Indian inmates take Yoga classes to reduce jail time

yoga in jail
yoga in jail

New Delhi – Yoga, the Indian art of exercise and meditation, can strengthen muscles, improve concentration and increase a sense of spiritual well-being, its practitioners claim.

Now, it can also get you out of jail.

Prison officials in Madhya Pradesh, in central India, have launched a scheme which will grant inmates reductions on their sentences. For every three months each prisoner spends performing sun salutations, down dog stretches, pranayam heavy breathing exercises and chanting “Om”, his or her release date will be brought forward by 36 days.

According to prison officials at Gwalior Jail, 400 prisoners are now taking part in the scheme, and 68 inmates are set to have their sentences reduced. The prison authorities believe yoga will not only improve their fitness, but make them calmer, less violent and more positive when they are finally released. One prisoner said his anger had subsided since he began practising yoga, and that he planned to teach the discipline after he is released. “We are running yoga classes in many jails. The objective is to help inmates master the art, bust stress, manage anger and keep fit,” said Mr Sanjay Mani, Inspector-General of Prisons, Madhya Pradesh.

For those thinking of scaling the walls or digging tunnels to escape, the fastest escape will now be with the lotus position.

The Daily Telegraph – 23/1/10

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