‘Warriors’ to ‘Peacemakers’: Yoga, Breathing and Meditation in Denmark

  • Ross Deuchar


In this chapter I present insights from follow-up semi-structured interviews I conducted and wider informal discussions I had with a second sub-group of the Danish sample I referred to in Chapter  6. Some of these men were still incarcerated when I worked with them, but the majority had recently been released from prison. While most were former members of Danish street gangs and biker gangs, a minority had offending histories outwith gang structures. These men had regularly begun to participate in yoga exercises, dynamic breathing techniques and meditation practices, and in this chapter I combine their insights with some complementary ones from interviews I conducted with their coaches and instructors. I explore the way in which the men discussed and described the deeper cognitive and identity shifts they experienced through the practices, and the way in which they felt able to deal more effectively with negative and destructive emotions and the personal strains that had led them into gang violence and wider criminality. Additional, supplementary reflections on my own personal experiences of participating in the practices are also included in the form of fieldnotes from participant observation.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Interdisciplinary Research Unit on Crime, Policing and Social Justice, School of EducationUniversity of the West of ScotlandAyrUK

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