"I forgot I was in jail for a while just then. When we come here, its like a piece of mind, you know? It's like, we are just here, doing our yoga. Soon as we step back out that door, we are back in jail. Thanks for coming again."
Some feedback from one of our students at the prison today.
Week four, and so far this experience has been extremely rewarding. To hear the magic of yoga, present in this man's words was overwhelming.
From the very start our intuition told us we needed to at least try and see if our project could offer something to someone within a prison. Yes, we know that we believe how powerful music and yoga can be, but it doesn't mean everyone feels the same, which is absolutely ok! We are all so different, with different ideas, tastes and beliefs. What feels incredible to one person can feel a whole lot less to another. As with every group we practice with, we had no expectations. If it didn't fit or wasn't received well in this prison, then at least we had tried.
But to still be there a month on and see our project evolve, to feel it...to be IN it, has tugged something deep inside. It absolutely belongs to this opportunity. They men we practice with, turn up each week and fully receive us, eager to learn and give everything a go. And it's not just the asana or physical practice, they have been just as interested in the Prana/breath, the philosophy and meditation. We stop in silence after each tune to observe the breath, the temperature in the body and the heart rate. We have been using our breath and tools we have learnt so far, to slow things down, refocus and find the calm within before we begin again.
"I work out everyday, yet I have never noticed my heart beat like that! Or to sweat so much after just 5mins!" said another student last week.
This is our practice at the moment. To simply notice what we notice. To feel the experience each movement, shape and breath gives us that day.
The music softens everything. Just everything. In these particular classes it fills the room and seems to accompany the yoga in such a nurturing way. Making it feel safe for everyone to explore, focus, sing, to feel, have a laugh at ourselves, to be held and to step away from what we can't change but perhaps inspire us and work toward the things we can.
I know I'm biased, but I can feel how genuine Paul's open heart is, it's present in every strum and in every word he sings. I'm sure the guys get that too. To witness them comfortably close their eyes, to immerse themselves in the music and the moment-speaks a thousand words.