Irene Auma

Where did you you grow up? 
I was born and raised in Kariobangi slums, located near the second largest slum in Nairobi called Korogocho.

How did you get into yoga?
In 2009, while working I doing acrobats I met the co-founder of Africa Yoga Project; Paige Elenson and she invited me to a yoga teacher training at the coast.She brought yoga to my life and leadership.

Describe your upbringing in your family?
My teenage years were difficult. I had weight issues and growing up in my family was not easy. I was surrounded by so much crime and killing. Friends were killed by the police because they turned to crime.

What is it about yoga you love?
Acceptance. When I do yoga, I can surrender. I feel so much connection with my own body, and being myself.

Are you a mother?
I am a mother of a 9 year old daughter. I pay all the bills, I work, I cook, and clean and make sure we have food and shelter. My most important work is to make sure my daughter gets a better education.

What are your dreams?
Promote well being and holistic health.

How did you get into Prison Yoga?
"It takes uncommon openness to try yoga with a stranger, in a plain view of other inmates..and it takes courage...

Connect with an Inmate

Through Yoga....

The joy of teaching and the desire to serve people are my motivating forces for entering prison each time. It’s always a humbling experience, to be with men and women who you knowhave suffered so much and are still suffering and to think you might be having some slight impact. But every time I walk out of prison I know there is something good I have done...and one of my β€œ[Through inmate yoga student]I have discovered gratitude, and, rediscover more of it with each new day... I am grateful for life of service... 

How did you start Peace Within Prison Yoga?
I started PWPY in 2016 after graduating from Africa Yoga Project. I wanted to take yoga to a forgotten community and bring change, healing, justice and human connection, and PWPY was born.

Why are you so passionate about Prison Yoga?
To share my love for yoga with underprivileged people accept who they are and have the opportunity to make different choices. 90 percent of prisoners will get released at some point in time. We all want safer communities, so I feel its in service to all of us to teach to inmates, correctional officers, administration, and community how to become peaceful and connected. Yoga is the foundation for creating inner peace and connect with oneself and accept who we are.

How do you make a living?
I teach private yoga classes to individuals, kids yoga, prenatal, group classes, gyms and events.

What do you hope to achieve on this path of yoga and the prison community?
My goal is to bring yoga to prisons and make it accessible to the prison community. My intention is to teach the skills that promote healing, inspire personal transformation and positivity during imprisonment to promote rehabiltation upon release. My intention is to empower those that want to teach yoga themselves and carry on the work to others in their communities and eventually come back and teach in the prisons where they first experienced that peace and connection.