Over the past two years, Deuchar has conducted in-depth interviews with Danish men with a history of violent offending and who had recent experience of participating in two Yoga programs, Breathe Smart and Prison Smart.
He notes that Scotland and Denmark have comparable population sizes, but very different violent offending rates with Denmak reporting much lower rates of violent crime than Scotland. The difference between the two countries is Yoga. Though skeptical about doing yoga asana and pranayama (breath work) due to perceived feminization, male prison inmates agreed to participate. Deuchar found:
"Longer-term participants in the programmes now associated masculinity with domestic and family roles, instead of physicality, aggression and violence. As one ex-offender reflected, 'I realise now that being macho doesn’t necessarily involve hitting people or walking around with a knife ... it means taking care of your family.' Another told me how he had come to appreciate that he hadn’t been born ' a ‘tough guy’ but as a creature who was 'full of love and creativity”. Through engaging in breathing and meditation practices, he now felt that this propensity towards love and compassion was coming to the fore again."
(read more: www.thescotsman.com)