BOISE, Idaho — Kaelyn Rogers, Founder of Upward Inertia, a nonprofit working to improve the mental, physical, and emotional health of individuals from marginalized communities, teaches a yoga class each week to a group of medium security inmates at the Idaho Department of Correction.
While there are obvious physical benefits to yoga, the inmates say it helps them control their thoughts, and that’s something they say will help them enter the world as safer people, less inclined to commit crimes.
“It’s gonna help me, whether it’s just, being in a room surrounded by people and knowing how to carry myself for who I wanna be and how I wanna be,” said Logan Peyman, and inmate at ISCI.
That’s the goal with this yoga class at IDOC, to teach the inmates how to control their thoughts and manage their emotions so that once the inmates get out of prison they’re not entering society with the same instincts they had before prison.
“The only difference between you and I and somebody who’s in prison is how quickly it takes us to respond or to act on a thought,” said Kaelyn Rogers, volunteer yoga teacher and Founder of Upward Inertia.
So through Kaelyn’s yoga class, she teaches them how to remain calm, and think before reacting.
“All of us get angry with someone in traffic and, you know, want to do them harm, but we don’t,” said Rogers.
For the first 30 minutes of the 2 hour class, they discuss things the inmates have learned and are grateful for. Then they combine breath work, visualization, and meditation throughout the rest of class.
“I hope that it’ll help them to stay sober. A lot of them are in for drug charges or things related to addiction,” said Rogers.
And Kaelyn is working to expand the program. As the founder of Upward Inertia, a nonprofit aiming to improve the mental, physical, and emotional health of marginalized groups, she’s hoping to teach yoga in all six of the minimum and medium security prisons around Boise by the first of next year.
“Our goal really is to reduce recidivism, but also to keep people out of prison,” said Rogers.
And the inmates in class assure it gives them the steps to help them as they prepare for life outside the walls of prison.
If you want to donate to Upward Inertia’s cause, click here.