Yoga of Recovery® Certification

This certification is of interest to therapists, social workers, addiction counselors, coaches, sponsors, yoga teachers, Ayurvedic practitioners, Yoga Therapists etc. Anyone interested in a more holistic and complete view of the problem and its solution. Bringing the west (12 Steps) and the East (Yoga and Ayurveda) together offers us a truly empowering approach to counseling those who embark on a program of recovery. It is the evolution of the solution.

Upon completion of the certification requirements you will have the skills to introduce the healing potential of the holistic sciences of Ayurveda and Yoga into your own life and those around you.

For those in counseling roles the course will offer you additional tools and a deeper understanding of the comprehensive approach to wellness, emotional sobriety and sustained spiritual development using Ayurveda and Yoga as extension therapies to any 12 Step work. If you are already a Yoga teacher, this certification will make you uniquely qualified and more confident to teach yoga in rehabs or to people in recovery from any addiction. You will fully understand the root of the problem and the holistic approach, extended from limited understanding of substance abuse/behavioral problems to be treated with asana alone, to a full range of therapies for mind, body and spirit from these powerful healing modalities.

Yoga of Recovery certification has been offered since 2005 – it is the first comprehensive certification to combine Ayurveda and Yoga with traditional recovery tools to offer a more holistic mind, body, spirit approach to addiction and self-destructive behaviors. Now that we have more than a decade of experience, we’ve added to the certification process to better serve the needs of the diverse group of students who come to study with us. The Yoga of Recovery Certification Process is being extended from 2018 to allow us to offer more options to all who attend our Retreats.

During 2019 you can attend one or both of the 7-day Retreats being offered:

Healing the Habits that Bind Us: Looking at the Roots of our Addictive/self-destructive behaviors – an invitation to undertake heartfelt self-reflection about the addictive processes that we all experience in life. Become able to correlate and discuss the many similarities between the foundations of Classical Yoga and those of the 12 Step Programs and modern evidence-based research on best practicess for long term recovery and emotional sobriety. This course expands your awareness and understanding of the 4 Paths of Yoga and how these spiritual practices can be integrated with the all modern therapy tools and 12 Step Principles.

Between the Mat and the Meeting: Ayurvedic Healing for All Addictive Tendencies – this one offers YoR’s unique perspective on how the ancient healing science of Ayurveda offers an incredible resource for those of us looking to understand and overcome our addictive tendencies and live well, one day at a time. This article describes the approach of this retreat

These retreats are open to everyone (We require alcohol/chemically dependent guests to have at least three months of continuous sobriety as we are not a detox or rehab, so if that is what you require go to a primary care provider first). Everyone who attends should have enough stability to embark on this particular work. Those with eating disorders and behavioral addictions (relationships, gambling, spending etc.) must be able to self-initiate showing up for a fairly disciplined daily schedule with buffet style vegetarian meals served twice per day.

At any time you can add online study (coming soon)- more in-depth on the subjects and topics covered during the retreats. Once that is done you can move into mentorship (available from late 2019/2020) to complete the certification process.

This new certification process is being rolled out over 2019/20 – the aim is to meet the many requests you’ve made over the last 10 years – for more online options, for more time for practice, sharing and discussion when on-site with us, for more in-depth information to study on the material that you find so relevant and interesting, at your own pace.

Hatha Yoga: Students will practice hatha yoga 2 hours per day, the class will be suitable for all levels. These retreats do not qualify you as a hatha yoga teacher, nor do you need to be a yoga teacher to share YoR in your community and career. You also do not need to have ever practiced yoga before coming on a YoR retreat – we welcome the newcomer. We’re happy to bring you to the awareness and experience of the benefits of a regular yoga practice that suits your life. The physical aspect of the practice is offered within the context of the wider framework of yogic psychology and philosophy and the healing aspects of Ayurveda.

Yoga Nidra: Daily practice

Open 12-step meetings: Many people who work in the field of recovery are themselves in recovery. Here we talk about our experience, strength and hope around any addictive habits that we are recovering from. This helps us develop more openness and compassion around both our own lingering compulsions and the struggle of different ‘drug of choice’ than ours. These meetings will also be a very beneficial experience for those not in recovery, to see what meetings are like, what their clients are involved with.


