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Yoga Lowers Stress & Improves Self-control Of Incarcerated Youth In Alameda County Juvenile Hall
The regular practice of Yoga, breathing techniques, and meditation has improved self-control and reduced stress in incarcerated youth, with potentially wide-ranging impact on juvenile delinquency and community crime and violence.
Using two psychometric tools for evaluation, PSS10 (a 10-point Perceived Stress Scale) and Niroga’s IHS30 (30-point Integral Health Scale), statistically significant decline in stress (and anxiety and depression) and improvement in self-awareness (and self-control, self-esteem, and subjective happiness) have been noted within only 3 months into the year-long program. The results echo similar effects observed by several Centers of Integrative Medicine nationwide, studying the effects of Yoga and Meditation on stress in cancer patients, people with addiction, and patients with early-onset HIV. Niroga’s Healing Yoga protocol is extending integral health practices to include a wide range of vulnerable and marginalized populations.
Program response from youth and staff has been overwhelmingly positive. When asked what they have learned, incarcerated youth respond, “I’ve learned to go to Yoga instead of flashing on people,” and “I learned how to relax and how to breathe; when staff put me on ‘special program’, instead of banging and kicking, I breathe,”, and “I learned a lot from it whenever I get mad! Just start breathing, and I actually like Yoga.” Senior Staff Psychologist Janice Thomas describes how the youth are benefiting from the program: “They are really starting to internalize the practices and beginning to understand how they can use it to increase self-control. It’s really true. When someone is having difficulty in group, I’ve heard girls spontaneously say to the troubled person, ‘now breathe….’
Niroga Institute (www.niroga.org)
For additional information about how Niroga is transforming the social landscape one breath at a time, watch their 8-minute video, at http://www.niroga.org/