What is needed to teach in prison

In some ways, prisoners, ex-prisoners, secure hospital patients and the staff who work in Ďsecure conditionsí are no different to those of us who live and work Ďon the outí. But there are  fundamental differences between teaching a prison class and teaching on the outside.

In our experience, yoga teachers who do well in prison have:

  • a yoga teacherís qualification from a reputable yoga school, with a course length of at least two-three years. One guideline is the national yoga organisations to which the British Wheel of Yoga (BWY) offer Accredited Diplomas. These schools have, in the opinion of the BWY, ethical standards and a teaching syllabus equivalent to, or higher than the BWY Teacherís Diploma Course.
  • taught regularly for at least two years since qualifying
  • other relevant work experience (e.g. working with young people, social work, drug rehabilitation work)
  • a regular practice, including meditation
  • attended one or more of the trainings that The Prison Phoenix Trust offers to support and prepare prison yoga teachers
  • respect and a sense of awe towards the practice.

Steps to take if youíre interested:

  • browse this website to get a feel for The Prison Phoenix Trustís work
  • print out, hand-write and post to us the background form in as much detail as possible, along with a cover note.
  • Let us know if you want to receive our quarterly teachers' and prisoners' newsletters. It costs us £10 per year to send these to a teacher, which you can pay online, by emailing us for a banker's draft or through your own bank. We are grateful when teachers contribute towards this, as it allows our limited funds to go more directly to our work in prison.
  • attend one of our training events
  • write to or speak with one our yoga co-ordinators.

 

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Yoga and meditation in a prison cell
I have always been impressed with the way the PPT are very sensitive to the pressures of the prison environment, and have worked extremely hard to ensure that they work with staff and systems to achieve their ends, successfully avoiding conflict.  The work that the PPT does plays an important part in providing opportunities for prisoners to handle stress and come to terms with their imprisonment.

Luke Serjeant, Regional Manager, Custodial Services, West Midlands.

We have Cherie as a yoga teacher and Iíve been attending her class. She is helpful, understanding and supportive. Iíve lost 4 stone!!! I feel wonderful.

Chris, HMP Littlehey