More than 1,000 inmates of prisons in Delhi are going to be trained as yoga teachers within a year under an initiative aimed at helping them start a new life after being released, officials said. The project, ‘Sanjeevan’, was inaugurated on January 23 after a memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed in this regard between the Prison Department and the Morarji Desai National Institute of Yoga (MDNIY) in December 2018, they said.
Jails in Delhi, meanwhile, celebrated Yoga Day on Monday and inmates participated in mass yoga exercises in jail number 1 of Tihar. According to a statement released by Delhi Prisons, chief guest Ishwar Basavaraddi, director of MDNIY, conducted the exercise.
Under ‘Sanjeevan’, instructors from the institute will train inmates in 16 jails in the city, including Tihar, with an aim to provide them life skills so that they can work as yoga teachers and make a living, Director General (Prisons) Ajay Kashyap said. Tihar alone has over 16,000 inmates across its various jails.
“It is our job as well as our moral duty to provide some skill to the inmates so that when they can start a new life after being released. And for that particular reason, we have started this project. We do not want any inmate to come back again after they released,” Kashyap added.
There are basically two courses. One is a foundation course, which is of four weeks, and the other is an instructors’ course, which is of four months. A total of 750 inmates have been trained under the foundation course and they will get certificates on International Yoga Day on June 21, a senior jail official said.
The process of examinations is going on for the instructors’ course. A total of 100 inmates, 75 men and 25 women, are going to take the exam and after that, they will be given certificates, the officer added. “We have aimed to train at least 1,000 inmates as yoga teachers under the project,” Kashyap said.
“A total of 32 yoga teachers, from the institute, have been assigned to train the inmates in 16 jails, two for every jail. The classes being conducted from Monday to Friday every week,” he said.
Besides yoga, the authorities said they were emphasising on meditation as well. Meditation helps people to relax and perform better in the day-to-day activities, the DG added. Kashyap said the jail authority wants the trained inmates to join various organisations as yoga teachers after the are released.
“Every class has 35 inmates as students. With the pace we are going, the jail authority is confident that the mark of 1,000 will be achieved before the time period we have set for the project. We will expand it later as per our requirement,” the DG said.
Over 2,000 prisoners and staff from different jails participated in the Yoga Day event in Tihar in which around 100 instructors from MDNIY performed yoga in tandem with music playing in the background, the Delhi Prisions statement said.