Yoga teacher Nikki Myers shares the sequence she finds most effective for recovering addicts.
In 1987, I found a 12-step program for my addiction recovery and stayed sober for eight years. Then, on a business trip to Germany, I made a bad decision to have one drink that led to many more. Within a week, I found myself in Amsterdam, where I knew exactly who to be, what to do, where to go, and how to talk my way into getting my drug of choice: crack cocaine.
After Amsterdam, I got back into a 12-step program and discovered yoga. I saw all the similarities between yoga and the 12-step program, and I eventually made the decision to let go of the program. I thought a daily ashtanga yoga practice would be enough for dealing with my addiction issues.
I stayed clean for four years, then relapsed again in 2000. At that point, I realized I couldn’t put the 12-step program, which gave me a cognitive base for recovery, in a separate box from yoga, which gave me somatic tools. So in 2003—after receiving training from the Somatic Experiencing Trauma Institute and the American Viniyoga Institute—I created Yoga of 12-Step Recovery (Y12SR), which combines cognitive and somatic practices for sustainable addiction recovery.
The following sequence is the first one I teach to recovering addicts. It’s also the one I come back to most often myself, because it’s all about building a solid foundation. In each posture, ask: Do I feel balanced? Can I find my center—even when I feel overwhelmed? Sustainable recovery requires continually asking these questions—and continually finding our ground.
About Our Pros
Teacher Nikki Myers is a yoga therapist, teacher, somatic-experiencing practitioner, and founder of Yoga of 12-Step Recovery (Y12SR). Practice Y12SR with her at yogaanytime.com/go/Y12SR. Model Bhakti White is yoga teacher in Boulder, Colorado.