Restorative Justice and lessons from Bikram Yoga, skill practice for both.

I have taken two Bikram Yoga classes in Fort Collins, Colorado.  As I have gotten back into this process, I have a few comparisons to restorative justice.  Change, 100% effort and working on the edge.

Change.  When you are in the steaming heat holding one of the 26 postures, stretching your body as you can, then you hear the teacher say “change”, it is such a relief.  I did another post here on it.  As a split second response to change occurs, I thought of how quickly people’s hearts change in restorative justice.  The hearing of another’s story really does change a person.

100%.  In Bikram, in between floor poses, we do a pose called savasana, or dead man’s pose.  You lay on the floor and relax.  It is a posture, and as last nights teacher said, when your mind has left the room, your body has left the posture.  The teacher before would remind us, 100% relaxation.  In these times of focus on not focusing, I associated it with other life experiences.  Circle listening, or “story-listening” happens like this.  In 100%.

The edge.  Some of the savasana happens on your stomach, head to the side.  I always try to find a focal point.  Then I try to find a tiny edge of the focal point.  A spot on the ceiling, then the edge of the spot.  Or the corner of my neighbors yoga mat, the very, very corner.  Then, while usually fighting the response to pass out or puke, I start to have a mind wander.  Most recently as I was considering why I love to look at the very edge between two things, it reminded me of (what else, shocker here) Restorative Justice.

There is a huge difference between the victim and the offender.  Yet the edge between the two is often closer than it might appear.  Victims have said of the offender, he was a regular guy, just like me.  This was of the offender who drove drunk, ran over the probation officer, who had stopped to help another car along the highway.  The victim, now left without a left arm spoke at a conference and advocates for other amputee’s.

The crime “trauma” bond should not be ignored.  Often it is an involuntary relationship between two people, formed because of the incident of harm.  Responding and working with trauma is its own speciality, walking the edge, for both victim and offender to repair harm or heal trauma take a special skill set.

Are you a restorative justice specialist or practitioner?  Are you working on skill-sets needed for Restorative Justice in real life?