Yoga for Recovering Addicts

by Shirley Archer, JD, MA on Jun 01, 2007

As yoga styles proliferate, more programs are targeting specific niche groups who can benefit from yoga’s unique blend of body, mind and spirit. One of these groups consists of recovering addicts. In the 1970s, Superhealth, a pioneering alternative health center for the treatment of addictions in Tuscon, Arizona, offered heroin addicts recovery services based on kundalini yoga, diet, massage, acupuncture and other alternative therapies. Today, the Hazelden Foundation in rural Minnesota—one of the world’s largest, most respected and best-known private alcohol and drug rehabilitation centers in the world—offers “Yoga in Recovery: Creating Harmony of Body, Mind and Spirit.”

Recovery yoga classes combine hatha yoga with Twelve Step principles to aid healing on physical, mental, emotional and spiritual levels. Instructors teach postures using the language of the Twelve Step program and begin and end with the Serenity Prayer. In one program (offered in Plymouth, Minnesota), class members read quotes from the Alcoholics Anonymous textbook between poses.

Instructor training is available for those who want to work with people recovering from addiction. For more information, see

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© 2007 by IDEA Health & Fitness Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction without permission is strictly prohibited.

About the Author

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA IDEA Author/Presenter

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is the 2008 IDEA Fitness Instructor of the Year and is IDEA's mind-body-spirit spokesperson. She is a certified yoga and Pilates teacher and an award-winning author based in Los Angeles, California, and Zurich, Switzerland. Two of her books, The Walking Deck and The Strength and Toning Deck, are now featured as iPhone apps. Contact her at