Yogave: Combining 12 Steps and Yoga in Maine

A couple weeks back, some Crossroads for Women staff were sharing information about a yoga class that incorporated a traditional 12 step meeting. Or, is it a 12 step meeting that incorporated yoga? Whatever it is, it sounded intriguing. Turns out, a 12 step recovery yoga class is being held in Falmouth (ME) twice per month through Yogave, and students can remain completely anonymous.

Yoga is something that Crossroads for Women is starting to incorporate into its residential programs. One of our counselors, Randi Sheehan, is also a registered yoga instructor. She teaches a weekly yoga class at our Residential Rehab and is looking to start one at our halfway house as well. Randi incorporates yoga, meditation and mindfulness in her classes and focuses specifically on how it relates to our clients’ work in recovery and the 12 Steps.

We asked Yogave to share some information about what they do, why they do it and how yoga can be helpful to those in recovery from an addiction. Following is what they shared with us.

Benefits of Yoga for People in Recovery
Yoga is a useful tool for learning how to cope with life nondestructively and fruitfully. On the yoga mat, students find a safe space to get re-connected with their bodies, and often with their hearts and minds as well. The word yoga means “union.” It serves to break down barriers within by helping us to listen to our bodies and respond with wisdom, patience and discipline. Yoga builds physical balance, flexibility and strength. It also loosens chronic tension and helps us cultivate new patterns of movement. These benefits happen on a physical level in our bodies, and they inevitably have an impact on our entire person and character. Our bodies store the life experiences harbored in our memories and behaviors. As we learn to breathe and to listen to the body, we begin to shed the disease and find place of open stillness where our higher power can connect with us. Plus, it’s fun!

More about Yogave
Yogave’s purpose is to share yoga with as many people as possible. It has become a place of joyful healing and a real community for many. Yogave has been offering donation yoga classes for two years. There is no set fee for any class. Students simply contribute what they can. Some students even donate time, helping out with laundry, cleaning, etc. The owners describe the Yogave community as “diverse, rag-tag and eclectic.” Students range in age, ability, background and experience, both on and off the yoga mat.

12 Step Recovery Yoga from Yogave
Yogave describes the 12 step recovery class as the truest expression of Yogave’s purpose. Yogave adheres to the principle of anonymity throughout, in the hopes of providing a safe place for all to come, to move and to share. This class typically runs about 75 minutes. The class first gathers in a large circle seated on yoga mats, while David, the instructor, introduces the studio and the step of the month. Then, instructors Lydia or Leslee guide a time of meditation and gentle yoga poses. Participants go through a half hour of introductory poses designed to build body awareness and to ultimately lead to a space of calm and rest from within. Finally, the group moves to a traditional 12 step meeting, based loosely on the step of the month, with students sharing whatever they feel comfortable with.

Class Details
Yogave is located at 170 Route 1 in Falmouth. You can find directions and a map on Yogave’s website. Note that there is no outdoor signage for Yogave. The Yogave 12 Recovery class meets on the second and fourth Friday of each month at 7:30pm. All individuals in recovery from any addictive behavior or habit are welcomed, along with their friends and family. As with a traditional 12 step meeting, there is a basket where students can anonymously drop a donation of their choice. While the Yogave 12 Recovery class is anonymous, other classes require that all students sign a waiver form, for liability purposes. Find more Yogave classes