How yoga therapists work: Behind bars
Tianna Meriage-Reiter is a physical therapist and an IAYT-certified yoga therapist who is now practicing her professions in a prison. She writes in her blog about her intention to demonstrate how yoga is much more than physical exercise or stretching:
I know yoga is not new to this prison. But I hope to be a living demonstration of how yoga shows up beyond the pose within these guarded walls. The pose is just one vehicle towards the self and as I often say to them . . .”to being a better human.”
Tianna uses the kosha model (layers of a human being) to offer yoga therapy to incarcerated people. She teaches breath practices, mindful eating, meditation, and mindful movement. She teaches about ahimsa—nonviolence and especially kindness—toward self and others and even prompts people to explore connection to something beyond themselves.
“Some of my patients have even remarked, ‘are you a yoga lady or something?’ This is without even saying that we’re doing yoga. ‘It’s just the way your words flow and your mindset,’” she shares. “I’ve written about yoga being more than just postures in other spaces. It’s ‘yoga off the mat.’ And the premise might just look like a way to be in the world…..and it is.”
To read more about her practice and experiences, visit Tianna’s blog.