Master some yoga poses, pass an exam and get free from the prison earlier! Prison officers in western India have come up with this novel way for convicts to secure early release, revealed an official.
The prison chief responsible for the program said, "Inmates at Yerwada Central Jail in Maharashtra state can cut their sentences by up to three months if they impress wardens in the ancient Indian practice."
Bhushankumar Upadhyay, additional director general of the Maharashtra prison department said, "There's a written and physical exam and those who excel will be given remission with respect to their performance. We have started the written tests and the practical examination will commence in January 2016. We are going to hold two exams a year and prisoners can get a maximum of three months early release. The program was aimed at improving their mental and physical well being."
Upadhyay said, "Yoga has been found to be very positive in harmonizing our mental and physical energy. It has played a great role in the formation of the soul."
The initiative at the prison in Pune, near Mumbai, is the latest in a long line of yogic programs to have started since India's yoga-loving leader Narendra Modi was elected prime minister in May 2014.
He has set up a ministry dedicated to promoting yoga and other traditional Indian treatments, and also started free yoga classes for his government's three million bureaucrats and their families.
Indian scholars believe yoga dates back 5,000 years, based on archaeological evidence of poses found inscribed on stones and references to Yogic teachings in the ancient Hindu scriptures of the Vedas.
Its popularity worldwide is at an all-time high and in June 2015 millions marked the first International Yoga Day.