Once a week, the long term prisoners don their workout clothes and dash to Saturday morning yoga class for an hour long session to stretch their muscles, work off frustrations and calm their minds.
There are very few things that can give you joy when you’re in jail. Yoga is one of them. It makes me happy, it makes me feel beautiful, a Ukranian prisoner serving a life sentence for murder told the Associated Press.
Warden Major Fawziya al Mullah lets women tow wear makeup because ‘women who look good also feel good’. After taking the post three years ago, Al Mullah ordered shatter proof glass mirrors for the women’s cells. And in the new prison – to be complete within two months – Al Mullah ordered construction of an inmates beauty salon.
I’m a woman and I know that it’s important to look good. They need a place to dye their hair, pluck their eyebrows, and get a nice haircut, said Al Mullah.
The main goal, she says, is reforming the 300 to 400 female inmates who make their way to her prison cells every year and yoga provides individuals with the ability to control their thoughts, their tempers, their emotions, she said. This is how we fight violence and aggression.
Some say the yoga class is the only experience that allows them a sense of normalcy.
Yoga makes me feel free..it transforms me physically, mentally, and spiritually, said a Spanish prisoner, serving a seven year sentence for drug smuggling. She said it helps ease the pain of being away from her son who last saw her six years ago.