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What to expect?

Prison Yoga Chicago’s teacher training program is designed to empower yoga teachers with the skills necessary for effectively teaching incarcerated practitioners at Cook County Department of Corrections. Our 12-hour teacher training program is provided tuition-free to teachers who feel a sincere calling to this seva work.

You’ll discuss your intentions with experienced teachers. Teaching yoga in jail is an experience in social justice and encompasses many opportunities for non-violent conflict resolution. We’ll provide you with teaching materials and advice, but the most intense training comes from your shadow days. For three classes you’ll “shadow” a teacher through the process of moving through the correctional facility into the classroom. Interacting with officers, sergeants, and inmates sets the tone for a successful experience or a challenging class in jail.

Training in nonviolent conflict resolution includes practice working in scenarios where an officer denies the teacher’s ability to deliver yoga class programming. You’ll also receive training in non-aggression and peaceful strategies for moving through adversity.

Trauma-aware yoga involves the practice of teaching without attachment. A trauma-aware yoga teacher must have the tools to draw boundaries in uncomfortable situations. There may be distractions, interruptions and other, unknown, challenges to a yoga class. Teachers will be trained in resilience, patience and a sense of humor. These skills are all needed to move through the intense energies present in jail.

Teachers are provided with training on best practices and core consistencies. Every teacher has their own style. Our program will give you the framework and grounding to effectively teach on the inside in your own way of interpreting the teachings of yoga.

Mantra for mental health is a core consistency of yoga programs delivered by Prison Yoga Chicago. Teacher training includes call and response Sanskrit, which is a powerful tool for focusing the minds of students. Learn the ancient language of Yoga and deepen your own practice by learning to present Sanskrit throughout class and use your powerful voice to instill a sense of community in the class.

Mudras are presented in every class as a way to practice yoga of the hands and empower students with focus and mental clarity. Learn mudras as part of your teacher training.

The practice of yoga is a challenge of commitment. The teacher training begins with your declaration of intentions by completing the form below. Once accepted and enrolled in the teacher training program, we ask that confirmed shadow dates and confirmed teaching dates be completely committed. We understand that emergencies do come up, but as much as possible, please be completely steady with your commitments to this program.

Safety is our primary priority. The command staff of the sheriff's office is always very protective of our teachers. We have had no injuries and intend to continue a track record of complete teacher safety in Cook County jail. Most classes will have an officer in the room while you teach, but sometimes due to staff shortages, there will be an officer in the hall and a co-teacher in the room with you during class. We teach strong boundaries and awareness of yoga as tools for delivering yoga as a service for public safety.

There are many opportunities for continued teacher training and ongoing education. After your teacher training with Prison Yoga Chicago, you’ll be invited to participate in the seva work that we’re doing to change the world.