The founder of Spalding’s Padma Yoga Studio is to teach prisoners and staff at the North Sea Camp open prison.
Studio director Claire Thomas (45) says yoga helps prisoners to reflect on their past and, for those coming to the end of their sentence, gives them a strong foundation for life outside.
Claire said: “The research suggests that prisoners who are able to come to terms with their past are less likely to re-offend.”
She has previously taught occasional taster classes at North Sea Camp on the outskirts of Boston, but now funding has come via the Prison Phoenix Trust for ongoing, regular classes.
Claire is appealing for people who have yoga mats and blocks to spare to donate them to her studio, based in The Ladies’ Room at Spalding Constitutional Club in Broad Street.
She says the prison service is under financial pressure so all donations of kit will be a massive help.
The taster sessions were conducted on industrial carpet, which took its toll on people’s knees, and donations of proper yoga mats will give prisoners a more authentic yoga experience,
Claire completed her first teacher training diploma in 2005 with the Yoga Therapy and Training Centre in Northern Ireland.
“When I did my initial teacher training, the lady who taught me used to teach in the Maze Prison in Northern Ireland,” said Claire. “I was quite inspired by her experience.”
The Maze housed paramilitary prisoners during the Northern Ireland Troubles while North Sea Camp is home to low risk, category D prisoners, some of whom are ending long sentences there.
Claire says: “A lot of prisoners find that yoga helps them to find some peace because prison is a very stressful environment.
“A lot of people have difficulty sleeping in prison and anyone with a mental health condition finds it an extremely difficult place to be.”
There are stresses too for those being released.
Claire says: “If someone has been in prison for 10, 15 or even 20 years it is extremely stressful to come out of prison because all of the security and the routine of their life is going to change.”
If you have yoga mats or blocks to donate, please drop them off at the studio or call 07443 602108.
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