A local yogi is bringing one more tool to the addiction recovery process.
Yoga Grace in Qualicum Beach is offering Yoga of 12 Step Recovery. These meetings are meant to combine the ancient wisdom of yoga with the practical tools of the 12-step program. The program is a 12-step based discussion and yoga practice open to anyone and everyone dealing with their own addictive behaviour.
The meetings run Sundays from 6:30-8 p.m. at Yoga Grace (664 Beach Rd., Qualicum Beach) and are by donation, with proceeds going to the Manna Homeless Society. Chairs and yoga mats are provided.
The yoga meetings, like a regular 12-step program, are anonymous.
After finding out about Yoga of 12 Step Recovery (Y12SR), Bonnie Evoy took a training course in November 2016 with Nikki Myers, a somatic practitioner and yoga therapist.
“This particular woman I really resonated with, and she developed this program Y12SR and was having a training and I just thought, that’s what I want to do; I want to go there” after hearing her as a guest speaker at a conference, said Evoy .
Evoy said for her, yoga is a service and she wanted to give back. She said this yoga program was perfect since she has addiction all through her family.
“You hear more and more about this opioid epidemic, the obesity epidemic, the drug epidemic in our community,” Evoy said. “All you hear about is the facts, you’re not hearing solutions, so I thought this sounds, to me, like a solution.”
Evoy said Y12SR is a relapse-prevention program that connects the dots between yoga philosophy and the 12-step program.
“Traditional 12-step program is very much psychologically-based and with some spiritual basis — nothing about the body,” she said. “So you’ll see people at 12-step meetings eating doughnuts, smoking cigarettes, ignoring the fat that this is all part of our recovery.
“Addiction being an opportunistic disease, if your body is not healthy, there’s another entry point into becoming an addictive person again or relapsing. This is really about a relapse-prevention program.”
This program, Evoy said, is one more tool people can use to stay healthy and be mindful about the addiction process.
Y12SR isn’t just for alcohol or drug addictions, Evoy said. It’s for people with food, shopping, co-dependency, technology addictions and more.
“People are using a variety of substances to numb the pain” she said. “Addiction is about pain. Addiction is about just this unbearable suffering and so all kinds of things work to numb that; shopping works temporarily, food works, alcohol, drugs, technology works really well.”
The hour-and-a-half meetings, Evoy said, are half sharing, half yoga.
“There’s a few minutes of sharing and then I have them lay down on their mat, cover up with a blanket and get them to come into their breath and into their bodies. We do this body scan; ’Do you feel like you’re holding anything? Do you feel like you could relax?’”
After the breathing, Evoy said, attendees come up to a standing position, do some more breathing then a gentle hatha flow, then they go back down to the mat, cover up and have shavasana.
“Just like my regular yoga classes, I always gear them to who’s there. If I have five 80-year-old people, I’m not going to do a hard yoga class.”