Stretching your Recovery Through Yoga

It should come as no surprise that yoga has entered the recovery lexicon.

Aruni Nan Futuronsky, a Kripalu Senior Life Coach and Kripalu Yoga teacher who teaches Yoga and Recovery: 12-Step Spirituality, says that the complementary relationship between the 12-Steps and yoga is a perfect marriage for healing. “Addiction is the ultimate checking out of the moment…Yoga, on and off the mat, is the checking in to reality,” she says. “Brilliantly, yoga and recovery programs work together to cover all bases.”

What Is Yoga?

Yoga is a technique that uses physical postures and controlled breathing to lengthen and strengthen the spine, increase flexibility, calm the mind, improve concentration, and promote patience. But yoga also contributes to a greater sense of control in more acute states when experiencing cravings, insomnia, and agitation, which are often associated with withdrawal. Classes are offered everywhere, from community centers, to luxury spas. You can even do your Downward Dog in the privacy of your own home. There is Ashtanga, Hatha, Viyasa, Kundalini yoga and more. Regular practice is recommended to fully experience the many benefits of yoga.

Yoga is a natural complement to addiction and recovery. “A 12-Step program approaches addiction at a cognitive level,” says Nikki Myers, co-founder of Y12SR, the Yoga of 12-Step Recovery,” and yoga includes a somatic approach. The combining of the two creates a model that truly addresses addiction as the physical, mental, and spiritual dis-ease that it is.”

“The Western approach to addiction generally falls into what is called cognitive behavioral therapy,” says Rolf Gates, master yoga teacher, addictions counselor, and author of Meditations from the Mat. Rolf further adds, “A yoga or meditation teacher draws one’s attention to the cause of suffering and supports the student in practicing new behaviors. As a result, the Eastern and Western approaches to addiction treatment are almost identical.

It’s time to take a deep breath, say “Om,” and stretch towards your new tomorrow.

Further Information:

Addiction, Recovery and Yoga (Film)

American Yoga Association (AYA) (

Yoga Recovery Online ( online yoga recovery videos by Kyczy Hawk, founder of Yoga and Recovery and creator of SOAR (Success Over Addiction and Relapse) program.