How Lang’ata Women Prisoners Found Peace in Yoga

  • Langata women inmates entertaining guests in a function held at the prison.
    Langata women inmates entertaining guests in a function held at the prison.
    Langata Women Maximum Prison facebook
  • Serving time in prison, regardless of the length of one's sentence, is considered a waking nightmare. Although a majority may not relate, the thought evokes feelings of anxiousness and fear.

    While in prison, inmates are not the only individuals who seem to have it rough, prison wardens and staff face untold challenges as well. 

    As a result, they occasionally resolve to discover ways in which they can ease the pressure they face.

    The Women at Langata Women's Prison have turned to Yoga as a source of peace in an environment many would consider taxing. 

    Prison wardens together with inmates dancing at an event held at the Langata women maximum prison.
    Prison wardens together with inmates dancing at an event held at the Langata women maximum prison.
    Langata Women Maximum Prison facebook

    They believe that besides physical fitness, Yoga is a perfect discipline for the mind, body and soul, and a great empowerment tool.

    In a conversation Kenyans.co.ke had with a superintendent from the prison, she explained that Yoga makes the inmates and staff so relaxed and disciplined, to the point they do not even need to tighten their security. 

    “There are very many prisoners here from all over Africa, ranging from murderers on death row to petty criminals, but the security doesn’t feel very maximal. The women are wielding blades and only a flimsy barbed wire fence, a metal gate and a jolly guard separate convicts from the outside world,” she stated.

    Besides Yoga, the staff engage the prisoners in cooking, cleaning and other activities such as dancing and modeling. 

    In a former interview KTN had with Olivia Obel, an official from the prison when Yoga was first launched, she stated that they resolved to Yoga because they needed the inmates to have a relaxed mind while in prison. 

    “They are stressed in one way or the other, especially emotionally, and we felt that having Yoga as a regular practice for them would be very beneficial," Olivia Obel stated. 

    Further, the inmates expressed that they are hoping to be given a second chance and their sentences re-considered. 

    Esther Luchoto, an officer from the Prison, explained to Kenyans.co.ke that when the pandemic hit the country, they had to pause these activities, but are soon resuming them because they have proven to be very effective. 

    “The pandemic caused so much confusion, and we were forced to stop the activities. However, Yoga was specifically making the inmates not stressed at all, and we are bringing it back. 

    “We want to help them continue feeling at peace as they were, because this also makes our work in the prison easier,” Luchoto remarked. 

    Langata women inmates and wardens practicing Yoga in the prison.
    Langata women inmates and wardens practicing Yoga in the prison.
    Langata Women Maximum Prison facebook
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