Over 10 representatives from the USA, England, and other European countries were present, presenting various aspects of using yoga as a tool to improve the lives of incarcerated individuals.
- I focused on describing the scientific evidence available today on how yoga affects the behavior, mental health, and character of individuals with mental illness and criminal behavior, says Nóra Kerekes, Professor of Medical Science (Psychiatry) at University West in Sweden.
Nóra Kerekes' work has focused on exploring how regular yoga affects the behavior, mental health, and character of individuals with mental illness and criminal behavior, and she was invited to this prestigious gathering because of her groundbreaking work in the field. She talked about her research and the scientific evidence available.
- Yoga has the capacity to improve responsibility and self-control. We see increased character maturity in those who practice yoga regularly that we do not otherwise see in people in prison or in forensic psychiatric settings.
- We also measure aggressive behavior (directed to self or to others), antisocial behavior, different aspects of psychological distress, changes in emotional states, attention, and impulse control. From all these aspects, we have measured a significant improvement specifically linked to yoga.
Nóra Kerekes has a strong commitment to the research field and her work as the research director of the "Prison Yoga Project" Europe. She has been a key figure in planning and conducting the largest randomized controlled trial (RCT) in a prison setting and the first study in forensic psychiatry, both conducted in Sweden. Furthermore, she is now responsible for project management of a new RCT in all HMPP female prisons (His Majesty’s Prison and Probation Services) in the UK.
- Five years ago, when I was promoted to professor, I promised that I would dedicate my research, teaching, and clinical work to alleviate people's suffering. These rare but fantastic occasions when my work is heard and recognized by leading international authorities give me energy and strengthen my perseverance to continue the daily fight for this goal.
Nóra Kerekes' work has not only received international attention but has also demonstrated the potential of using yoga as a tool for rehabilitation and improving the quality of life for incarcerated individuals and individuals suffering from psychiatric diagnoses.
Nóra Kerekes, Professor of Medical Science (Psychiatry) at University West, Sweden, firstname.lastname@example.org , +46739013403