From Nicole Breen, Director of Yoga for Recovery and Behavioral Health:
“Transformation Yoga Project has grown over the last few years and the Yoga for Recovery instructor team has formed into a beautiful collective of amazing instructors throughout the Philadelphia area and the surrounding counties. My role has also expanded and I am so grateful for the opportunity to work alongside such an inspiring group of people. One of my favorite things about my “job” (it’s still surprises me that I am blessed with this job that I love so much) is the connection with other yoga instructors. We connect and brainstorm together to create and support programs while enlivening their engagement in yoga service. After all, the meaning of yoga is union and connection. We reached out to our Recovery Instructor team for their thoughts on our Recovery Month campaign and celebration. I am fascinated and humbled by the kind thoughts, the dedication to service, and the positive energy that comes from our team. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for your dedication to TYP and our programs and participants. Continue reading to get to learn more about our team in the field!”
“I am a 200 hour YTT graduate from Moondog Yoga and the Himalayan Institute. I have been teaching yoga since 2015. I was fortunate enough to be a part of the TYP training at Moondog Yoga in Quakertown. I have first-hand experience with how yoga has turned my life around. While I appreciated the effort that my rehab facility gave us, I still felt like we were missing something. I made it a goal in my life to bring yoga to those in recovery. I am excited to bring mindfulness, awareness and meditation to the programs in my area.” - Becky
”Yoga was fairly new to the general public when I started to practice the ‘poses’ back in the 70s. I had a Phys Ed teacher who had just graduated college, she taught us what she had learned about yoga. The asanas (poses) stayed in my body, even in the years before I recognized and could admit I had a problem with alcohol and other drugs. In my addiction, I had lost everything, my marriage, home, job, and almost lost custody of my daughters. So in 2010, I had hit bottom. I attended 12 Step meetings every single day for 3 years - the meeting started at 7:00 am, and I usually worked till midnight managing a restaurant. I regained custody and worked at rebuilding my life by creating new habits, taking walks in nature, making new healthy friends, practicing yoga. I learned to pray, even though I didn’t know who this Higher Power was, it was suggested that I try it, and desperate as I was, I did. Was it easy? NO! I had to give my recovery my ALL. I was blessed to have the help of many clean/sober people along the way. Those first two to three years I spent as much time as I could helping others, doing service, that was the foundation for the life I have today. I had met Nicole, and Mike at a yoga event in Philadelphia, Nicole was also connected with Anahata Yoga and Wellness Center, where I had taken YTT-200 (and am currently working on YTT-500). A seed was planted.” - Marianne
“Service is the foundation of my recovery, and Yoga is my spiritual path. I was one of those people who struggled with a Higher Power, God, Buddha, Yahweh, Goddess, Allah, Krishna, Divine Within, so I went back to school and became an Ordained Interfaith Minister. It was in ministry school that I found my spiritual path, that of a yogi. I knew that yoga had shifted something within, something had changed and the more I studied the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali, I became more dedicated to my practice and service to others. In 12 Step meetings it is suggested that we help the next person, it helps keep US clean and sober. After I met Mike and Nicole, I looked up Transformation Yoga Project, I read Mike’s story, (wow!) a while later I took the Transformation Yoga Project Recovery Training. It has been an honor and privilege to be part of the team of TYP, being of service to others, and to know I am cultivating the seeds to support others in their recovery.” - Marianne
“While in rehab myself, we “practiced” mindfulness and meditation daily, but it was unsupervised and chaotic. I did not feel connected. After I completed the program, I immediately sought out the nearest yoga studio, finding what I was looking for. I know that without yoga, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I knew I wanted to bring this gift to others in my situation.” - Becky
“Yoga for recovery is important to me because I have seen it give the opportunity for the individuals to find their agency. Their own ability to say yes or no to a shape, stretch or exercise. I see people finding their voice and strength simply because they have options and choice in our classes.” - Haylee
“Yoga for recovery is everything. I have found myself again. Taking the time for myself, without guilt or judgement, to reconnect with myself, in ways that I never thought I could. Looking back, I was constantly searching for something to fill the cracks, and yoga has proved to be the glue to hold me together again.” - Becky
“Practicing yoga allowed me to drop most of my thinking, on most days, and actually feel my physical body. That was eye-opening for me. Another critical aspect of yoga has been the breath. Finding and feeling my breath has been another powerful discovery. Attempting to live the practical applications of the yamas and the niyamas (the moral and ethical practices of yoga) has made me more aware of my role in the world. My meditation practice has improved. My concentration has become more clear. My ability to quiet the external has enabled me to get closer to my deeper spiritual practice. It's been a slow evolution and I am ok with that pace.”
