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Testimonials from OH Temple

This class has made me realize that I AM a good person and I DO have something of value to offer to the world. I'm much more positive and more able to focus.

Davala #61395

My cholesterol level has dropped 15 pts inside of 2 months- only change has been yoga. Much more peaceful outlook."


My breath wind has expanded. Less heart palpatations. I can also tell my blood pressure is not getting @ high points although I do take medications for this – less sudden now

Sandy #24040

Monthly menses lighter, not going full 7 days, only 3-4 days. More focused at work and with other people thanks to learning and opening my chakras."

L. Cassidy

I live in a place where you are 'tested' everyday. Tested in the emotional sense and always the mental sense. The rules are ever-changing. Inconsistency is the only consistency, negativity runs rampant, and paranoia becomes normal. I am not, nor have I ever been, a negative person. But, after 15 years in this penitentiary, I can say with absolute certainty that negativity definitely breeds negativity. You never really know what is expected of you here but you are held accountable regardless. You are forced to deal with hundreds of personalities daily. After so many years it becomes a delicate dance of balance to hold onto sanity. You are forced to make the conscious decision everyday about your own survival. Do you go along with what has become accepted as normal: knowing that the eventual outcome will be anger, bitterness, and resentment? Or, do you search for a way to survive in 'this world' hoping that the outcome will be a healthy,well-balanced state of mind; facing everyday challenges in a positive manner?

I have chosen to survive in a positive manner despite the odds against me. Nithya Yoga is giving me the tools to use the positive forse within me to bring change to the world around me and inside me. The most drastic noticible change would be my health. I no longer take medication to lower my cholesterol, yet my bad cholesterol has dropped 15 points. I am a Chrohn's disease survivor and my health has always reflected my stress levels. I do not remember ever being completely symptom free, not once in the 20+ years that I have been dealing with this disease. Now, every morning as I take stock of my body, I know that I am healthy. I am symptom free which means stress free. There are still 'stressors' in my life but I am no longer internalize them - through yoga practice I have learned better coping mechanisms.

I was raised Roman Catholic and although I am not truely active in the church I still hold to many of the beliefs and consider myself to be a good Christian. Yoga has, in my heart and mind, brought greater clarity and meaning to my religious beliefs. I have always believed that God wants me to be happy and healthy. I am learning to be what God intended me to be. He created me in His image and through yoga and meditations I have found the light inside me and a way to let it shine in all its peacefullness for others around me to see. You don't lose yourself in yoga nor do you have to change your religious beliefs. You will, however, find it easier to be an example of positivity, compassion, and peacefulness in a turbulent world.

I thank Bodinah and the 'forces that be' within this institution that have allowed her to help me shine a light on my inner self. As I continue my yoga practice I anticipate becoming an instructor to help others find their light. Others around me, fellow inmates and staff, have noticed the change in me and many have inquired as to how do they "get that for themselves". As our own physical space shrinks due to over-crowding, I feel safe and secure in the space I have found within. A peacefull, fullfilled, happy space where I can come and go as I please. Yoga helped me open this space for me and allowed me easy access anytime, all the time.

Marie Hilton (40 years old), ORW

I’m much more at peace with myself since beginning the class (nithya yoga). I’m more forgiving and less depressed. I’ve seen things inside myself that I never knew existed. In this prison atmosphere, it’s so easy to slip into a state of hoplessness, helplessness, and worthlessness. Before this class, my coping mechanism was complete isolation and self-loathing. I forced myself to feel nothing…to be numb at all times. I’d tell myself that if I didn’t feel, I’d never be hurt, and I’d be able to make it one more day. In order to feel nothing, I punished myself. I’m in such negative surroundings. I’m not treated a an individual, I’m treated as a sterotype of the word “inmate”. We’re made to believe that we’re awful people, liars, thieves. Like we don’t deserve to breathe air. This class has helped me believe that nothing can be further from the truth! I know I’m one of a kind, I’m important, I’m a good person. I don’t just think this, I see it in my actions and I feel it deep inside myself. I’ve found that I LOVE me and taking a closer look at who I really am. Regardless of the razor wire fences, I have found freedom and I found it in the only place it can be found….within!

Devala #61395

Allow me to mention my chronic illness first – seizures, high blood pressure, CPLD, high bad cholesterol. Starting with those conditions made this new type of yoga a challenge for me. My first time doing yoga actually. I have noticed several changes in my conditions.

  • My breathing has extended-seems I have longer breath.
  • After a month into yoga I began noticing that I had not felt heart palpitations! I’m so used to these occurring. I believe this Yoga has contributed to helping my heart beat slower-no more racing.
  • It’s weird but I feel as if my lungs have growed :) but seriously I feel cleaner in my chest area. Of course these some of my health care problems that nothing but my meds can keep under control (seizures).

I enjoy this yoga class for I believe life is preception. It’s not so easy to maintain a good preceptionin this type of environment yet it is possible. Places like this become one of two things for every individual that enters through the gates: 1)God’s school of learning 2) The Devil’s Play Ground Depending on the choices everyone makes in here. Negativity runs rampant resulting in stagnations of ones senses if allowed. I have always been one to find peace within – I do not allow this to be taken from me for too long. The meditations I am practicing (Nithya Dhyaan) now help to lengthen and prolong the peace I’ve acquired thru the years. There’s actually nothing I don’t like about this type of yoga. I tip my hat to India – these people are very self conscious and capable of maintaining to a degree I’m not so sure Americans can venture into. I will continue to venture and strive to maintain to be true to myself. Meditating helps also as a soul cleansing to me. I cannot wait to get #’s from my statistics medically to share for I know – I feel improvements within and without my being. We are who we are as individuals yet enhancement to our senses, mind and body is needed to grow. Even in an environment like this, we thrive to be better person. I want to wake up every good part of me that God equipped me with, then share the good with others. Thank you for this awesome opportunity. May God Bless this Book ya’ll are coming together to write to the betterment of all people. It is a blessing and a privilege.


Sandra Griffin

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