Prison Yoga Project directly and positively impacts the daily lives of incarcerated women and men across the country. We are proud to support the people we serve and those who serve with us in their ability to connect with their higher selves.

Read some of the testimonials throughout the years:

“I have back and neck problems and a few other not so new joints & muscles. My expectations were that I would be able to stretch and exercise my body and mind. So far it has met my expectations with a few added benefits. The instructors are knowledgeable and provide different variations of the poses and exercise. They also instruct us how to find our center and to notice what we’re feeling and experiencing. I look forward to the class. It’s more often than not the highlight of my week.

This class allows you to learn and grow in positive ways that allow you to feel normal. That you can do normal things that are outside of the criminal lifestyle and drug culture. And that is the first step to building a better life. I may not be able to fix the world at large, but I can work on myself to be a more positive and productive person. That being said the Prison Yoga Project is a good thing and provides a positive place in a not so positive setting. It adjusts your focus so you’re aware that you can make good choices.”

– R.M., RJ Donovan State Prison, San Diego, CA


“I was afraid of yoga because I associated it with having to be flexible, thin, and living a restrictive lifestyle. Myths I placed before me. Practicing the physical part on the mat is the easiest part. The key is knowing what you need at all times and finding what you need  the moment. But knowing isn’t that easy, without our instructors and more time, day to practice in a manageable way. Every breath is an opportunity to be better and yoga pushes me to realize that I have millions of alternatives to help myself and others.

Being a lifer at times becomes a bit rough and instead of blaming others for my emptiness and insecurities, instead of looking for excuses, yoga gives me a mirror that I can see my reflection in all day, every day, to feel and live.

I cleanse myself, I heal myself. I put myself together to become whole. It’s different from the ego. It’s not that others don’t matter. After cleaning myself, I try to form a union with others around me. To make better decisions, I remember that echo. The renewal is exactly what yoga seeks, evolution, knowing that change is possible in a way that is organic.

Yoga is a lens, a very valuable way of seeing life, a filter for me physically, mentally, and spiritually that’s connected to my emotions. I’m balanced, re-energized after every class.”

– M.V., RJ Donovan State Prison, San Diego, CA


“Yoga was all new to me, after my first session, I was hooked and I’ve never missed a class since. There is nothing more relaxing than yoga to date, it has been like Rice Krispies, snap crackle and pop. Beyond expectations. It has brought tranquility, peace of mind.”

– D.V., RJ Donovan State Prison, San Diego, CA


“Before taking Yoga I didn’t have any expectation. However, I’ve benefited a lot. I’ve learned that the mind and body are connected in a powerful way. Understanding this has allowed me to learn how to control my mind and my body is in a state of distress.

Yoga has taught me that in order for me to be successful in life (relationships, prison, and re-entry into society) I must learn how to handle stressful situations.

I remember a situation when a co-worker was irritating me. I wasn’t sure about what to do. What I learned from yoga help the situation. I realized that I couldn’t do anything about his actions, but I can control my actions. By acknowledging I was able to create a situation. I believe the Yoga Project is one of the best forms of rehabilitation.”

– O.H., RJ Donovan State Prison, San Diego, CA


“As I practice, and as Yoga becomes a more active presence in my life through participation, I find I have reserves available in my consciousness to better deal with my family life, be better available to embrace what being present means in their lives, which isn’t always nice or pleasant, and even face the cruel realities such as my mother’s fight with stage 4 cancer, the anxiety I have about getting out, and staying out, after 25 years of prison. Yoga is and has become for me, more than just challenging body positions. It has given me access to an inner stability and equipoise that I never had.”

– A.A., RJ Donovan State Prison, San Diego, CA


“If I am happy, then that can spread to my entire neighbors. Perhaps too, the amount of violence avoided could be measured, because Yoga discharges body stress and sometimes emotionally, pain is pretty bad, and violence and anger go hand in hand with pain. Drugs can’t be the only answer either – a coping mechanism.

As far as re-entry goes, I think that by doing a lot of yoga training in prison, one can become more comfortable and less prone to error on the outside. For one, they are prepared for what is considered a very peaceful activity in the free world. Also, good friends can be acquired by joining uplifting group activities. Yoga for me, in prison, is a huge blessing. I don’t care if it sounds ‘not tough’ or not something ‘real men’ do, because ultimately it reduces criminal insanity, stress, and depression. Thank you.”

– A.M., RJ Donovan State Prison, San Diego, CA


“Because of yoga, I think more clearly, I’m physically fit, emotionally sound and in control but most importantly, because I’m a very spiritual person, yoga has helped me stay more grounded internally. Personally, I like to thank Prison Yoga Project (PYP) for bringing stability back into my life. Thank you Bill, Grace, Jacque, and, last but not least, Mr. James Fox which I’ve had the pleasure of attending many of his classes/sessions at San Quentin. I also would like to thank Kate as well. Everyone….keep up the good work!”

– T.H., RJ Donovan State Prison, San Diego, CA


“Prison is extremely stressful, a chronic stress, and any physician can tell you about the effects of stress. Yoga attacks stress through movement, breathing, and meditation which lead to a calmer less stressed self. Yoga has a lot to do with balance in practice and in life. I relate life balance to energy and yoga has raised my consciousness of this energy. I’ve become aware of self and my surroundings and can feel when out of balance either through my own actions or the actions outside of myself, which helps with finding equilibrium. Although my experience with Prison Yoga Project has been brief, I have found it rewarding.

I’ve found the instructors to be professional, positive and full of good energy and always look forward to our session. I am eager to learn more about Prison Yoga Goals with crime and punishment reform. Also with their help my personal goal of becoming a better man”

– D.R., RJ Donovan State Prison, San Diego, CA