This program is life changing for myself and others as I share my new awareness about addiction. Durga’s passion for what she is doing is contagious. The presentation of the material is clear, easy to understand, yet very profound! The way in which Durga has weaved together the causes and therapies for addiction from an Ayurvedic, Yogic and 12 step point of view is mind blowing. TAKE THIS COURSE! Taryn S,

The YoR program helped merge my practice of yoga and my practice of the 12 steps into a beautiful duo of tools for living a life of peace. Ann, Age 49, nurse anesthetist

This course helps anyone to know themselves better. The material is presented in a way that is easy to understand with practical ideas to take home. This course is helpful for anyone living consciously on this planet. 35 years old woman, artist/photographer, yoga teacher since 2003 Integral Yoga.

When I took my yoga teacher certification I really became aware of the correlation with the 12 steps. I knew I wanted to find a way to marry the two into my yoga teaching. This program is VERY comprehensive and does answer many of the questions I had, and helped my put the yoga with the steps in a holistic way that I really believe I can use in a practical way. Celeste M, CA artist, RYT 200, AlAnon 16 years

Life changing! Rachel, AA

I am incredibly grateful both personally and professionally for experiencing the YoR Course. As a yoga teacher and mindfulness-based stress reduction practitioner, it has been clear to me that yoga’s physical and mental principles benefit individuals who suffer, but it was a bit unclear for me as to how to bring this into my practice. Taking Durga’s course was extremely beneficial in helping me understand yoga, ayurveda and the 12 step program in its relationship to addiction. And now I not only have the knowledge but I have tools and handouts to take back to my community I want to work with. This course is valuable for those who not only work with addictions but any teacher/practitioner/sponsor that work with individuals who struggle in moments of personal weakness. Megan L

YoR offers the most balanced set of tools for those seeking recovery by raising their levels of consciousness, their self-awareness. It is a quick, safe, sensible and intelligent way to make any recovering process a success – minimizing lots of pain, time and money. Jackie A, real estate broker, historian, mother. Recovering nicotine addict. Yoga and meditation practitioner 8 years

I found this program informative. Packed with information to help myself and others to a healthy lifestyle. Enlightening. Franjeska P, age 44, Massage therapist, AA 3+years

I have been sober for 2y 10m, YoR has been inspiring me throughout my early recovery with love and tender guidance from Durga. I am blessed to have had this opportunity to work with such amazing healers. The solutions has been embedded into my cells and my consciousness. YoR is the key to a life lived “Happy, Joyous and Free”. Thank you. Kerry K,

YoR for Counselors Course put everything that we have learnt in yoga training nicely together in a systematic way to target helping of understanding people with addictive behaviors. Best is that all it is based on common sense, so it is not rocket science. The approach is very comprehensive, which takes care of the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. Clement L, 43 yo, yoga teacher, massage and yoga therapist,

This course provided the space, opportunity, and tools I both lacked and had forgotten, giving me insight into my behavior, desires, needs, as well as my self. JM, age 20, yoga teacher, addict

My experience was truly an amazing life experience. This course exceeded any expectations I had prior to attending. Durga’s knowledge of the 12 step recovery process was thorough and full of wisdom and insight when integrating Vedic Science and Yoga philosophy. Durga presented the material in a clear and concise manner with real life examples, allowed time for question answer periods and best of all shared some of her own experience in recovery! Her compassion and wisdom made me teary eyed from joy and sometimes from recalling my own experience throughout the progression of the course. Alicia

This course was a gift! It brought me to a deeper understanding of the yogic philosophies while weaving the 12 steps of AA throughout. This insight and knowledge are enlightening. I now have a better understanding of Ayurveda which I plan to incorporate in my life on a daily basis. This course is first rate, A+ Thank you! Lynda F, age 56. full time position in corporate setting 23 years. Yoga instructor 1 year. NA 23 years

What a gift it was to have met you and worked so intimately together. it was an experience with such an inspiring group of individuals i will never forget! thank you for sharing and unveiling so much of your true SELVES. Shannon

This course has helped me understand and accept my self as I am, here and now. I wish to share this profound yet simple wisdom with those who are struggling on their path to recovery, of recovery of our own Self. Thank you Durga. God Bless You. Lisa

YoR would be invaluable for anyone with working knowledge of the 12 steps, as well as those who come interested in yoga for the purpose of wellness. Ryan, mental health advocate

