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Sunday, January 21, 2018
HomeHealthGeriatricsYoga for the Underserved: Parks, Recreations, Jails, Prisons, & Juvenile Halls

Yoga for the Underserved: Parks, Recreations, Jails, Prisons, & Juvenile Halls


De Jur by Sarit Photography

De Jur by Sarit Photography

This blog and HealthCetera interview continues a series exploring how integrative healing modalities are being shared with underserved populations. The focus today is yoga for the underserved.


Yoga originated in India at least 5,000 years ago, according to the American Yoga Association. The forms typically practiced in the United States, combining standard stretches and poses with breathing techniques, first caught on in the 1960s. But, until recently, many people had probably never heard of cultivating a yoga practice for maintaining and restoring health.


According to research done by the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, National Institutes of Health, National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health a carefully adapted set of yoga poses may reduce low-back pain and improve function, improve quality of life; reduce stress; lower heart rate and blood pressure; help relieve anxiety, depression, and insomnia; and improve overall physical fitness, strength, and flexibility.

In the United States yoga has become a booming industry. The newly released 2016 Yoga in America Study conducted by Yoga Journal and Yoga Alliance shows that the number of US yoga practitioners has increased to more than 36 million, up from 20.4 million in 2012, while annual practitioner spending on yoga classes, clothing, equipment, and accessories rose to $16 billion, up from $10 billion over the past four years. “The data tells a compelling story,” says Carin Gorrell, editor in chief of Yoga Journal. “More people than ever across all age groups are realizing the benefits of yoga, from stress relief to flexibility to overall well-being. Yoga is a thriving, growing industry.”

But by looking at the images of yoga in American media, the “industry” of yoga can appear quite exclusive. What opportunities are there for underserved populations, the elderly, and those in correctional facilities to participate in a practice that research has shown to improve so many aspects of health and well being?

On the first part of HealthCetera on September 8, 2016, Eve Adler RN RYT will speak with De Jur, a yoga teacher, flight attendant, and native Los Angeleno. De Jur has written for LA Yoga magazine, been featured in YogaGlo advertisements and the campaign “This is What a Yogi Looks Like,” volunteers in jails, prisons, and juvenile halls, and is a contributor to the upcoming book series Best Practices for Yoga with Incarcerated and Court Involved People by the Yoga Service Council.

So tune in on Thursday at 1:00pm to HealthCetera Radio on WBAI 99.5FM in New York City, or streaming online at; or you can listen to the interview anytime by clicking here:

Written by

Eve Adler, MA, RN, is an associate dean in the Health Sciences Department at Santa Monica College (SMC) and is a registered yoga teacher. She is committed to providing opportunities for education and personal expression to underserved populations interested in health and self-care. Ms. Adler works strategically and collaboratively with the SMC Communications and Media Studies Department, the Public Policy Institute, the Modern Languages Department and community-based Integrative Health Practitioners Program to broadcast the voices and issues of the underserved across multiple media platforms. Her work influences health policy by bringing the power of health care advocacy to the grassroots movements of communities in West Los Angeles.

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