Our hope is to continue to be together in a mindful, embodied practice of awareness.
The first women’s yoga class was held November 2, 2017. Officer Johnson purchased enough yoga mats and blocks through her FCC Recreation Department for 25 students per class. The women’s yoga program offers one class a week to accommodate inmate interest and various inside schedules. There are currently about 10 women who practice weekly. The first men’s class was held November 7, 2017. The men’s yoga program offers two classes a week to accommodate inmate interest and various inside schedules. Over 100 inmates signed up for the men’s yoga class at its onset, and there are currently upwards of 25 men who participate weekly.
women and men who practice yoga report that yoga inside:
“…gives me time to meditate and reflect.”
“…helps calm the chaos in my mind and body and spirit.”
“…it brings me peace and sanity and joy.”
“Yoga grounds me into mindfulness in the moment, to stay focused in the here and now. Yoga is the one hour I get to experience peace.”
Blossom House hopes to create an inside Yoga Teacher Training to foster compassionate leadership inside among inmates, create re-entry job opportunities, and ultimately lower the rate of people returning (or going to jail in the first place). As of now, Recreation Department jobs have been created for inmates who set up and maintain the yoga mats for all three weekly yoga classes. The Men and Women’s Fairbanks Correctional Center Yoga Practice would not have been possible without CO Julie J. Johnson and specific inmates’ dedication and determination to make it happen. Some writers in the FCC Women Writing Workshop were interested in yoga, so CO Johnson created the program with yoga teacher Jody Hassel of Yoga Service Project Alaska.