“I often ask students, who have never done yoga before, if they’ve ever been frustrated in their lives. When every hand is raised, I explain the breath. I use my breathing as a release and as an energy source. I use the breath when I am stressed, when I am happy, when I am tired and when I am lost. I regularly use the physical practice of Asana and pranayama exercises to move me through each and every day.” - Becky
“Yoga has taught me how to question myself and my intentions. For lack of better words it helps me cut through the bullshit and allows me to be uncomfortable in a space I know is meant to push me further. It has also taught me how to rest.” - Haylee
“I meditate daily for self care. I also go out dancing to dress up with expression, move my body freely and sing.” - Haylee
“The beach is my happy place, waking up with the sunrise planted at the edge of the ocean, is where I feel closest to Divine Spirit. In the winter, I burrow in a salt cave where my friend, Katie plays singing bowls. Taking a bath, lighting candles, soaking in a warm tub with a good book is soothing and relaxing to me. Making soup, washing, peeling, chopping vegetables. Walking my dog in the park, we meet people and chat. Sitting in my kayak in the middle of the lake on a quiet morning. Sometimes just blessing my home by cleaning the floors with almond cleaner, dusting with lemon oil, scrubbing sinks, getting rid of things that no longer serve me. Meeting a friend for coffee. Sometimes it’s in the garden pulling weeds in Malasana, and sometimes sitting quietly in front of a candle, that soothes my soul.” - Marianne
“Every day is different with self care. Some days it's attending 12 step meetings. Every day involves meditation. Journaling is crucial to me. Getting on my mat and feeling my way into a posture is critical. Friendships are important self care. Being more aware of what I do and why is self care for me. A hot bath at the end of the day is heavenly. Figuring out why I'm eating what I'm eating has become a self care endeavor.”
“I feel joy at being able to share this path with people new to recovery. I feel like I understand their resistance, their dis-ease with the whole concept of 'feeling your body'. To be allowed to provide just a small amount of time for them to sit, breathe, and be, has been a gift.”
“Sometimes I fall into ‘stinkin’ thinkin,’ where I think back on when things could have been different, if only...I had this, or that didn’t happen...everything in my life has made me the person I am today. This is where gratitude comes in, I start by bringing awareness to my breath, and being grateful for each inhale and exhale, knowing that breath is our precious life force, and how thankful I am, for breath itself. I go on to eyes that see, ears that hear...and before I know it, I’m in a better place.” - Marianne
“I have enjoyed teaching with TYP immensely! I find so much satisfaction in bringing yoga and meditation to people in recovery. If I can help ONE person on their journey, I have succeeded and conquered my goal.” - Becky
“Yoga is not the shape or movement. It is noticing your breath, seeing your thoughts clearly and learning how to start again...and again.” - Haylee
SEPTEMBER IS NATIONAL RECOVERY AWARENESS MONTH!
TYP's goal is to raise $5,000 during September. Your donation could be doubled as part of the $50,000 Wyss Foundation Challenge Grant goal. We need YOUR help to reach that goal! Each dollar you donate could be doubled in value!
We are so grateful for our donors! Your donations continually allow us to grow our programs and serve even more individuals. Your kind gifts provide greater access to healing yoga.