GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — From reducing stress to increased flexibility, the health benefits of yoga are widely touted; and there may be even more benefits for those recovering from addiction.
In 2013, Lindsay Belcastro created Recovery-Infused Yoga in the Ann Arbor area. Two years later, she expanded the program and created a nonprofit, helping upwards of 3,000 people.
"It's healing one breath at a time is our mantra," explained Belcastro. "It calms your mind, it gives you that sense of peace and calming."
In 2018, Belcastro relocated to Grand Rapids, and partnered with the 61st District Court, allowing her yoga classes to count as a recovery meeting.
"Anybody that's in drug court or sobriety court can attend for free and get the benefits of recovery infused yoga to stay sober," she said. "I wanted to give back, so I started teaching."
Belcastro is proof it can work: she started drinking and doing drugs in middle school, before finally getting sober with the help of yoga. She is now celebrating six years of sobriety, serving as a state-certified Peer Recovery Coach.
"I kept relapsing, before I started teaching yoga, practicing yoga and teaching yoga and meditation. When I brought it together, it just worked."
The classes are held in a meeting format, providing a sober supportive environment. Belcastro emphasizes self-reflection, and various affirmations to teach participants to be more mindful in their recovery journey.
"It's connecting breath with movement, so it's a moving meditation to get them to close their eyes and look inward, it's not easy after you've been in addiction for so long."
Pat Coffin told FOX 17 it is working for him. After an overdose in 2018 led to a freak accident that resulted in a leg amputation, Coffin is now one year sober and growing stronger mentally and physically.
"It's kind of a whole body recovery. I suffered with anxiety and depression before getting clean," Coffin explained. " I don't have anxiety or depression or any mental stuff that I can't self correct now through meditation and yoga."
Belcastro currently offers a weekly class Sunday nights from 6-7 p.m. at The Wellness Collective (1324 Lake Dr. SE No. 4, Grand Rapids, MI 49506).
Her goal is to one day have a healing center that can offer several classes a day. In the meantime, Belcastro is looking for sponsors and community partners to continue to grow the program.