For 136 inmates at the Nagpur central jail, yoga has come to mean more than just stretching, deep breathing and meditation – it is their ticket to get out of prison early.
On the occasion of International Yoga Day, jail authorities announced the news which follows the state government’s recent directive – three months of a jailed convict’s sentence will be pardoned if they practice yoga regularly and pass an exam.
Conducted by the Patanjali Yoga Centre, jail authorities hold the written and practical yoga exam in May and October. The scheme was introduced this January, and since, the centre has been regularly holding yoga training sessions for the felons. In May, 191 prisoners – 167 males and 24 females – took the Yogasana exam, of which 136 passed it, jail superintendent Yogesh Desai said.
Union minister for transport and shipping, Nitin Gadkari took part in the Yoga shibir held on Tuesday morning to mark International Yoga Day.
Gadkari, who led Nagpurians in a yoga session, spoke of the benefits of the practice, including its health benefits, finding inner peace and developing one’s personality.
The United Nations instituted June 21 as International Yoga Day last year, and has drawn large participation from people across the globe. Public sessions of yoga were held at several locations, including outside the United Nations Secretariat and New York’s Time Square and at the Great Wall of China.