Getting inmates to behave themselves is as simple as having them learn how to say “om,” according to a Swedish study.
Researchers divided a group of 152 prisoners at nine facilities and had one half do weekly yoga, while the rest had other workouts.
Those prisoners who took part in yoga reported increased attention spans along with feeling less antisocial and less impulsive, the scientists said. The inmates also slept better, were less aggressive and were less self-destructive, the study found.
The yoga for prisoners movement even has a name: “crim yoga,” and a YouTube channel. About 30 jails and detention centers in Sweden offer classes, and up to 6,000 prisoners have participated since it launched in 2008.
The study, commissioned by Sweden’s Prison and Probation Service, is a first for the country. A University of Oxford found similar positive benefits for prisoners doing yoga in their own 2013 study on the topic.