My Experience with Yoga

Dean Ritchie (a prisoner in Her Majesty's Prison, Tasmania)

(The light of yoga dawns on a prisoner in Her Majesty's Prison, Risdon, Tasmania.)

Words do not come easily as I write this, but deep down inside, something is urging me to make my experience known. Let me introduce myself to you, my name is Dean Ritchie. I am a young man of average means and up until nine months ago my life has been a living hell. I have had many downfalls, sometimes a drunk, a drug addict, a liar, a thief.

I have tried to take my life on four different occasions. Like most I have searched for that elusive something and never did find it. My life ran into endless bouts of nothingness. Along with that, at a young age, I developed psychic powers. Being able to pick up on other people's thoughts and illnesses, further activated my already disturbed mind. Needless to say, my whole being soon became so unbalanced, I completely lost control. My mind had built up an incredible barrier. I became introverted, rejected all people, denied any kind of love, and detested authority.

In 1974, I was convicted for the first time. I was charged with stealing two cars. I was sent to prison for nine months, and when I was released, I fell into the same old patterns again. I exploded five times more than I had the first time, and I almost took another man's life. I have now been in prison for almost six years. Throughout my prison term I have learned a great deal, in fact, this has brought about many changes in me. In November 1979, we were informed that we were going to have a yoga teacher. I then joined the class more out of curiosity. Over a period of time, I had been hearing a great deal about yoga. I thought that yoga was, in fact, tying yourself up in knots and would be a lot of rubbish. How wrong I was.

Within the short period of time i have been in the class, I have learned so much about myself. My whole person has slowly started to change; this I have become aware of only of late, I want so much to know the pure love of yoga and that, in fact, was my resolve. To know the pure love of yoga has a purpose, one that I know I can reach. When I look back on my past life and realize that when I came to a dead end I was only able to see what was in front of me - never did I look up, sideways or down, and now I know that the end is the beginning. When you reach the end then you must step up one more step, for the end is the beginning of the next stage of your coming closer to knowing yoga.

How hard it is to not dwell on past or future events. My life has been ruled by the past and the future, never being at this point of time. Our teacher tells us that it may take many months or even years to be able to go from, one stage to the next. I care not how long it may take to reach those levels, so long as I'm able to share it with mankind. I thank you for sending your yoga teacher to us and for passing on to him your knowledge and your love so as he may pass it on to those who are in great need of it. He has opened for me a new and beautiful way of living life as all life in this universe should be lived.

Seeking the dream
Of life's fulfilment
Soaring free
No ties to bind
Nothing to hide
The quest of every man.