She also teaches regularly at several of the eight facilities where LPY has weekly programs. She conducts trainings and workshops for yoga instructors, mental health professionals and NYC DOC and DOP employees, to bring yoga and mindfulness into work with traumatized populations. Anneke is regularly invited to speak at conferences and universities about the subject of trauma, incarceration, and sex-trafficking. In 2013, Anneke started two groups at the Woman’s Jail at Rikers Island for survivors of sex-trafficking. Anneke herself experienced and witnessed some of the worst atrocities known to humankind – before she reached the age of 12. Her background, the obstacles she overcame, and the insights she received into the nature of the human psyche on her journey to health are an inspiration to students inside and outside of prisons, and audiences around the world. The continued healing she receives from her work reminds her that human connection is the agent for change, in teacher and student, provider and client. In 2008, Anneke created a 500 Hour Yoga Alliance RYT program for a New York City based yoga studio. From 2011 to 2014 Anneke was director of Prison Yoga Project New York. She graduated from the Screenwriting program at AFI in 1993, published a novel in her home country, Belgium, and wrote many articles about yoga and trauma. She has been working on a book about her childhood, previewed in an article about her work in the prisons.
...since 2018 in the young women’s program in Riker’s Island.
...Entertainment background, Bre has channeled her own need for peace and spiritual centeredness into a contributive and empathic practice for her students. She encourages participants to move fluidly and rhythmically through a series of asanas for physical and emotional strength. Bre passionately shares her practice with students living in Urban Communities; including her hometown, Harlem, NY. Bre created The Urban Peace Squad, a project bringing yoga classes to Project Housing, where volunteers join residents learning tools to use in their personal practice. Bre is joyously creating a peaceful, forgiving, loving vision for the world.
... as she began to fully appreciate the physical and emotional benefits of an ongoing yoga practice. She earned her 200 hour yoga teacher certification in 2014 with the primary intention of teaching Yoga in the prison system. Knowing first-hand the healing power of yoga and as a strong proponent of equal access to justice and healthcare, Cate’s goal is to bring yoga to those who may not otherwise have access to the practice.
... her teacher training with Cyndi Lee at Om Yoga Center, and later received her Prenatal Teaching Certification from Gina Menza of ISHTA Yoga. She has been grateful to continue her training with an array of other enlightening teachers, including the inspiring and dedicated volunteers of Liberation Prison Yoga. Cynthia currently teaches a weekly class in the re-entry unit at the Taconic State Prison, and is profoundly grateful for the many things she has learned both on and off the mat.
... practice. Denise maintains a consistent meditation and movement practice which informs every aspect of her life. Denise is also the founder/educator of Youth Nation Yoga and is a registered children's yoga teacher—RCYT, a certified Mindful Schools instructor, and an educator at Somers Middle School in Westchester, N.Y. She holds an M.Ed. in Special Education from The City College of New York and has completed Yoga Culture's 200-hour yoga teacher training in Danbury, CT; Little Flower's 95-hour children's yoga teacher training program; and The Mindful Schools 300-hour Year-Long Certification Program for teaching mindfulness to youth. Since then she has taught local children in studios, schools, and public libraries. Denise's mission is to bring a yoga and mindfulness practice to as many individuals as possible, helping them to be their best selves one breath, one movement, one moment at a time.
... and has also completed programs at Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health on teaching yoga to seniors and to teenagers. She has studied trauma-sensitive yoga with Liberation Prison Yoga, the Lineage Project, Hala Khouri, and the Holistic Life Foundation, and spent several seasons studying breath-centered yoga, embodied movement, and anatomy at The Breathing Project with Leslie Kaminoff and Amy Matthews at their New York City studio. Through her years of practice, Jacqueline has learned firsthand how mindful movement, breath awareness and meditation can open deep wells of inner peace, empathy and self-awareness, and seeks to create the space for her students to make similar discoveries. Jacqueline teaches yoga to detained women at the Rose M. Singer Center of the Rikers Island jail complex. She also teaches yoga weekly through Liberation Prison Yoga at Three Jewels yoga studio. She is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of Liberation Prison Yoga’s inspiring work.
