Prince Charles’ charity, the Prince’s Foundation, gives money to prisons for youthful offenders in order to support teaching them yoga and meditation, the Express is reporting.
The Princes’ Foundation is a sort of meta-charity, which itself hands out money to various charities that the Prince supports. One such recipient of some of the money from Charles’ charity — in 2018 — was the Prison Phoenix Trust. The Prison Phoenix Trust provides funding to prisons, allowing them to teach yoga, meditation, and “mindful breathing” to the inmates.
“[Yoga and meditation] encourages prisoners in the development of their spiritual welfare, through the practices of meditation and yoga, working with silence and the breath,” according to report from the Prince’s Foundation.
Further, the charity claims that the practices can help make the prisoners “less angry and aggressive,” can help them sleep better, and can aid in developing self-discipline and concentration.
It remains unclear how much money the trust received from the charity; the foundation’s 2018 annual report revealed only that the Prison Phoenix Trust received a “small grant” from the Prince’s Foundation.
It’s not just within the U.K. that prisoners are being taught yoga and other forms of meditation. According to a July 2018 report in Yoga Journal, it’s being practiced in the United States as well. At one Maryland women’s prison, for example, so popular is the program that some of the women are themselves learning to become yoga instructors. Inmate Keri says that the program has brought her immense relief from her anxiety.
“Yoga has changed my life in a lot of ways. I’m so glad I’m doing this, for the confidence-building and the physical aspects. I have mad anxiety — I’d give my life for a Xanax right now — but I don’t need it as much with yoga.”
“Anything positive that is in prison will benefit everyone”.— Susanna Yogi G (@Trattina) January 7, 2019
The artwork is from one of my Yoga students who attends my weekly classes in prison. He has elegantly drawn the ten Surya Namaskar (Sun Salutations) ???? @HMPErlestoke pic.twitter.com/da5A1yTO5g
Meanwhile, yoga is something of a big thing — at least for a couple of the members of the royal family. Charles’ wife, Camilla Parker-Bowles is reportedly a big fan, as is Charles’ daughter-in-law, per HuffPo, the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.
As for Charles, though he will one day be the titular head of the Church of England — a position which requires its bearer to be a Christian — he is one of the more open-minded royals when it comes to religion and spirituality.
For example, according to an August 2018 report in the Express, the Prince of Wales has been an open advocate for the rights of his subjects to practice their own faiths.
“He has praised Islam, Sikhism, Buddhism, the Greek Orthodox church and other un-Orthodox beliefs, going against the traditional stance taken since the reign of Henry VIII.”