Thursday, October 2, 2014
FAIRFIELD-SUISUN, CALIFORNIA
99 CENTS

Yoga helps CSP inmates find focus, inner peace

CSP YOGA 2_20_14

Jesse Candelaria, right, and John Harper, left, take part in a yoga class Thursday at California State Prison, Solano, in Vacaville. Candelaria is also a peer leader in the prison's yoga program. (Robinson Kuntz/Daily Republic)

By
From page A1 | February 21, 2014 |

VACAVILLE — The 24 men lay prone on the floor, quiet, unmoving, eyes closed.

“Once again, starting at the feet . . . make sure the feet are totally relaxed,” said Zack Pasillas, who led the atypical yoga class at California State Prison, Solano on Thursday. He took the mind-relaxation technique up the legs and into the hips and said, “Relax your arms and your hands. Finally, relax your face, the muscles around your eyes. Feel your entire body heavy on the mat.”

As the inmates focused, they were oblivious to the correctional officers’ large rings of jangling keys as they traversed the gym. They were also oblivious to the opening and shutting of one of the doors or the low murmurs from the other activities in the gym on the Level II side of the prison.

The noises, said Silas Robinson, 40, were easy to block out. He said the first time he did yoga, he could hear the people in the background but by the time Thursday rolled around, he was able to tap into the “that place of peace.”

Robinson is a yoga newbie, with Thursday his third time in the class – it meets three times a week with peer-led teachers and twice a month with Pasillas, one of the founders of the Yoga Seed Collective in Sacramento.

While yoga has been at the prison since 2011, Pasillas has been coming since November, replacing a former outside yoga instructor.

When Kim Young, the associate warden of the prison, broached the subject to other prison officials about having yoga classes, she said “they thought I’d lost my mind.” The program, along with several others, was introduced in an effort to “think outside the box” during the budget crisis.

Robinson said that Young recommended the class to him. He said he never saw himself in a yoga class, but said it’s given him peace and offered camaraderie – now that he’s debunked for himself a stereotypical view of the looks of an inmate doing time for a murder conviction.

“Hard criminals don’t do yoga,” he said of the stereotype.

Like Robinson, Jesse Candelaria, 34, was able to quickly identify what yoga does for him. For Candelaria, one of the peer inmate yoga leaders, it achieves mental clarity.

“When we all come here (to the gym), we’re all going into a good focus,” he said. “We can put away our stresses from in the prison.”

But the hour class is not all easy relaxation – as Robinson will attest, as he tried to stay balanced for five breaths in an arm-balanced pose that has the knees positioned on the elbows. The pose has several names: Kakasana, Bakasana or the crane or crow pose.

Robinson laughed a bit and smiled a lot as he attempted to stay balanced – Pasillas reminded everyone to keep breathing.

“It was foreign to me,” Robinson said of the pose. “By being so far out of my comfort zone, it was hard to hold that pose.”

Pasillas, whose Yoga Seed Collective does this on a volunteer outreach basis to several groups, including at Folsom State Prison, said that the mind aspect of yoga is more important than the physical in that it allows the inmates to learn relaxation techniques that enable them to curb impulsiveness.

“We’re here to provide . . . physical exercise but also mindfulness training so the same choices aren’t perpetuated,” he said.

Candelaria said yoga has taught him to think before acting.

“I can clear myself better,” he said. “I can center myself quicker now that I’ve been practicing this.”

Reach Susan Winlow at 427-6955 or swinlow@dailyrepublic.net. Follow her on Twitter at www.twitter.com/swinlowdr.

LEAVE A COMMENT

Discussion | 6 comments

The Daily Republic does not necessarily condone the comments here, nor does it review every post. Read our full policy

  • Jason KnowlesFebruary 21, 2014 - 12:15 am

    Great idea! Hardest workout I've ever done is yoga, without question.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Suisun1February 21, 2014 - 7:51 am

    Great to see this "outside the box" thinking for inmates that might get them to reflect more before acting. CA state has one of the highest rates of ex-prisoners who go back into prison in the country. It's a waste of tax payer money to lock up inmates, only to see them become more violent in prison. Anything that can help break this vicious cycle is needed!

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Mr. PracticalFebruary 21, 2014 - 4:48 pm

    I got 5 bucks that says it doesn't improve recidivism rates.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • JFebruary 22, 2014 - 3:21 pm

    Actually, according to the International Journal of Yoga Therapy, re-incarceration rates declined from about 67% to 25%. You can read more at http://www.prisonyoga.org/wp/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/ReincarcerationStudyIJYT.pdf "Inmates voluntarily participating in four or more Anada Marga Yoga/Meditation classes, along with proper philosophy/sharing sessions, are found to have a lower than expected reincarceration rate, in spite of significant risk factors for recidivism" (6).

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Rich GiddensFebruary 21, 2014 - 7:40 am

    My younger brother is a yoga instructor.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
  • Malibu 1369February 22, 2014 - 9:40 am

    Strange... Solano State Prison had inmate led Yoga in 2008. Why do prison officials insist on re - inventing the wheel every few years then taking credit for it.

    Reply | Report abusive comment
.

