How did Prison Yoga Project’s Book Program get started?

“I had been teaching yoga at San Quentin for seven years, and a number of my students had been released and wanted to continue practicing. This was the original motivation for writing the book. I’d seen the positive impact yoga was having with the men and I wanted to keep that going.

Once I got into the writing, I started thinking about the 2.2 million people incarcerated across the US. Why not make the book available to any incarcerated person, free of charge, like Bo Lozoff and Human Kindness Foundation had done with We’re All Doing Time?

We did an initial printing and started sending out the first copies in January 2010. The first 1,000 were gone within three months! I was surprised that there was that much demand! After that, we committed to raising funds to make sure each and every request was answered with a book.

We started sending out copies of Yoga: a Path for Healing and Recovery in January 2010. Very soon after, we noticed a theme emerging. In the requests we were receiving, people would say that their buddy had a copy they had shared with them and could they have a copy of their own.

This let me know we were on to something. We share with others what we find helpful and what we value the most. That’s what led me to start teaching yoga in prison in the first place. I wanted to share with others the gifts I had received.

I think that most people who practice will recognize that motivation. It’s a natural progression for yoga practitioners, the desire to give back.”

– James Fox, Founder of Prison Yoga Project