Transformation Yoga & Eastern State Penitentiary


On the first Tuesday of every month, Eastern State Penitentiary hosts an event called The Searchlight Series. This Tuesday Eastern State Penitentiary featured one of Breaking Cycles Community Partners, Transformation Yoga. The topic discussed was yoga therapy and its positive effect on inmates with trauma.

I have been in communication with Transformation Yoga for seven months and today I was able to finally meet the masterminds behind the organization. Their mission is to offer self-empowerment tools for people suffering from trauma, addiction, incarceration, or war. 

Transformation Yoga was founded by Mike Huggins who is a graduate from Villanova University. He earned his CPA and MBA from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania and quickly climbed the ranks into the C-suite. Most would say he was living the American Dream. However, in 2011, this dream landed Mike and three fellow executives in a nine-month prison sentence. More than five years after Mike left his former company they were being investigated regarding a particular medical device that ultimately led to Mike receiving a misdemeanor conviction by the courts. Mike was sent to the Federal Detention Center in Philadelphia and was later transferred to the Lewisburg Federal Prison Camp. 

Once incarcerated, Mike struggled mentally, physically and emotionally. Little did he know at that time, developing his yoga practice would be his saving grace. Mike tapped into yoga with a passion and discovered it provided a vehicle for growth in the most unlikely place. It was a tangible way for him to find comfort in an uncomfortable situation and enabled him to clearly see the best and worst aspects of human existence. It gave him the opportunity to return to his true self and follow the direction of his heart. That is when Mike started a grassroots effort that evolved into a comprehensive yoga program within the prison. AMAZING!

Below is the yoga class the Mike Huggins instructed on the Eastern State Penitentiary State lawn. Enjoy!

June 07, 2016

Brittany Doherty