COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) – A Short North yoga studio is helping Ohio prisoners find peace of mind.
On Sunday, Yoga on High hosted its 5th annual ‘108 to Rehabilitate’ event, raising money for the studio’s prison outreach program. For several hours, teachers guided close to 100 yogis through 108 sun salutations, a popular yoga pose sequence.
Participants and teachers explained the benefits of yoga extend beyond stretching and breathing exercises.
“I can’t change the things that happened in my life with yoga, but the way that I approach the things that happened to me are completely different,” said Heather Parsons, a member at Yoga on High.
Studio co-owner Marcia Miller said the practice affords incarcerated people mindfulness and mental clarity to cope with trauma and conflict.
“If something difficult comes up, instead of reacting –perhaps with violence or self-destructive behaviors — they then might be able to settle in, feel their feet and then make a choice about what they would do next,” Miller said.
The Yoga on High Foundation, the studio’s charitable arm, visits inmates at the Marion Correctional Institute and the Ohio Women’s Reformatory in Marysville for yoga lessons. The hope is the skills learned in prison will help participants reintegrate into society after incarceration.
“To give people tools to deal with whatever issues may have landed them in that institution is going to help while they’re there, but also when they’re back out in our community,” said Parsons.
Each year, the 108 to Rehabilitate event raises several thousand dollars for the Yoga on High Foundation. The organization hopes to extend the outreach program in the future.
You can contribute to the foundation and learn more about its community efforts and outreach programs by clicking here.