Janell Hartman, true to her name, has a big heart. She has been teaching Vinyasa Yoga at FHC since we first started six years ago. In the early years, she volunteered with us, while we got established. Her knowledge, experience, and love for the art of yoga have been a life-changing for many. Besides her involvement with the FHC, she is spreading her love and knowledge of yoga to critical programs like Yoga Behind Bars and offers Teacher Trainings in the Seattle area. Basically, Janelle is a rock star and we wanted to share a few things about her with you all.
What drew you to volunteer to teach with Yoga Behind Bars?
Early 2013 I happened to answer a call for help one evening at a friend’s restaurant when one of their servers was sick. They were hosting a fundraiser for Yoga Behind Bars and one of the guest speakers was a former inmate who had been released from prison a couple of years prior. She shared how the yoga classes and teachers had impacted her life inside and helped her integrate when she got out. I was moved to tears. That was it for me. I got involved right away.
What inspires you the most about teaching in prison?
There are very few folks who ever get to know themselves as well as those who’ve been to very dark places, have been ostracized, and experienced profoundly deep conflict. When that degree of darkness is navigated and transformed, the light of that redemption can guide a suffering world into balance. I witness the power of ethics and soul development at the core of the ancient Yogic teachings changing these guys in a big way. They’re forging true freedom independent of their circumstances. They’re turning around and sharing it. That inspires me.