Yoga Therapy Helping Some Kick Their Addiction

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Yoga, known to help relieve stress, relax the mind and body, is now an addition to traditional therapies, helping addicts on their road to recovery.

Fighting drug and alcohol addictions is a long, tough battle challenging millions of Americans.

They’re rebuilding their lives shattered by addiction with the help of yoga.

At the First Steps Treatment Center at Crozer Chester Medical Center, it’s not your traditional yoga class.

Maureen Bart was prescribed pain pills for a shattered hip. That started her long battle with addiction.

Report: More Than 49,000 Patients Under Age 21 Went To ER For Opioid Addiction

“It’s like trying to fight a gorilla; you’re never going to win,” she said.

But the now 34-year-old mother of two is fighting her craving for heroin with an in-patient treatment program that includes yoga.

“It’s helped by bringing mindfulness back to my life,” Bart said.

The patients in recovery here also get counseling and medications that help offset addictions, in addition to complimentary services like yoga.

“Yoga affects areas of the brain,” Dr. Kevin Caputo explained. “It helps patients relax those relaxation centers of the brain are triggered by the physical exercise in the yoga.”

Caputo says breaking the addiction cycle is a difficult journey that’s needed by a growing number of people.

“This opioid crisis is pervasive. It’s like being part of guerrilla warfare, it’s everywhere,” he said.

The Transformation Yoga Project, founded by Michael Huggins, is all about stretching out beyond the normal box of therapy.

“We take a trauma-based approach as to how we do this mind, body work,” he explained. “The idea is we don’t tell people what to do, we use invitational language.”

This transformation yoga will be part of the Addictions and Recovery Expo this weekend.

“There’s going to be 40 addiction and recovery professionals there,” Huggins said.

The Addictions and Recovery Expo happens this Saturday, Oct. 21 in Chester Springs, Chester County, Pennsylvania. In addition to yoga, there will be a variety of speakers and activities.

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