Why yoga for staff?

Prison officers work in an increasingly challenging arena, with short staffing, lower officer-to-inmate ratios, risk of injury, and dealing with an ever more frustrated, overcrowded prison population. 

Gearing up to be alert for a crisis raises adrenaline levels; and if the crisis doesn’t happen, it is hard to calm down. When serious incidents do happen, there is often a lack of support to deal with the emotions that arise.

Prolonged stress takes its toll. People working in prison often suffer a range of problems, from muscular aches and pains, lack of sleep, digestive problems and high blood pressure, to chronic or frequent infections. There are emotional effects too, such as anxiety, uncontrolled aggression or fear, depression and mood swings.

Yoga and meditation can help you to:

  • Sleep better
  • Stay calm when dealing with aggressive behaviour
  • Restore your energy and rebalance adrenaline levels
  • Respond appropriately to unpredictable events
  • Cope with cravings
  • Lessen injuries and muscle strain, including back and shoulder pain
  • Leave work behind at the end of the day

Staff workshops and classes

The Prison Phoenix Trust can visit your prison and offer free taster workshops for prison staff as well as for prisoners. This is an easy way to try yoga and discover the benefits for yourself. We’ll recommend a qualified local teacher who can offer a regular staff class, usually in the lunch break. Anyone can do yoga, young or old, men and women, any shape or size - and you don’t have to change out of uniform.

Free books and CDs 

We’re happy to send free books and CDs and our quarterly newsletter to prison staff. With these resources, you can start a practice today. Contact us to request a pack.

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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.

One officer told me he really feels that he has found what was missing in his life.  After the workshop, he had the best night’s sleep he had had in ages.  The benefit of the practice is clear.

A prison governor, after a yoga and meditation workshop for officers.