I was first introduced to yoga when I was 16 years old, but it wasn’t until I was 21 years old and living at a rehabilitation facility for the second time that I started to take it seriously.
While I struggled, for a time, to stay clean and sober, yoga was something I’d always managed to hold on to. It became an important tool in my life, not only as a form of exercise, but as a coping skill. I used deep breathing techniques to manage stress, and practiced yoga when I knew I needed a physical release. During difficult periods of time when everything around me felt unstable, I found that I had all of the “gym and equipment” I needed right at my fingertips, and I practiced in places like rehabs, jail, small apartments and outside.
Years later—and well into my own personal and successful recovery from drug and alcohol abuse—I still find that one of the best ways to get out of my head is to go further into my body. Yoga made it practical and accessible for me to get "into my heart." Heart opening poses like back-bends and sitting in “lotus” with my palms pressed at the heart allowed me to actually feel a physical shift in my body, and, therefore, I was able to believe it was real. I found that I was better able to connect with my emotions when I was regularly connecting with my body. Using these healthy tools instead of relying on harmful substances to do the job was liberating and empowering and helped me create a firm foundation of sober reference.
In 2007, I attended The Kripalu School of Yoga and received my 200-hour Yoga Teacher's Certificate. It was there that I also learned the art of Pranayama, a series of ancient breathing techniques scientifically proven to create physiological changes in the mind and body. This was far more advanced and specific than the simple mindful deep breathing I was doing before, and, today, are the same techniques I use to help others change their state of consciousness efficiently and naturally. Later, I experienced the power of chanting through the chakras, which has helped my clients become more open to change and empowered them to learn how to heal themselves.
In my work today, I also use some of the "universal spiritual principles" that have been practiced for nearly a century in 12-step recovery programs, I do not require anyone I work with to “work the steps.” I believe that would be disruptive to creating an authentic and sacred space. It is important to note that one does not have to work the steps in order to practice principles, spiritual or otherwise (such as honesty, kindness and courage.) I am more than willing to help someone integrate such principles into their recovery regardless of whether they work the steps or not. There are other pathways to recovery, and as a Coach, I am simply there to help a person in their own recovery, in a way that feels comfortable and natural.
Over the years, I have taught people individually and in groups, in my home, in studios and at different treatment facilities. Even while seated in chairs, it is possible for people to practice breathing exercises, work with the chakras and meditate without the physical movement component of yoga. This gentler model is especially useful for clients who prefer not to incorporate the physically challenging parts of traditional yoga classes.
These tools—yoga, pranayama, chakra chanting, affirmation, intention, prayer, meditation and others—supported and enhanced my own program of recovery, and I believe that they can do the same for you. As your Coach, I believe in creating a non-judgmental space for true healing to begin on terms that feel comfortable and manageable for you.
I may ask you to consider certain challenges, but the next step of the journey is always yours to take. I hope I can help guide you, as I, too, always remain teachable. While I am certified as a Recovery Coach, I am still in school actively pursuing my CASAC.
All of what I teach has been personally effective for me and professionally effective for those I work with.
Recovery in all of its forms is a beautiful and amazing thing. I consider it an honor and a privilege to be able to help anyone in anyway at any stage in their journey.