I would strongly recommend this course to anyone with any association with people in recovery. Recognizing oneself and loved ones (or even coworkers) in the Doshas is quite liberating. Durga’s guidance and insight are not only inspiring but also practiced and she makes suggestions and lets you find your way into solutions that simply make your life better and more meaningful immediately. The course is practical, entertaining and inspiring, a valuable way to go more deeply in to yoga and recovery. Lynn F, AA Yoga teacher

This course has encouraged me to look at myself with gratitude. Gratitude for my past lesson, my present achievements and my future adventures. I take home with me a mind full of ideas, thoughts, questions and dreams. I want to know more, do more, and provide a service to others that may have a need to fill. JC, female, Age 49, education specialist and yoga instructor

Very informative and eye opening. I was truly amazed at how closely the 12-Step program overlapped the paths of yoga! The 10 days were jam-packed with useful information that I hope to share with others and implement in to my life. I feel that the Ayurvedic information gave me more insight into my own constitution and what to do and not to do to lead a more balanced life. Thank you, thank you, thank you for shining the light on my spiritual path. CE, age 37, 3 years in AA and NA (clean since 1995), 6 years in yoga.

When I first began practicing yoga I immediately knew I was on a path towards health, healing and self-discovery. Throughout my practice I would grasp bits and pieces of yoga philosophy that were relevant to me, but it was not until the Yoga of Recovery course that I saw the big picture. Incorporating yoga, Ayurveda and 12-steps gave me the tools to be mentally and physically ready to understand and evaluate my own personality patterns and use the steps in my healing. It showed me the way to relate more efficiently to others, how to create strength and more meaningful relationships and I look forward to bringing these practices into my life and work. Thank you!! AKM, 23yo, adderal abuser, recent grad of TTC, yoga teacher

This experience has certainly deepened my personal recovery which is essential if I hope to help anyone else along their path, whether in ‘recovery’ or in life itself, which is a path of recovering our memory of who we really are, UN-covering, (lifting the veils) and discovering that we knew all this all along. As a yoga teacher of less than 1 year, YoR has deepened my knowledge of the yoga philosophy, hatha yoga and Ayurveda and has introduced me to the 12 step program for which I have great respect. I now have the ability to articulate the way yoga works in conjunction with the 12 step program as well as bringing these new tools to my teaching practices and my own personal practice. These past 10 days have been a profound life-changing experience. KR, age 44

This was an entirely worthwhile experience: I’m so glad I came. It has provided an integration of yoga, Ayurveda and the 12-step program in a way that is both interesting and extremely useful. I’m inspired to learn more in all areas and hope to integrate some of what I’ve learned in to all my classes, as well as perhaps develop something especially geared to the Yoga of Recovery.

This was a great! course and a very rich and meaningful time for me.

Course is great. It brings together information and attitudes needed for recovery process. Course illustrates techniques for self-recovery and counseling others. It highlights role of yoga in 12 steps and significance of both. 41 year old mental health counselor, educator and yoga teacher

I loved the course! I saw how the spiritual ideas of 12 steps are actualized in yogic practices. Yoga of Recovery is not just about looking for change or striving for change; it’s about being change! YoR not only compliments the 12 steps of recovery it enhances them. I’ve learned simple techniques that can offer profound effects for those who are willing to take the path of the Yoga of Recovery. DH, age 51, alcohol and drug counselor, sober 15 years

This has been a valuable and entirely worthwhile and inspiring course. I’ve learned much in the last 10 days, much about myself, and much that I hope to share with others. I came to this as a yoga teacher and yoga therapist but with little knowledge of Ayurveda and even less of the 12 steps. I’m inspired to learn more in all areas. Great teaching. Age 57, yoga teacher and non-profit/labor consultant. No time in the programs but much time in therapy – former fiendish smoker.

“I am truly amazed by how useful, insightful and powerful the information presented has been. My life has been touched and is already changing for the better. I am very inspired to share this knowledge with others who will surely benefit from it.”

