JSJ Florida Canine Prison Program, Part 2

Adele and Scooter Leas write about “Jin Shin Jyutsu in Florida – Canine Prison Program” in The Main Central Jin Shin Jyutsu Newsletter, issue Number 71, Winter 2011:



A short time later, I found myself in a large warehouse-like space with the first of two groups of inmates I would see that day. There were about sixty men in beige scrubs with more tattoos than I had ever seen and thirty Labrador puppies between the ages of eight weeks and thirteen months. The noise and energy level was overwhelming, and while I am used to dog classes starting off more chaotically than human JSJ classes, I was pretty unsure about this. You know the percentage of men in most JSJ classes. Now I was the only female in sight. And the vast majority of dogs who come to my normal classes are older, often with arthritis and hip issues. “Keep exhaling,” I told myself.

I had the men sit, dogs at their feet, and start by focusing on their own breath, something that was completely new to many of them. Exhale down the front – let go. Inhale up the back – receive the purified, unlimited abundance of the universe. (Would they ever believe there was unlimited abundance?) Suggesting that they “Give themselves a big hug” felt like pushing it, so I asked them instead to hold their right thumbs. Mary tells us, “The THUMBS are like leaders in a parade. If the THUMB is not in rhythm, then all that follow the leader will get out of step, out of harmony. (Self-Help Book III: page 27) I asked them to bow their heads and close their eyes. One hundred twenty eyes stared back at me like I was crazy. So, I said, “O.K., I get it. You don’t close your eyes in prison, huh? Well, that’s O.K., I understand. The reason I asked you to close your eyes was to turn your focus inward instead of outward. You can do that with your eyes open.” Then slowly, quietly, we moved through holding each finger on the right hand, as I explained harmonizing the attitudes. And a miracle happened. Shoulders started dropping, some eyelids fluttered and closed. The very air in the room seemed to change, and with that the dogs all relaxed, resting quietly, some slumbering, even snoring.

I then asked the men to turn their focus to their left hands – to the past – and to reflect on which attitude many have presented the biggest challenge to them in their lives. I asked them to gently but firmly hold the corresponding finger to help harmonize that attitude of the past. There was a large man seated in front of me. Every inch of his arms and hands was covered in tattoos, and he looked very intimidating. I was spellbound as I watched him hold his left hand out and hover undecidedly between his index and middle fingers. In a few moments, he grasped his left index finger; his shoulders sank and a huge audible exhale escaped from him.

To be continued…


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