Liberation Prison Yoga
Changing the System from Within
Liberation Prison Yoga is a non-profit organization with a mission to serve prisons and jails, bringing trauma-conscious yoga programs to incarcerated women, men, LGBTQ, youth, staff, and those whose lives are affected by incarceration; to train yoga instructors to work inside the prison system; and to educate the public about trauma-conscious yoga.
Founder and Executive Director Anneke Lucas started creating programs in different facilities in 2011, bringing along yoga teachers, social workers and psychologists, training them to apply the specific trauma conscious approach our teachers share in the prison and jail settings. Each class comprises of yoga and meditation. Liberation Prison Yoga programs may also include discussion, free-flow writing or other healing modalities.
The effectiveness of yoga and mindfulness practices have been amply proven, but few studies have been done inside the prisons. Currently, Liberation Prison Yoga, together with the NYC Department of Corrections and the NYC Health & Hospitals Corporation, is conducting a study to measure the effectiveness of the Liberation Prison Yoga programs conducted at Rikers Island, New York.
“If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.” — Malcolm X
After a 20 year personal yoga practice and five years of teaching, Anneke Lucas, founder of Liberating Prison Yoga, became drawn to work with the incarcerated in 2010 and started to volunteer at Bayview Correctional in New York. I created programs at Rikers Island, MDC Brooklyn and Bedford Hills over a three year period. In 2014 I started my own professional organization, Liberation Prison Yoga, to serve jails and prisons. I expanded existing programs at Rikers and brought a specific trauma-conscious yoga style including other healing modalities to other State Correctional Facilities - Bedford Hills, Taconic and Wallkill - while training and guiding volunteers.