Photo: William Dugan
Sober Yogis was launched in February 2015. Sober Yogis participants practice Bikram Hatha Yoga five days per week and attend weekly group therapy facilitated by a licensed addiction professional. The combination of group therapy and a regular yoga practice moves participants more deeply into a relationship with themselves while cultivating further health, wellness, sobriety and community. We think Sober Yogis is unique, in that our facilitators also enjoy regular and committed yoga practices, and as such, sweat it out on the mat right along with program participants.
We are committed to effecting long term recovery. Therefore, we develop and promote comprehensive treatment plans. As such, we regularly refer to residential treatment, intensive outpatient treatment, individual therapy, marriage and family therapy, and other ancillary professional services (such as neurofeedback, acupuncture, and physicians) to increase success in establishing long-term recovery.
We also encourage participation in 12-Step Recovery, SMART® Recovery, Refuge® Recovery and other self-help groups available in the local community.
About Bikram Hatha Yoga.
With Permission, Bikram Yoga Portsmouth
Research on Bikram Hatha Yoga.
In October 2017 we were invited to present data from the first three rounds of Sober Yogis at the PURE Action Yoga Research Conference at the Joseph B. Martin Conference Center at Harvard Medical School. Our findings show a negative correlation between symptoms of Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome* and the number of Bikram Yoga classes attended. In addition, there was an overall 87% sobriety rate for those completing the 8 week challenge. *Post Acute Withdrawal Syndrome (PAWS) is a cluster of symptoms including (but not limited to) emotional lability, sleep disturbances, memory problems, anxiety, depression, cravings, etc.) that set sets in after a person stops using drugs or drinking and has completed acute detoxification. PAWS can last up to 18 m0nths for some individuals and can make the early recovery period extraordinarily difficult. It is the primary reason for relapse.
Our findings on PAWS were consistent with preliminary findings in a study published in 2013 at the Massachusetts General Hospital on the practice of Bikram Hatha yoga and reduction in symptoms of anxiety and depression. In his latest book, The Body Keeps the Score, internationally acclaimed trauma expert, Bessel van der Kolk, MD, provides numerous examples of PTSD symptom reduction through the practice of yoga and other body centered therapies.
Sober Yogis Groups.
Sober Yogis Evening Group: Mondays, 6:45 PM - 8:15PM
Photo: Terry Warburton
“Yoga helped me see that I am strong. It helped me to recognize that I can survive suffering and discomfort.”
“I experienced clarity in both body and mind.”
“I was completely resistant to the role of support groups in the challenge, but found myself wanting to be in the group more every week. It showed me that my sobriety has much more to offer me- even now- 22 years later.”
“More stillness in mind and body- even when my brain is bringing up a stream of negativity to me- I can be still.”
“The support group was my biggest fear, as I don’t typically like group settings, however it turned out to be my favorite piece of this challenge. I liked hearing each week that others were going through some of the same challenges in recovery that I am.”
“Less anxiety. When I practice, I have an overall sense of well-being. When I don’t, I feel anxious.”
“The biggest learning opportunity was knowing how similar everyone’s fight and journey with addiction is and not being alone in this plight to remain sober.”