Best Of

Best Yoga for an Underserved Community


Notwithstanding yoga’s reputation as the Gwyneth Paltrow of exercise — whitewashed, expensive, elitist — at its core is the forging of a connection between mind and body. Re-establishing this connection is a well-established form of therapy; Liberation Prison Yoga director Anneke Lucas attributes her recovery from her experiences as a sex-trafficked child entirely to yoga. After heading up Prison Yoga Project New York for three years, in 2014 Lucas founded her new endeavor to help currently and formerly incarcerated New Yorkers address their traumas, collaborating with yoga instructors, social workers, and mental health professionals to facilitate mental and physical healing. Liberation sends instructors to jails and prisons, offering an extensive network of classes for women, men, and youth, for expectant mothers and mothers and babies, and for the newly released. Last year, the 501(c)(3) nonprofit began a class for corrections officers on Rikers Island as well, offering healing and connection to everyone in the facility.