Gwen is passionate about linking the body, mind, spirit, and the Twelve Step recovery process through the 5,000-year-old practice of yoga. She founded Yoga4Sobriety in 2013 upon discovering a missing physical component in her own recovery. “I live by the steps in my life,” says Gwen. “I became aware of the physical impact of depression, anxiety, and stress in my body. Once I learned how energy affects and impacts the body and recovery, I was inspired to share it.”
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 for recovery and the chakra system intensively. Gwen’s approach focuses on chakra balancing to 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 always 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 own 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 along with 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. She has taught Y4S classes at treatment facilities throughout New Jersey, including Summit Behavioral Health, Lifeback, and Advanced Health and Education, Footprints to Recovery, and Phoenix Behavioral Health.
Prior to launching Y4S, she founded Twelve Beads in 2003 through her own practice of prayer and meditation. Gwen spent 10 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