A judge in Houston, Texas, USA, has ordered a man convicted of striking his wife to attend weekly yoga classes, in a case that has been reported around the world. Mr James Lee Cross was given probation rather than a jail term with the agreement of his wife, on certain conditions. As well as being required to perform community service and attend anger management counselling, Mr Cross was also ordered to attend weekly yoga classes for one year.
In explaining his unusual sentence, Judge Larry Standley said, "Why did I impose yoga? I imposed it because I know people that are really into it, and it appears to help them." The judge also said, "It is calming just being in the presence of people that are really into yoga. And if it takes effect, I think it will help this individual."
Mr Cross struck his wife during an argument which arose between the couple about the wife's drinking problem. Judge Standley said, "He was trying to get a hold of her because she has a problem. I thought this would help him realize that he only has control over himself," and "That is really where all anger comes from, control." The judge also noted that the man's wife says she thinks this is good for her husband and will help get to the root of the psychology of his actions.
Mr Cross will be required to report back to the judge on his compliance, including his attendance at yoga classes. If he does not fulfil the conditions of his probation, he will be required to go to jail for one year. Mr Cross said, "I'm not very familiar with yoga. From what I understand it may help in a couple ways, not only as far as mentally settling, but maybe also a little weight loss."