ASFfall2016

Bend But Don’t Break Yoga is being used to help people maintain recovery and avoid relapse

Yoga is no longer exercise your annoying, health-conscious friend won’t stop talking about.The ancient practice is now being used to help people recover from addiction. While scholars estimate yoga was developed sometime around 300 to 400 B.C., the practice hasn’t stopped changing over the last 2,000 years. A new wave of yogis are now helping people in recovery connect their spiritual and physical sides through yoga by combining the practice with more traditional 12-step elements. “It’s just a way of coming back to a sense of wholeness,” says Nikki Myers, a yoga therapist who helped develop the 12-step yoga system. “We use yoga as a process in order to bring that reintegration.”

Myers says she developed the system primarily as a means of relapse prevention. She says a typical 12-step yoga session would begin the same way most 12- step meetings do, with a focus on sharing and discussion of important recovery topics. Once the “meeting” portion of the session is over, the group will then move into a series of yoga poses designed to help participants focus on their physical recovery. “A focus needs to be on the body- based piece as well as the cognitive piece in order for wholeness to really be manifested,”Myers says. “Once you include those things, the whole idea is that these will begin to offer us a set of tools that we can use both on the mat in the yoga practice and off the mat when the triggers of life show up.”

“It’s just a way of coming back to a sense of wholeness.” - Nikki Myers, yoga therapist

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