The first time Marshawn Feltus tried yoga was in prison. He immediately felt the physical benefits of the practice, and the mental and spiritual benefits eventually crept up on him, too. He started a prison yoga program that served more than 800 inmates before he was released from prison and returned to his Chicago neighborhood where he created ACT Yoga (for Awareness, Change, Triumph), a community yoga project.
In the summer of 2018, Marshawn received the Good Karma Award from Yoga Journal. He will accept the award, which comes with a $10,000 cash prize, at the 2019 Yoga Service Conference at Omega. Marshawn plans to use the money to improve ACT’s website, offer more pop-up yoga sessions on the street, and train additional teachers.
His goal is to break the lineage of trauma by helping at-risk people in jails, schools, community centers, churches, and other institutions around Chicago achieve the kind of mind-body-spirit balance he has found.
“Our concept is simple: to get people to look at what they can do with as little as they have,” he says.