Inside-Out Program Explores Social Justice Through Yogic Path

By schwartzsa | August 29, 2012

What happens when you put a dozen students in a room with a dozen incarcerated individuals to practice yoga? It’s up to Arcadians to find out. “Living Your Yoga” is a course offered through the national Inside-Out program. It takes students behind the walls of the Philadelphia Detention Center to gain a deeper understanding of the criminal justice system, yoga and meditation through a marriage of theoretical knowledge and practical experience.

Founded in 1997 by Lori Pompa of Temple University, the Inside-Out program was established at Arcadia University in 2003. It provides students with the opportunity to learn a great deal from an in-depth look at the world through the inmates’ eyes as well as experience prison life on some level. Bringing college students together with incarcerated men and women to study as peers in a seminar behind prison walls, participants exchange ideas and perceptions the criminal justice system, corrections, and imprisonment.

“Students explore the yogic path as it relates to the self, and society as a whole through the investigation of cultural aspects, health benefits and relevancy of yoga to modern day life,” says Chandra Nerbecki, Adjunct Professor of Theater Arts and Acting. “In addition to participating in Hatha Yoga classes, students analyze and synthesize the philosophy and precepts of yoga with contemporary literary texts and ideas.”

Inside-Out courses fulfill the Arcadia’s Global Connections Experience requirement. Students must gain permission from Dr. Sheryl L. Van Horne, Assistant Professor and Director of Criminal Justice, Global Studies and Emergency Management, and abide by the rules and procedures of the prison and the Inside-Out program. Read more about the national Inside-Out program.