... for the past 8 years after receiving her 200 hr Yoga Alliance Registration from Lotus Gardens in Connecticut. She later went on to gain her prenatal certification with New York-based Yoga Haven with additional prenatal training with MA Yoga in New York City. Kimberleigh is currently teaching at Devotion Yoga Hoboken, NJ and training for her 500-hr level registration with Laughing Lotus Yoga Studio in NYC. She holds a BA in theater from Connecticut College and an MA in Drama Therapy from New York University. Kimberleigh began prison-based work through the Creative Arts non-profit Rehabilitation through the Arts. This took her to Beacon Correctional, Fishkill Correctional and finally Bedford Hills Correctional. While working with the women at Bedford Hills, Kim connected with inmates practicing yoga and around the same time was introduced to Anneke Lucas. Kim went on to teach General Population yoga at Bedford Hills with a hope and dream of bringing Prenatal Yoga to incarcerated mothers. Kim is honored to teach Prenatal Yoga at Rikers Island and is in awe of the amazing work of Liberation Prison Yoga to initiate and sustain programs. In addition to teaching yoga, she serves mothers as a volunteer La Leche League leader and leads meetings with LLL of Jersey City/Hoboken.
... yoga (via WiiFit) as different physical exercises became unavailable. Although not a super strenuous workout, barely breaking a sweat he noticed drinking a lot of water and a previously unknown sense of well-being afterwards. The combination of breathing and balance/grounding work involved in the postures literally transformed him. “I want(ed) everyone to “do” yoga and discovered teaching it is really hard.” Six years of practice and 200hr then 300hr Teacher Trainings at Yogaworks later Murphy is still very much in love and awe of yoga. Murphy currently works as a basketball coach and yoga teacher in a Manhattan high school that grew out of a closing school where he worked as Director of Youth Violence Prevention program. The students all have a beautiful energy, light, fun and so appreciative of attention and being treated as they are. Unfortunately, some of his students have been and are currently incarcerated and Murphy was looking for a way to help when he discovered Anneke Lucas and Liberation Prison Yoga. Learning about trauma and how to lead a trauma informed class has been beneficial on a personal and professional level. “Yoga has given me so much on so many levels that being able to give back via Prison Liberation Yoga made perfect sense. People are very appreciative that we show up every week, even those who do not participate. They make sure we know, giving us love in return and it is beautiful.” “Prison and/or ‘the street’ is often the birthplace of new trends for better or worse. If yoga can be half as influential as Do-rags or saggy pants I have no doubt society would benefit immensely. Meanwhile if I can help one person breathe easier, feel better, experience their inner light, even for a moment, then I myself can do likewise.”
... After receiving her 500-hour yoga teaching certification from YogaWorks New York, and a 100-hour certificate in Healing Yoga with Jillian Pransky, she wanted to focus on teaching special populations. This led her to to James Fox’s Prison Yoga Project workshop, as well workshops in trauma-informed yoga, teaching yoga for seniors, and chair yoga. Patty has taught at the James J. Peters VA Medical Center in Bronx, NY, and to people living with cancer at Gilda’s Club Westchester in White Plains. She also teaches Restorative Yoga in Mamaroneck, NY, and gentle mat and chair yoga classes in local libraries.
... at the Sivananda Institute in Albuquerque, New Mexico. He also got his first teaching experience there working as a substitute at the University. Over the years, Thomas has specialized in working with clients in recovery in prison and rehabilitation centers. Aside from teaching at the SPA at the Glennpointe in Teaneck, NJ for 25 years, he has been active as a volunteer yoga instructor at the Hudson County Correction Center in S. Kearney, NJ and the Integrity House – a rehabilitation Center for Youth in Newark, NJ for the past two years. A 200-RYT certified yoga teacher, Tom has received the Liberation Prison Yoga training, as well as the Kula for Karma trainings, specializing in, respectively, Addiction and Trauma, PTSD War Veterans, and Cancer. He has also received training at the Omega Institute for teaching yoga and mindfulness to High Risk Youth.
... post-natal teacher through Baby Om in Brooklyn. Adrianna currently teaches private clients in New York City and Brooklyn, and is studying for her 500 hour registration under the guidance of Tiffany Cruikshank at Yoga Medicine. She holds a BA from North Carolina State University.
