There are many ways people use to distract themselves from the stress of everyday life. Too often those distractions are substances or addictive behaviors that can defeat wellness, clarity, and the ability to live fully. With that in mind, men and women of all ages and stages embrace recovery as a way to reclaim their physical and/or mental health.
Sewall House has consistently offered an environment that meets the needs of people in recovery. The tools that yoga, meditation, and introspection offer are strong techniques to handle the challenges of life in ways that are healthy for us and those around us. Not only do we offer an alcohol-free and recreational drug-free environment, we also allow people to feel safe and transparent about expressing their thoughts and feelings during recovery.
One of the first groups at Sewall House in the late 1990s comprised students I had met in the different places where I taught Kundalini Yoga in New York City. The Kundalini Yoga tradition strongly suggests a vegetarian diet and the avoidance of drugs and alcohol.
One of the women in this group brought a bottle of white wine with her to Sewall House. When I told her that we would not offer alcohol as part of the retreat — I fashioned Sewall House after the policies of the Kundalini Yoga Retreats I had attended — she made a sarcastic joke. I let her know that while I appreciated her intention to be kind with a gift, I politely insisted that we would not offer the wine.
Later, two of the men in that group told me how grateful they were for what I’d done. One of the men informed me that he was an alcoholic in recovery. The other told me that he was a recovering heroin addict. Those revelations strengthened my resolve to offer a retreat environment where people could experience what I consider the true yoga lifestyle.
Here we are 25 years later, and yoga has exploded. All types of yoga are available, as are all types of yoga retreats, including beer yoga, marijuana yoga, and more.
A man — let’s call him “Daniel” — who visited Sewall House several times, and then became a Kundalini Yoga teacher and a Sound Healer, signed up for a yoga surfing retreat. Though it offered a different form of yoga than Daniel was accustomed to, he thought, “I love yoga and I love to surf, so why not?”
Daniel found out why not. After every class at the yoga surfing retreat, the teacher pulled out a bong and got stoned with whoever wanted to join her, and her boyfriend had beer drinking contests with his buddies!
Daniel, who had signed up for the retreat simply to do yoga and surf, was in recovery. Accustomed to the way we run Sewall House, he hadn’t realized the environment he’d find at that other yoga retreat! Daniel has since become an ardent follower of a teacher who does yoga retreats specifically for recovery, and he himself offers weekend sound baths for those in recovery.
At Sewall House this past summer, several men and women who visited let us know that they were in recovery. In fact, a man and a woman who were here at the same time each discovered the other was in recovery while sharing retreat time with the group. Though Sewall House is NOT a rehab or recovery program, we DO support a sober lifestyle. We recognize the need for guests to know that we operate an environment that supports those in recovery, so we offer that as a clear invitation.
Sobriety is very much in line with the yoga lifestyle, which aspires toward purity and clarity of mind, body, and spirit. Some of the best ways to achieve purity and clarity are to put healthy food and drink into the body. Avoiding substances like alcohol and recreational drugs plays into that goal.
We are not here to preach. We do, however, aspire to create an environment at Sewall House where guests can feel clear, because that is conducive to healing, tranquility, and fun. At the end of their stays, some of our guests even admit that “it’s been good to take a little break from my nightly glass of wine.”
When you visit Sewall House for even just a few days to let life’s pressures drop off, we equip you with tools – and hopefully some new habits – to help you create an everyday life that is more balanced and effective, whether you are in recovery or not.
If you’d like to get away to a retreat to practice yoga and meditation in a nurturing, sober environment, book a room at Sewall House Yoga Retreat. We recommend a minimum of a 5-day personal retreat to get the full benefit. See our Accommodations and Book a Room!