Solano News

Head-on crash sends 2 to trauma centers

By Amy Maginnis-Honey | From Page: A1, 1 Comment | Gallery

 
 
Vacaville man earns Carnegie heroism medal

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Mundy fifth-graders share their thoughts

By Mayrene Bates | From Page: A2

Veterans meet set in November

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

 
Solano Tea Party Patriots meet next week

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A3

Bevy of vintage warbirds expected at Nut Tree air show

By Ian Thompson | From Page: A3 | Gallery

 
 
 
Weather for Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B12

Fairfield police log: Sept. 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

 
Suisun City police log: Sept. 30, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A12

.

US / World

FBI turns animal cruelty into top-tier felony

By The Associated Press | From Page: A3

 
California Catholics challenge abortion order

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

San Francisco expands free public Wi-Fi access

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

 
Judge: Stockton must treat pension like other debt

By The Associated Press | From Page: A4

Man convicted of murder in killing over loud music

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5, 1 Comment

 
3 Afghan soldiers who fled say they can’t go home

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Poll: Divided voters still focus on economy

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

 
Respiratory virus seen in 4 deaths; role unclear

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

920 California chickens killed with golf club

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Liberia short on ambulances for Ebola patients

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Wife of slain Los Angeles-area mayor released

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Ebola patient told hospital he was from Liberia

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Caltrans: Bay Bridge tower rods exposed to water

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Secret Service chief quits due to security lapses

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

2 children in Los Angeles County have enterovirus

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Palestinians: Israeli occupation must end in 2016

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

Infant’s body found in California trash facility

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Mexico’s probe of army slayings raises doubts

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

John Wayne’s heirs lose ‘Duke’ legal brawl

By The Associated Press | From Page: A5

 
Hong Kong protesters threaten to occupy buildings

By The Associated Press | From Page: B5

App teaches kindergartners basic computer coding

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

 
2 white Ohio women sue over sperm from black donor

By The Associated Press | From Page: A12

.

Opinion

 
Editorial Cartoon: Oct. 2, 2014

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A11

Crazy? Violent? Lose your guns

By Kelvin Wade | From Page: A11

 
It’s time to teach history

By Jay Ambrose | From Page: A11

Read this column ASAP or immediately

By Reg Henry | From Page: A11

 
Real reasons neighborhoods are in trouble

By Letter to the Editor | From Page: A11

.

Living

Today in History: Oct. 2, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
Community Calendar: Oct. 2, 2014

By Susan Hiland | From Page: A2

Horoscopes: Oct. 2, 2014

By Holiday Mathis | From Page: A9

 
Our son’s suicide has made us feel like outcasts in our community

By Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar | From Page: A9

.

Entertainment

TVGrid

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: B6

 
Steinem: Domestic violence discussion a positive

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

‘Orange is the New Black’ author talks Season 3

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Joy Behar to debut a 1-woman show in New York

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

Tony Bennett sets mark as oldest act with No. 1 LP

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
Lena Dunham launches tour for book of adult essays

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

‘Interstellar’ to be released 2 days early on film

By The Associated Press | From Page: A7

 
.

Sports

Bumgarner, Giants silence Pirates 8-0 to advance

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
A’s part ways a day after 12-inning loss to Royals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

49ers prepare for familiar face in Chiefs Smith

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
Raiders leave for bye after meeting with new coach

By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

College notebook: Former Falcon Williams tearing it up as Torero

By Paul Farmer | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
 
Prep cross country: Armijo rolls to sweep at MEL center meet

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Drivers fear next round of NASCAR’s Chase

By The Associated Press | From Page: B2 | Gallery

 
JC volleyball: Solano wins twice in Falcons Classic

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

JC women’s soccer: Sjoberg nets 2 goals as Solano ties Chabot

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Prep water polo: Rodriguez boys swim to 11-1 win over Armijo

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

Prep girls tennis: Stybnarova earns victory at No. 1 singles

By Daily Republic staff | From Page: B2

 
Tigers hope starters can outdo Orioles bullpen

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Wambach, players file lawsuit over World Cup turf

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Oslo latest city to drop out of 2022 Olympic race

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

Cardinals re-sign Fairfield High graduate Bishop

By Staff and wire reports | From Page: B3

 
LeBron warmly welcomed ‘home’ by Cleveland fans

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

 
Trout makes playoff debut when Angels host Royals

By The Associated Press | From Page: B3 | Gallery

This date in sports history for Thursday, Oct. 2, 2014

By The Associated Press | From Page: B4

 
.

Business

Stocks start October with a drop

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

 
GM looks to new vehicles, China to boost profit

By The Associated Press | From Page: B6

5 reasons bonds may be less safe than you think

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

 
Why the bond market is more fragile than you think

By The Associated Press | From Page: B7

.

Obituaries

John ‘Bo’ M. Miller

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

 
Laura M. Gerdes-Lemmons

By Nancy Green | From Page: A4

.

Comics

Rose is Rose

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Get Fuzzy

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

For Better or Worse

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Zits

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Baldo

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Baby Blues

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Wizard of Id

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Garfield

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Pickles

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
B.C.

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Frank and Ernest

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Blondie

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sally Forth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Peanuts

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Beetle Bailey

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

 
Dilbert

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A8

Sudoku

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Word Sleuth

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Crossword

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

 
Bridge

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9

Cryptoquote

By Daily Republic Syndicated Content | From Page: A9