... for more than fifteen years and has trained in various types and styles of yoga including power vinyasa, Bikram, flow vinyasa and yin yoga throughout the country. Julianne’s style is power vinyasa and she has trained with Baron Baptiste. As a teacher, she emphasizes alignment and movement on the breath in order for students to experience the benefits of yoga. Julianne is passionate about yoga, and promotes it as an excellent complement to fitness and wellness. She particularly loves teaching yoga to women.
... Before moving to Connecticut and joining the amazing teachers of Liberation Prison Yoga, Jill taught a weekly, trauma-informed yoga and mindfulness meditation class at the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment unit for women at the Washington, DC Correctional Treatment Facility. She led a similar class for women in the general population at the jail and taught a weekly introduction to meditation class for women and men at the Montgomery County (MD) Pre-Release Center, for incarcerated citizens returning home. She also helped found the True Refuge Companion Program, which holds loving presence for and meditates with the sick, aged, dying and their caregivers.
... She is also trained in the 7-step Integrative Healing Model of Dr. Ani kalayjian developed to help victims of trauma to develop tools and to live more fully. She has worked in Haiti utilizing the model. She has turned her attention more toward spiritual practice and yoga now that she is semi retired from the art business.
... she saw that some sort of Prison work would be in her future. Having skimmed the surface of Yoga as an adolescent, she later immersed herself in the practice of yoga, seeing and feeling the undeniable benefits, the relief and release. Sofia feels honored to be able to share this mindful, and at times rigorous, practice with the women at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility. Providing the space and opportunity to connect the mind, body, breath and spirit for the women is such a gift. While she could never pretend to know what any one person has gone through, or currently goes through, she does truly believe that finding a way to breathe through the discomfort that arises on the mat can only help to breathe through the discomfort that comes with being alive and participating in this life, but, perhaps more and more, that intentional breathing and mindfulness can trickle into those uncomfortable situations.
... she realized how disconnected people felt from their own bodies and disempowered in their own healing. After constantly recommending patients to yoga, she decided to leave acupuncture and devote herself to teaching. Myda received her first 200-hour training in 2009 at the Nosara Yoga Institute in Vinyasa. Since then, she has complemented her teaching with advanced training in Anusara and in the Abhaya Yoga Method; Functional Anatomy and Mindfulness and Meditation. Forever a student, Myda is greatly indebted to the practice of yoga and all of its amazing teachers, some of them being her students at Rikers. She is continually thankful for all she has been given and has learned and hopes that she can share it with those who will join her in the path of growth, laughter, life and love.
... her studies in Yoga Nidra at Ishta Yoga. She worked for many years with women who survived sexual trauma and ritual abuse at the peer run Sexual Assault Support Center in Ottawa, Canada leading groups and providing phone support; and continues to support survivors of sexual violence through her work with flower essences. She has supported women in transitioning to motherhood from birth through breastfeeding years as a doula and peer breast feeding support person and yoga instructor. Katharine is honoured to be volunteering in the nursery on Riker's Island, providing yoga and flower essence mediation and breast feeding support to incarcerated mothers and their babies.
... through college. She earned her first yoga certification with YogaFit and AFAA and then went on to earn her 200 hours of training from Lotus Garden Yoga School in Connecticut. Her specialty is in Core Yoga as well as Restorative Yoga. She is a Master Level Reiki Practitioner, certified as a hand and foot reflexologist and is also an Aromatherapist and serves her clients in various healing modalities. Jill’s style of teaching is a fusion of different modalities of breath work, tapping, reflexology, self administered Reiki and healing hand mudras as well as asana so each student can pick and choose what feels authentic for their practice. Jill teaches weekly yoga and meditation classes at Westchester County area correctional facilities.
... of the Arts at NYU with a BFA in 2014. Her yoga practice began in college under Tara-Marie Perri of the Perri Institute and has been fostered by incredible studios and teachers throughout the city ever since. She has also completed trauma-informed yoga trainings through both Liberation Prison Yoga, and Feet on the Ground. She continues to work with Feet on the Ground as their social media and marketing volunteer, and is incredibly grateful to teach with Liberation Prison Yoga.
