In 1991, Gwen had a moment of clarity that would lead her on the road to recovery, but in 2001, she found that recovery was not enough after hitting an emotional bottom. So she started to use other wellness tools to bring her body, mind, spirit, and recovery into alignment. By 2013, she realized her recovery had been changed from taking this three-folded approach and wanted to share with others in recovery her experience, strength, and the hope recovery yoga could bring to those looking for more than just staying sober. So today, Gwen teaches those in recovery and friends of those in recovery breathwork, personal exploration through the chakra system, yoga, meditation, tapping, and more.
Gwen brings the language and principles of the Twelve Step recovery program into the physical practice of yoga. She teaches students how to breathe while releasing tension from the body, deepening the connection to a “Higher Power” (Spirit), and walking the path of recovery.
Balancing Breath, Chakras, and the Twelve Steps of Recovery
Gwen was introduced to yoga through the practice of the 4-4-8 breath. She has made it her mission to study, practice, and educate yoga intensively for recovery and the chakra system. Gwen’s approach focuses on chakra balancing all levels of students and recovery programs in a safe and supported environment.
Steeped in more than 25 years of Twelve Step recovery, Gwen imparts her experience with addiction and the feeling of physical detachment in the body while teaching and training the Yoga4Sobriety program. “I come from an authentic, heart-centered place that promotes safety and comfort,” says Gwen. Y4S classes and teacher training explore the chakra systems in the body and how they relate to the Twelve Steps of recovery.
Igniting Passion for the Practice of Yoga in Recovery
Gwen intends to ignite a passion for the practice and study of yoga within each student she encounters. “We’re on a path to enlightenment and spiritual awakening. In Yoga4Sobriety, we take a mindful approach to exploring how we think and feel physically and emotionally without judgment,” explains Gwen.
Spreading the word through Teacher Training
Gwen is constantly moving, shaking, educating, and expanding in new directions in recovery. As a first-time winner, she imparts the gift of recovery to all. Gwen developed an intensive, multi-tiered Y4S training program to encourage yoga instructors, healers, therapists, counselors, and ministers to become part of the solution in Twelve Step recovery. The Y4S teacher training program is designed to educate teachers and counselors to support and guide those in recovery in a deeper understanding of their bodies as they learn to handle raw emotions. The training bridges chakra-based poses and exercises with the language of Twelve Step recovery.
Karma—Experience, Strength, and Hope
Gwen shares experience, strength, and hope through Yoga4Sobriety. Y4S offers instruction for all folks in recovery and families and friends in the community and at treatment centers. “It’s my love for sharing my experience, strength, and hope. It’s giving back. It’s karma.”
Gwen has brought the Y4S program to the criminal justice system, facilitating multiple classes at the Bo Robinson Treatment Facility in Trenton, NJ. In addition, she has taught Y4S classes at treatment facilities throughout New Jersey, including Summit Behavioral Health, Lifeback, Advanced Health and Education, Footprints to Recovery, Banyan Treatment Center, and Phoenix Behavioral Health.
Before launching Y4S, she founded Twelve Beads in 2003 through her practice of prayer and meditation. Gwen spent ten years designing and marketing a unique line of jewelry and prayer beads for those in Twelve Step Recovery.
200 Hour Registered Yoga Teacher Certification, One Yoga Center in Hightstown NJ, June 2012
100 Hour Yoga of Recovery® for Counselors, Sivananda Yoga Vedanta Centre, Woodbourne NY, July 2012
S.O.A.R.™ Success Over Addiction and Relapse Certification, Maryland, October 2013
Prison Yoga Training Certification, Prison Yoga Project, Philadelphia PA, June 2014
500 Hour Registered Yoga Teacher Certification, One Yoga Center in Hightstown NJ, May 2015
Yoga for Trauma, Teaching in the Criminal Justice System Certification, Transformation Yoga Project, Philadelphia PA, February 2016
Kidding Around Yoga, Kids Yoga Teacher Training, One Yoga Center, Hightstown NJ, March 2017
Chakra Therapy: Level 1, Anodea Judith, Kripalu Yoga Center, Lenox MA October 2017
Creating on Purpose: The Chakras as a Map for Bringing Your Dreams to Reality, Anodea Judith, Kripalu Yoga Center, Lenox MA February 2018
Psychology of the Chakras, Anodea Judith and Selene Vega, Kripalu Yoga Center, Lenox MA August 2019
Chakra Energetics, Melinda Matzell Grannan, Kripalu Yoga Center, Lenox MA February 2022
Chakras, Charge, and The Energy Body, Anodea Judith, Kripalu Yoga Center, Lenox MA