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Data provided by Northampton County Corrections showed drastically reduced recidivism among male and female inmates who participated in Shanthi Project’s therapeutic yoga program while serving time in Northampton County Prison’s Drug & Alcohol Rehab program.
110 inmates attended therapeutic yoga classes from 2012 to 2014, taught by one of Shanthi Project’s specially trained yoga teachers. The overall recidivism rate for men and women in prison’s Drug & Alcohol Rehab Units, which were defunded in January 2015, was 51 percent, while the recidivism rate for those participating in yoga was 19 percent.
Most incarcerated individuals have experienced emotional and physical trauma throughout their lives. Not only does yoga help trauma survivors better cope with life’s stresses, studies show that yoga actually reverses the effects that trauma has on the brain.
Neuro-physiological Benefits of Trauma-Informed Yoga and Mindfulness Practices:
Evidence-based research demonstrating the benefits of mindfulness practices and yoga has repeatedly shown:
- Decreased Stress/PTSD
- Decreased State Anxiety
- Decreased Hyper-vigilance
- Increased Self-Awareness
- Increased Overall Well-being
- Better Self-Regulation/Self-Control
- Increased Emotional Resilience
- Increased Heart Rate Variability which positively impacts the stress response
- Benefits for Depression similar to taking an antidepressant
Other Brain and Nervous System benefits:
- Activation/Re-activation of Pre-Frontal Cortex and corresponding Amygdala inhibition
- Balance Parasympathetic/Sympathetic Nervous System Activity
- Promotes Healthy Vagal Tone – Vagus Nerve Activity
- Increases GABA levels (GABA mitigates stress and hyper-arousal/hypervigilance)