Prison Yoga Program – by Ray Rainjan Guthrey

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I was a Psychologist/Counselor for the California Department of Corrections for 26 years, beginning in 1983. I was able to submit a program for approval to the Director of Corrections in 1999 to allow me to have a regular yoga/meditation program developed by and for prison inmates. Our program was approved in late 1999 under the umbrella of the SAP (substance abuse program) on a maximum level prison yard at sierra conservation center, Jamestown California. We called our program the “Inner Awareness Group” thereby avoiding any religious connotation. The supervisors of the SAP also approved the program as a therapeutic tool in combating substance abuse.

Our program consisted of asanas, kiirtan, sadhana and workshops including non-violent communication, tantric philosophy and more.

We had many guest speakers some very dedicated to visiting often. Ac. Rudreshvarananda, Ac. Krsnabhuddhyananda, Ac. Didi Giitanjali, Ac. Mantrashuddhananda, and our honored guest Ac. Ramananda Avt. Many margii’s over the 5 years came also as guests.

We enjoyed 5 years with a core group of 30 or more high custody inmates. One inmate in particular, Vishvanath, became a great devotee of Baba and ten years after initiation was given his parole. He now resides in Fresno, California with his wife whom has become a margii also.