Yoga Lessons for the Inmates

March 26, 2007

Source: Leader-Post

Wire Service: AP

LANSING, Kan. (AP) -- Lama Chuck Stanford started visiting a small group of Buddhist inmates in Kansas about six years ago.

"Then word got around that I was doing this," Stanford says, "and I started getting calls from prison chaplains around here telling me they had Buddhist inmates interested in getting groups going."

Now Stanford serves four prisons -- the Lansing Correctional Center, the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks in Leavenworth, and two state prisons in Missouri. He's on the road two days a week, most days serving groups of 10 men at each prison.

Stanford is among a quietly growing number of Buddhist teachers working in U.S. prisons, tending to inmates who had been raised Buddhist or who discovered the ancient faith later, many while incarcerated. U.S. prisons are also offering meditation and yoga for their general populations.