Gangster Yoga (Video)

Ashley Stern
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Gangster Yoga is a term we haven’t heard much in the mainstream. What does it mean, and where did it come from?

Meet Alexander Medin, a long-time yoga instructor and past boxer. In 2012, he began teaching yoga to prisoners. He wanted to give these prisoners an opportunity to experience healing and growth through yoga. What started as a small group of prisoners quickly expanded to groups of twenty or more attending Medin’s prison yoga classes.

The success of this program ultimately led to Medin teaching yoga to addicts as well. His goal? To empower criminals and addicts to cope and make positive changes in their lives. Yoga can have a powerful effect on anyone’s life and that power isn’t limited to any one demographic.

In fact, it makes sense that someone who has struggled with addictions or their own past would have even more to gain from a yoga practice. Medin comments that those who took his classes were surprised at the effects of their new yoga practice.

Benefits like a greater sense of calm, better sleep, and managing addictions were all advantages found through yoga. Service trips to India were planned and addictions were beaten. Now some of those original class participants are teaching other prisoners yoga.

Alexander’s Ted Talk tells us about these compelling success stories, and offers inspirational accounts of the healing and transformative powers that yoga has for any and all who practice it. Thanks for watching!

Do you know anyone who has struggled with crime or addiction, and used yoga to overcome it? Please share your inspiring stories in the comments below.

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Ashley Stern

A Wisconsinite at heart, Ashley is currently a student working on her masters in creative writing in Edinburgh, Scotland. She’s a writer, a reader, traveler, a nerd, and a lover of life. Ashley is new to yoga and developing her practice from her student flat. She drinks a lot of tea and even more coffee. She’s a dog person, wears lots of purple, and believes in Laini Taylor’s wise words, “Cake as a way of life.”

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