Letter writing

Every day we receive a large mailbag of letters from prisoners asking for help with their meditation and yoga practice.

We respond by encouraging prisoners to use the hours they spend in their cells as a journey of inner change, by committing themselves to a daily discipline of meditation and yoga. This is not easy for anyone. So a large part of our work is offering guidance and support through personal corre­spondence. Much of this is hand-written. We usually respond within a week of receiving a request for guidance.

All our letter writers regularly practise meditation and have a deep commitment to the benefits of concentration on silence and the breath.

Volunteers and staff use a PPT Letter Writers’ Manual, which was written specifically to show relevant and creative ways to encourage prisoners in their meditation practice by reflecting back to each inmate his or her own words of discovery. Letter writers are encouraged to keep advice to a minimum, observing appropriate boundaries for safety in maintaining contacts with prisoners. This allows the prisoner to discover his or her own process of transformation and to sustain a regular practice.

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Yoga and meditation in a prison cell
I know I did wrong but I have learnt that I can still love myself, as only by doing so can I fix the issues and love others. I am worth something after all. I apologise for rambling on so much but these letters with you have been the first time I have really been able to open up about my feelings.

Gareth, HMP Bullingdon

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