... her 300-hour RYT certification at Abhaya Yoga, both in Brooklyn. Lea teaches a range of different styles from Vinyasa to Restorative, but at the root of every class is the intention to help students tap into the sacred nature of our shared human experience through connection to body and breath. In her former incarnation as a theater artist, Lea was a playwriting mentor to incarcerated youth inside juvenile detention facilities in California with the organization Each One, Reach One. Lea believes in the transformative power of yoga and the arts to help reverse the debilitating and de-humanizing effects of incarceration. www.leabenderyoga.com
... part of her life journey and she is currently registered with Yoga Alliance at the 500hour level and teaches regular classes as well as Teacher Trainings in Brooklyn. Further yoga training includes yoga for incarcerated youth with the Lineage Project, Trauma Sensitive Yoga with David Emerson of the Trauma Center and, of course, Liberation Prison Yoga. Margherita has been teaching with Liberation Prison Yoga since 2015, having worked regularly at both Rikers and Manhattan Detention Complex with men, women, transgender and young adults. Her work with LPY has gifted her with some of the most important insight on her own life and practice of movement and relationships, or "yoga", contributing to make her teaching process a shared experience rather than a lecture. Margherita firmly believes in the wisdom of movement, and its ability to encourage self-learning, self-regulation, and healing; her classes are informed by her journey with yoga, as well as her studies in Anatomy and Kinesiology, and her work with somatic movement forms, dance, and Butoh. She practices and invites the exploration of connection and dialogue with self and others as sources of both stability and learning on and off the mat, striving to provide space for her students to feel supported to explore at their own pace. Aside from teaching yoga in jails, rehabilitation programs and yoga studios, Margherita studies, performs and teaches Butoh and modern dance around NYC and beyond. More info at www.margheritatisato.com
... therapeutic aspects of Yoga and appreciates just how uniquely individual the practice can be. Through her teaching, she offers classes that focus on increasing the accessibility of Yoga to everyone, as it is a practice that can continuously meet you where you are. Michelle spends her Tuesdays at Rikers Island, serving the wonderful women of the transgender women’s housing unit.
... Teaching the men at AMKC is one of the highlights of her week. They are such appreciative, polite and warm human beings; even under the hard circumstances they are in. Trying to explain the subject of yoga to these open minds, who have no preconceived ideas about it, teaches her more about the meaning of yoga every time she goes to Rikers.
... be it football, wrestling, distance running or dancing; Roque was eager to have found something he could share with everyone he cared about. (Which is everyone) He received his first Yoga teacher Certification from Yoga To The People and continued his studies with the Ishta Yoga 500 Hour level course and at Jason Brown’s Anatomy For Yoga Teachers program. Roque believes that a yoga practice is the most effective way to improve mindfulness in all facets of life. Everyone from a world class athlete to a beginner can benefit from the effects. His primary goal is to teach in a way that is accessible to people from all walks of life.
... meditation as a teenager, where a regular practice was critical in his coming of age. He completed a 200hr yoga training in 2013, and has since trained various methods and modalities with Kripalu, Mark Stephens, Libby Barnett, and more. He is currently studying with the Brooklyn Zen Center.
... By quieting her mind she could finally release the grip of anxiety and depression that had held her since childhood. After nearly twenty-five years of witnessing the power of the breath to heal physical and emotional wounds she decided to transition to teaching yoga. Her focus has always been on those who may shy away from traditional classes. This led her to study trauma informed yoga with Anneke Lucas, Jenn Turner, Dr. Dan Libby, and James Fox. Additionally she holds certifications in Yoga 4 Cancer, Pre and Postnatal yoga, and Gentle, Chair, and Adaptive yoga. Sheilagh’s intention is to provide a safe, supportive, open space for people to meet themselves with love and compassion, exactly where they are.
... intention of bringing yoga to therapeutic settings. While teaching yoga in federal prison, a pregnant student motivated Susanna to seek out further training and showed her the necessity of prenatal and postnatal yoga for pregnant women in prison. Susanna completed Prenatal Yoga certification with Yoga for Two and completed Postnatal and Mom and Baby Yoga certifications with Integral Yoga Institute and Baby Om. Her teaching is inspired by her yoga and meditation teachers, prison justice advocates such as Mariame Kaba, and by mothers and babies everywhere.