Yoga is known as a great way to improve your strength, flexibility and mental health. One Valley yoga instructor is taking it even further and teaches yoga as a tool for recovery from addiction.
Jacob Daffner teaches yoga all across the Valley to give those suffering from addiction a healthy way to cope.
“It’s a really good tool to help people slow down and work with anxiety and cravings and everything like that,” he said.
Certain poses, such as those that compress, can help stimulate the body to begin the detoxifying process, Daffner said. It also offers pain-relief, something that some taking the yoga classes may need through the recovery process.
Although more research is needed, studies have found that yoga is a great complementary tool in substance abuse recovery.
One of the best things about yoga, Daffner explained, is that it’s a tool that those in rehabilitation can use once they are out. Nine years ago he was introduced to yoga in rehabilitation and fell in love with it.
Before recovery, Daffner tried everything in order to continue using, but soon realized that he had no other option than to get clean.
“That was honestly the reason I got clean: I really didn’t have any other options. It was be homeless with no money and no family talking to you or change your life,” he said.
Not only has Daffner used yoga as a tool, but he’s also turned it into a career teaching at rehabilitation centers, offering yoga instructor training and donation-based workshops.
One of the treatment centers he teaches at, Scottsdale Recovery Center, offers yoga every day of the week.
“When I first started doing this, some places had yoga. Now, it’s hard-pressed to find a place that doesn't offer it,” he said.
So, what’s the difference between yoga for addiction recovery and a yoga class you’d take at a regular gym?
“People ask me that a lot,” Daffner said. “The short answer is you don’t have to make up special yoga poses to help drug addicts. But it’s the approach to it and how we deliver it and what we focus on during our class.”
For example, he might tell those taking his class at a rehab center that a pose is great for detoxifying their body. At a regular class, he wouldn’t say that.
His passion for yoga extends past simply teaching it, as Daffner founded a non-profit called Spiritually Fit. This organization’s goal is to give those who have finished their recovery treatment process to continue practicing yoga and meditation.
For more information, visit spirituallyfitrecovery.com.