James Fox, M.A., the founder and director of the Prison Yoga Project, is a certified Hatha Yoga instructor with more than 20 years of yoga experience. He has studied and taken teacher trainings in various disciplines including Iyengar, Ashtanga and Taoist (Yin) Yoga. Upon receiving his teaching credentials in 2000, in addition to offering classes to the public, he began his mission of exposing at-risk populations including the incarcerated to the psycho-physiological benefits of Yoga.
James developed the Insight Prison Project’s Yoga Program at San Quentin Sate Prison and has been its coordinator and principal teacher since its inception in September 2002. He has also taught Yoga and mindfulness practices to youth-at-risk in juvenile detention, at a residential treatment facility for boys, and for an inner city, gang-related, community program. He created the Yoga curriculum for the Peacebuilders Initiative, a weeklong, summer intensive for teenage youth held annually in Chicago that he has taught and directed since 2003. James has also provided training to Yoga teachers interested in working with youth-at-risk through the Niroga Institute, an organization that offers yoga classes to the Alameda County Juvenile Justice Center as well as select Oakland and Berkeley public schools.
James is specifically trained in the use of Hatha Yoga for helping heal addictions, having studied with Fr. Joe Pereira, senior Iyengar instructor and Director of the world renowned Kripa Foundation, which operates over 30 addiction recovery centers throughout India that use Yoga and meditation in their recovery programs. He is also trained in violence prevention facilitation and conflict resolution work.
In addition to directing the Yoga program at San Quentin, James co-facilitates a group process class with prisoners for the Insight Prison Project. He continues to teach public classes with an emphasis on Yoga workshops for men.