current state and the historical roots of our criminal justice system,
  • awareness of the prevalence, mechanisms, and impacts of trauma, especially as they relate to crime
  • understanding yoga and other embodied mindfulness practices as a path for healing trauma and transforming our system justice

This training is not just for yoga professionals. It’s for:

  • anyone working in prison or jail as staff or as part of a community-based or non-profit organization
  • lawyers, therapists, social workers, addiction counselors, teachers, and other people whose work is in or intersects the criminal justice system
  • formerly-incarcerated people and their friends and family
  • people interested in bringing about a more effective and humane approach to addressing crime, addiction, and mental health in our communities

What to expect?

  • 24 hours of self-paced study
  • 9 hours of virtual discussion circles
  • Discussion forum
  • Practice videos
  • A PDF copy of “Yoga: a Path for Healing and Recovery”

When can I start?

We offer this program on an ongoing basis; you can start whenever you like! We’ve designed the program to be completed over six weeks, and our “virtual discussion circles” are organized in six-week cycles. However, you are free to move at your own pace and are not locked into a single cycle.

The “virtual discussion circles” are held weekly with each week focusing on one section of the course content. We ask that participants complete each section’s work prior to joining a circle for discussion.

We will not be hosting circles between November 20, 2020 and January 1, 2021.

SectionCycle 1Cycle 2Cycle 3Cycle 4
OneAug 13, 2020
4:00-5:30 pm PDT
Sept 3, 2020
2:00-3:30 pm PDT
Sept 24, 2020
2:00-3:30 pm PDT
Oct 15, 2020
2:00-3:30 pm PDT
TwoAug 20, 2020
4:00-5:30 pm PDT
Sept 10, 2020
2:00-3:30 pm PDT
Oct 1, 2020
2:00-3:30 pm PDT
Oct 22, 2020
2:00-3:30 pm PDT
ThreeAug 27, 2020
9:00-10:30 am PDT
Sept 17, 2020
9:00-10:30 am PDT
Oct 8, 2020
9:00-10:30 am PDT
Oct 29, 2020
9:00-10:30 am PDT
FourSept 3, 2020
9:00-10:30 am PDT
Sept 24, 2020
9:00-10:30 am PDT
Oct 15, 2020
9:00-10:30 am PDT
Nov 5, 2020
9:00-10:30 am PDT
FiveSept 10, 2020
9:00-10:30 am PDT
Oct 1, 2020
9:00-10:30 am PDT
Oct 22, 2020
9:00-10:30 am PDT
Nov 12, 2020
9:00-10:30 am PDT
SixSept 17, 2020
2:00-3:30 pm PDT
Oct 8, 2020
2:00-3:30 pm PDT
Oct 29, 2020
2:00-3:30 pm PDT
Nov 19, 2020
2:00-3:30 pm PDT

How much does it cost? 

We are offering a tiered-pricing model:

  • Benefactor – $595
  • Supporter – $495
  • Community – $395

For people who can afford to pay a little more, the extra you give covers a part of the cost for those who cannot. 

For those with constrained finances, we also offer a limited number of scholarships. Scholarship applications are evaluated based on economic need, identification with a disproportionately impacted group by trauma and incarceration, and the likelihood to apply the knowledge and skills learned in service to the community. You will find the scholarship application here.

Course Content

Expand All
Before We Get Started
Section One - The Criminal Justice System
Section Two - Race, Gender, Class, and Incarceration
Section Three - Trauma, Mental Health, Addiction, and Incarceration
Section Four - Yoga for Trauma
Section Five - Yoga for Incarcerated People
Section Six - Yoga Service and Personal Transformation
Not Enrolled
$395 / $495 / $595

Course Includes

  • 13 Lessons
  • 34 Topics
  • 30 Quizzes
  • Course Certificate