Supporting Addiction Recovery with Yoga

Grace Allen
Issue Date: 
February, 2018
Article Body: 

A new partnership between Sacred Tree Yoga & Wellness Center in Norfolk and the S.A.F.E. Coalition is offering yoga classes for anyone struggling with addiction or in recovery from addiction, as well as for their parents and loved ones.
The free classes are held every Friday night.
According to Angela Cote, the owner of Sacred Tree Yoga & Wellness Center, yoga can offer respite for those struggling with substance use disorder. Similar to a twelve-step program, yoga provides a framework for enhanced healing and recovery.
Twelve-step programs are guiding principles designed to support people as they work to overcome a wide-range of dependency problems.
“Yoga is a discipline to help people, so we’re just approaching it from a different perspective,” said Cote. “Like a twelve-step model, we’re giving them the tools to help them on their path.”
Yoga for Recovery is offered from 7 to 8 p.m. on Fridays. The classes emphasize breathing, stretching, inspiration, relaxation, and meditation, while offering encouragement for self-forgiveness, self-love, and self-care, said Cote.
Heart with Hope Restorative Yoga is offered from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Fridays, and is intended for parents and loved ones of those suffering from addiction. Participants receive nurturing, comfort, inspirations and tools for daily living during a series of restorative poses.
No previous yoga experience is necessary for either class, emphasized Cote, who will be teaching them herself.
“When people hear the word yoga, they become intimidated if they’ve never done it,” she said. “This is a very approachable practice and we are really trying to simply give them the tools for healing.”
Cote explained that the practice of yoga can help connect the mind and body, alleviating stress and encouraging the healing process.
“One of the things that we teach primarily in yoga is mindfulness,” explained Cote. “Mindfulness is the ability to be in the present moment, releasing and letting go of those things that pull us into the past and those things that pull us into the future. Through breath, meditation, movement and inspiration, we can learn to really focus on the present moment, because that’s the only moment.”
Cote calls the partnership with the S.A.F.E. Coalition a “beautiful synergy.” The S.A.F.E. Coalition is a community non-profit dedicated to providing support, education, treatment options, and coping mechanisms for those affected by substance use disorder.
Jim Derrick, the president of the S.A.F.E. Coalition, affirmed the increased awareness of the health benefits of yoga.
“In speaking with people in our community, I found there was a real thirst for this type of thing for people in recovery from substance abuse disorder themselves, as well as parents and families of those that might be struggling,” said Derrick. “By offering this, we’re offering the public an education on alternative means of treatment, and we’re making it as accessible as possible by offering it free of charge.”
“I can’t tell you how excited I am that we’ve been able to come together to offer this for our community,” added Cote. “Every one of us knows somebody who is in recovery, or who is suffering. We want to create awareness that there’s support and help for people.”
Cote pointed out that yoga has been around for thousands of years. Its holistic approach to physical, mental, and spiritual well-being can empower those struggling with addiction if they participate with an open mind.
“Be curious,” urged Cote. “And through that curiosity we can find a path. And that pathway may be the answer to our problems.”
Sacred Tree Yoga & Wellness Center is located at 65 Holbrook Street in Norfolk. Participants are asked to dress comfortably, and to arrive 10-15 minutes before class start time. All props are provided.
For more information, contact Cote at [email protected].