Juli Leonard

“This program shines a light on how the 12 steps of recovery and yoga principles align.”
—Phyllis Kritz, N.C. Yoga of 12 Step Recovery leader

There’s a group of Raleighites that are taking to their yoga mats for support and discussion each week. North Carolina’s chapter of Yoga of 12-Step Recovery, or NCY12SR, is built on the foundations of the classic 12-step recovery method, and adds yoga practices to foster an empowering environment for those recovering from all forms of addiction. “The Sunday evening time sets your week up for intention and success,” says leader Phyllis Kritz.

Krtiz has led the group since its first gathering in 2015. She says that yoga experience is not necessary; the meetings at Evolve Movement on Oberlin Road are open to any and all levels, and a judgement-free zone. After 45 minutes of discussion and sharing, the group spends 45 minutes in gentle yoga flow. “The beauty of this meeting, just like yoga, (is that) there is a template but there’s room to expand upon it.” The encouraging weekly gatherings attract people currently struggling with addiction, Kritz says, and also those looking for relapse prevention.

The volunteer leaders work with Healing Transitions in Raleigh, welcoming the community there to a supplemental support system. Jahi Aziz, a NCY12SR member since 2016 and now a trained leader, says the yoga meetings “just felt right.” He was introduced to the group while at Healing Transitions, and now encourages his former peers to join him on Sunday nights. “What it really represents is an expansion of the foundation of 12-step recovery. The meetings at Evolve keep me fresh … I’ve never left the meeting feeling how I felt when I came in.” —Catherine Currin