Prisoners who practise yoga behave better, an Oxford University study suggests.

Researchers found that after a 10-week yoga course, the prisoners’ mood improved, their stress was reduced and their behaviour more controlled than those following a standard prison routine.

Dr Amy Bilderbeck, who co-led the study at the Departments of Experimental Psychology and Psychiatry, said yoga could save money.

She said: “The suggestion is that yoga is helpful for these prisoners. This was only a preliminary study, but nothing has been done like this before.

“Offering yoga sessions in prisons is cheap – much cheaper than other mental health interventions.”