"We landed on working with people who are incarcerated in the correctional system in West Virginia and survivors of trauma," Julian said.
They met up with the commissioner of the W.Va. Division of Corrections, Jim Rubenstein, who helped arrange meetings with the staff at Lakin.
"I'm really looking forward as we get this up and running. I really saw this as a win-win for our females," Rubenstein said. "To not only get the physical aspects of the yoga and the healthier lifestyle for them, but also with Sue and Barbara's background, their messages they will be able to deliver during these classes as far as self-esteem. A lot of the females we have in the system have been in abusive relationships."
Julian expanded on the rollout of the programs and its benefits, headquartered out of a small office on the third floor of Covenant House.
"We're piloting this program over the course of this year," she said. "At the end of the year, we will have facilitated about 72 classes. We will use that feedback from the women who are incarcerated to guide how we move forward with this work at Laotong Yoga.
"Meditation and yoga do hopefully bring inmates into the moment. Life is where they are at right now -- even in prison. And yoga and meditation are tools to help people become aware of the moment and to live in the present moment. And inquire: what does it mean to me to be fully present here in prison?"
Steinke, who noted she and Julian are on the hunt for sponsors, supporters and grants, mused on what the duo hopes Laotong Yoga can bring to women who for the moment in their lives find themselves behind bars.
"To us, yoga is more than just going through the motions. It's feeling the body, listening to it. Slowing it down. Finding compassion for yourself and others," she said. "It felt like the right place for us to start, to bring this practice into the prison system."doug...@cnpapers.com or 304-348-3017.