As a recovering addict and drug counselor, I’m always looking for ways to become a better person – so that I may be stronger and able to share my experience ,strength and hope with others who still struggle. While doing research on addiction I stumbled upon a certification course about Yoga of Recovery. Going through this certification course was the best thing I have ever done for myself! It strengthened me at the very core of my existence and gave me tools that allow me to have inner peace in the most chaotic situations. A wealth of information and take you on a journey back to basics: love ,kindness, and humility. Anyone who deems themselves unworthy needs this course. Anyone who is lonely, sad or hurting needs this course. You will finally see there is no need for suffering and see yourself as perfect, just as you are. Hillary S

I am a 59 y.o. chronic alcoholic with a 39 yr. drinking history, in the last years, afraid I was going to die from alcoholism. After being in and out of AA for 22 of those years I finally realized that I was suffering from a spiritual malady. The alcohol, from the beginning, was filling that spiritual void in my life. Today, I now know that I must improve upon my spiritual life and I do this by working AA’s 12 steps with a sponsor and by doing spiritual, dietary, and lifestyle practices and disciplines as set forth by Yoga of Recovery (YoR). This is presented in such a way that anyone could assimilate the information in a way that would be deemed beneficial. The 12 Steps, the 8 limbs of Yoga and Ayurveda approach the problems of addiction in much the same way. YoR shows me how the 12 Steps, Yoga and Ayurveda are connected and how I can apply them to my life on a daily basis to improve my spiritual way of living and to eventually come closer to the Higher Power(God) I seek; all of this is what allows me to recover from alcoholism. Kevin R. Penn Valley, CA

Durga presented the course in an appealing insightful manner, melding 12 stepping and yoga and Ayurveda, making it doable and accessible to even the most “way-out-there” person. The most useful to me was the learning how closely aligned yoga and the 12 step program are: how yogic discipline compliments the steps. Prior to this course I only knew the serenity prayer. During the opitional meetings ‘stuff’ cam up for me that I felt safe in sharing.
Benefits: I am a better listener with more patience and compassion

Use in my Life: apply the principles of sweetening my life by using Sattvic yogic practices.

Work: teach recovering addicts in the prison and one-on-one students who have addiction issues nurturing holistic yoga

Practice: use asanas to calm my dosha. Practice pujas, invite students to satsang.

Most of all I loved Durga’s humor. Namaste, Jennifer

Help to understand 12 steps in relation to yoga. 6 tenets as a means of diagnosis and treatment. Durga – great, great work!!! Wonderful review of Ayurveda in a clean, concise manner that is easily understood. Durga’s ‘presence, laughter and inspiration’ thank you om shanti, Devi

For me personally, the most useful information was in understanding my dosha imbalance and how to calm it down with all of the Life is Sweet practices and dietary changes. I feel that my own recovery has moved to a deeper level now that I’m off caffeine. And, I decided I don’t need to join my husband for that glass of wine either as it does not fit in with the Yogic lifestyle. I have set up a beautiful altar for myself and enjoy spending time there every morning – followed by working with the Sivananda pranyama and asana practice. And I went to an Al-Anon meeting today. Thank you once again for all your depth of understanding and wonderful teaching – the program is very rich and healing. Blessings, Bhakti

After a little more than a year into recovery from alcoholism and codependency, while I was grateful to be free from the compulsion to use alcohol or people, I felt raw. A little bit keyed up, and a little on edge. It was subtle, but it was there. I felt somewhat bombarded by life in sobriety, with all fives senses wide open, alive and awake. According to the DSM IV, I met the diagnostic criteria for having a mild case of generalized anxiety disorder. I found relief through the teachings of the Yoga of Recovery, and in particular in the statement Life is Sweet. So I set about the practice of sweetening all five of my senses. I’m lucky enough to live in one of the sweetest places in the universe, Ojai. I’ve begun to drive through the valley a little slower and really take in the natural beauty. I pause at sunsets and tune into the sound of rain on the rooftop. I started clipping fresh roses from my year-round garden and always have colorful bouquets throughout the house. I added an altar to my desk where I spend a good deal of time writing. I traded smoking cigarettes for aromatherapy and the television remote control for a good book. I walk away from gossip and clear my head by chanting a mantra. I’ve started taking more time each day to play with my dog, who is 3 ½ pounds of Pomeranian sweetness itself and makes me feel good every time.

These are just a few new behaviors I’ve picked up, but it has made a huge difference in how I feel. What’s a really cool bonus about the practice is that it has allowed me to tap into my creativity and celebrate the abundance of sweetness available in life. Practicing sweetness is an infinite joy! Holding the intention of sweetening my senses is in itself a sweet practice because it has softened my mind and encouraged the flow of grace.

Today, that underlying unease is, for the most part, gone. But when I do begin to feel off center, I have a whole new delightful bag of tricks to choose from. I feel grounded, joyful, calm and peaceful and a deeper connection to this beautiful thing called life. Winifred.