My name is Anneke Lucas and I am the founder of Liberation Prison Yoga. 

In 2010, I came across a photo on social media that moved me to the core. It was a photo of a prisoner, hands pressed together, eyes closed. The photo had been taken in a yoga class at San Quentin. I connected with James Fox who runs the yoga program there and is the founder of the Prison Yoga Project.  James happened to be looking to conduct a two-day workshop in New York on how to bring yoga to prisons, which I ended up organizing. At the end of the workshop, many participants were ready to go inside. I had found out by then that there was no organization bringing yoga into prisons in all of New York. It had never occurred to start such an organization, but there clearly was a need to organize the volunteer teachers. Over the next few years I started several programs at Rikers Island and brought along teachers from that first training with James.

The first prison I entered to teach was Bayview Correctional Facility, a medium security facility located in Chelsea in New York City, which has since closed. I was amazed at how right it felt to be there. I had experienced extreme trauma in my childhood, sold into sex trafficking. I had been incarcerated and vilified. I related deeply to the women in the class, many of whom lacked the privilege that had allowed me to devote my entire adult life to healing from my extreme past. Finally, the many years of healing I had experienced made sense, now that I was able to share the tools that had supported me on my journey.  

By 2014, I was volunteering full time and needed to create an organization around the mission. This became Liberation Prison Yoga, incorporated on September 12, 2014.

Liberation Prison Yoga quickly grew, and I had to learn the ropes, this being my first venture into any type of business. On the program side, I developed ways to effectively share the tools of yoga, mindfulness and meditation, based on my own past experiences with those people who had gotten through to me when I had been a young adult shut down from trauma. Liberation Prison Yoga teachers could become those people, unconditionally present, focused first on making a human connection and share yoga only once it has meaning to the participants in the program. 

Four years later, we serve thousands of people each year whose lives are affected by incarceration through a devoted team of teachers committed to the mission, sharing the empowerment that is possible with yoga, offering agency and free choice, which in turn foster positivity and liberation.

I find that there is nothing more beautiful than this work. In my childhood no one came to give me hope. So, hope is what I have to offer. I witness the miracles that arise out of that hope every day. You may not quite feel the ripples yet, but there is deep healing occurring inside the dorms and facilities where we serve, that are bound to make this world a better place.

Thank you for your interest. Let us know if you need any information. 

Read Anneke’s blog posts

here

LPY Workshops

Bowery Yoga, Liberation Prison Yoga Weekend Training, New York City, Jan. 26-27, 2019

Judson Memorial Church, Liberation Prison Yoga Weekend Training, New York City, Nov. 3-4, 2018

Judson Memorial Church, Trauma Informed Training,New York City, Sept. 22, 2018

Liberation Prison Yoga training at Yoga Dimensions, Newtown CT. Sept. 29-30. Registration opening soon.

Omega Institute,  Training, Rhinebeck, NY, August 5-10, 2018

3 Jewels Yoga, Yoga For Trauma, New York City, July 21, 2018

Bowery Yoga, Liberation Prison Yoga Weekend Training, New York City, April 28-29

All Yoga, Yoga for Trauma workshop, New York City, March 24, 2018

Bowery Yoga, Liberation Prison Yoga Weekend Training, New York City, Feb. 3-4, 2018

Laughing River Yoga, Liberation Prison Yoga Weekend Training, Burlington, VT, Jan. 26-27-28, 2018

Bowery Yoga, Liberation Prison Yoga Weekend Training, New York City, Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 2017

Harlem Yoga Studio, Yoga for Trauma, New York City, May 21, 2017

Bowery Yoga, Liberation Prison Yoga Weekend Training, New York City, March 11-12, 2017

Harlem Yoga Studio, Yoga for Trauma workshop, January 11, 2017

Ashtanga Yoga Upper West Side, Liberation Prison Yoga Weekend Training, October 15, 16, 2016

Judson Memorial Church, Liberation Prison Yoga Weekend Training, New York City, NY June 18,19, 2016

Harlem Yoga Studio, Yoga for Trauma, New York City, NY, Sept. 11, 2016

Yoga Teachers Association Westchester, Yoga for Trauma, Briarcliff, NY, Sept. 10, 2016

Harlem Yoga Studio, Yoga for Trauma, New York City, NY, April 30, 2016

Ashtanga Yoga Upper West Side, Liberation Prison Yoga Weekend Training, New York City, NY March 26 , 2016

NYC Department of Probation, Introduction to Mindfulness Training, New York City, NY January 30, 2016

Judson Memorial Church, Liberation Prison Yoga Training, New York City, NY, Dec. 5, 2016

Ashtanga Yoga New York, Liberation Prison Yoga Training, New York City, NY, June 14, 2015

Ashtanga Yoga Upper West Side, Liberation Prison Yoga Training, New York City, NY,  April 18 , 2015

Hosh Yoga, Yoga for Trauma, Brooklyn, NY March 22, 2015

Liberation Prison Yoga Training, Yoga for Trauma, New York City, NY, Nov. 20, 2014

Home Yoga Experience, Yoga for Trauma, Mahwah, NY April 5, 2014