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Yoga classes improve lives of women in detention facility
by Tribune Staff
Jul 28, 2012 | 1093 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
RENO — Around the world, yoga is used for everything from meditation to weight loss. Now, the Washoe County Sheriff’s Office is using Asana yoga classes, taught by volunteers, to help women in the custody of the detention facility manage stress, anger and other emotions in the hopes that it will prevent actions that could lead them back to jail.

Twice a month, on Saturday afternoons, volunteers facilitate yoga classes for eligible women in custody at the detention facility. The classes focus on teaching skills such as breathing exercises and yoga positions known as asanas to help improve individual well-being through the interconnection of mind, body, emotions and spirit.

“Recent studies show that women who participate in yoga classes showed significant improvement in emotional control and their ability to calm themselves,” said Brooke Howard, Sheriff’s Alternatives to Incarceration Unit Program Coordinator. “Yoga can also provide a great amount of confidence building while helping women to rejuvenate their mind and body from the trauma of physical, mental, emotional and verbal abuse.

Howard said the yoga classes are part of the Alternatives to Incarceration Unit’s Women’s Empowerment Program. The program focuses on empowering women with skills that they can use to meet the challenges of their daily lives after release from the detention facility.

Because the yoga classes are facilitated by volunteers, they are offered at no cost to the county or the taxpayer. Howard said she plans to monitor the participant’s recidivism rate over the next several years to help determine the program’s success.
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