2014 CVAs: 12-Step Yoga

Yoga of 12-Step Recovery co-founder Nikki Myers.

With one of the highest obesity rates in the nation, Indiana is not exactly known as hotbed of health and wellness, so when something sprouts in the Crossroads of America and then explodes in popularity on the coasts, we take notice.

Such is the case with the Yoga of 12-Step Recovery, which began at CITYOGA at 38th and Meridian Street a decade ago and is now being taught in more than 20 states and in the U.K. Indianapolis has long-standing Y12SR meetings at least five days a week. [See Y12SR.com for the full list.]

This thing has been so organic, I know its not about me, said Nikki Myers, the programs co-founder. Im trying to create a big enough space that this thing can grow. Like a plant, the growth is limited by the size of the pot.

Take the Yoga Meditation Addictions Recovery Conference, for instance, where Myers is a workshop leader. Now in its fifth year, the conference has grown from a West Coast event to include two East Coast conferences as well.

The Y12SR program has trained more than 600 class leaders since its inception, Myers said, estimating that more than 200 are active instructors. The Y12SR team offers leadership trainings about 10 times a year across the U.S.

Y12SR meetings borrow familiar elements from traditional 12-step meetings, beginning with group sharing for about an hour and then moving into an hour of guided yoga meant to help the class work through some of the physical baggage associated with their issues. Alcoholics, heroin addicts, bulimics, co-dependents and more are all bringing their strength, hope and experience to share with one another. The classes are donation-based, so no one is ever turned away because of an inability to pay.

Acceptance of the Y12SR is growing in both traditional yoga and recovery communities, evidenced by the fact locations hosting local classes include a yoga studio, a doctors offices and a rehab centers. In addition, Myers is working with a local academic team to launch a study to quantify some of the outcomes for people involved in Y12SR.

For people first encountering the Y12SR program, Myers said she hopes to see people make the connections between the sensate mind/body/spirit experience and how it affects behavior, how it affects whats in our hearts, how all those things are connected and interrelated — and really they are all the same thing.

-Rebecca Townsend

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