James Fox, Founder of the Prison Yoga Project, Chanda and some of the San Quentin PYP sangha

Prison Yoga Project

I began teaching at San Quentin State Prison through Prison Yoga Project in 2015 to offer the vital and life-changing practice of yoga. Teaching at San Quentin has informed my personal yoga practice as well as how I work with students on the outside.

Offering yoga to incarcerated populations is an adjunct to prison reform, restorative justice, and social justice as participants cultivate greater self-awareness through this mindfulness-based, trauma-informed practice. 

Prison Yoga Project is working to reform the criminal justice system from the inside out. We believe the approach of Restorative Justice, instead of the current punitive approach, will create a more humane and effective system for all people involved. Reform is a necessary step to bringing about a dramatic reduction in the size and cost of mass incarceration, financially and in terms of human suffering. (Source: https://prisonyoga.org/).

Inside Edition came inside to film one of our Prison Yoga Project classes. I shared with their audience a little bit about my background, why I got involved, and how meaningful this work is for incarcerated populations. The mass incarceration of 2.3 million Americans is unjust and I am committed to supporting their liberation both within themselves as well as from these institutions. Please watch and share with your communities. Follow Prison Yoga Project to learn more about our work, attend our trainings or donate to support our efforts to provide free books and trauma-informed, mindfulness-based yoga to men and women in jails and prisons in our country.



“Punishing people through mass incarceration isn’t making our communities safer, it’s just making people suffer. We advocate for a different approach to getting ‘tough on crime’ and it starts with compassion.”

Veterans’ Group Experience (VGX)

It is a great honor to support the men and women who served in the United States military. Many of these individuals have returned home only to be haunted by the trauma they experienced. In my work, I provide an evidenced-based, Integrative Exercise (IE) program combining aerobic and resistance exercise, with mindfulness-based practices suited to veterans with PTSD. The San Francisco VA Health Care System (SFVAHCS) has over 200 active researchers with research projects currently conducted at the SFVAHCS. Their research would not be possible without the dedication and commitment of the volunteers who participate in the studies in partnership with scientists and researchers to advance the health of veterans.

If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of PTSD, please consider joining a study that is conducted by the Stress & Health Research Center located at the San Francisco VA Medical Center. Veterans who meet the following criteria: Age 18-75, and physically able to participate can join the study and will be paid $400 to complete the study with a free 6-month membership to the YMCA and a free exercise/PTSD Recovery classes for 12 weeks. Participants will also receive travel reimbursement.

This study will offer two kinds of classes for veterans with symptoms of PTSD, and test their effectiveness:

  • Integrative Exercise, incorporating aerobic strength training with mindful breathing at the Embarcadero YMCA
  • PTSD Recovery Classes, offering practical facts about PTSD treatment and recovery at the San Francisco VA Medical Center

If you are interested in participating in an SFVAHCS study, please call 415-221-4810 ext. 24578.