shaun_174Recovery Yoga was founded by Ms. Elizabeth Johnstone of Stonington, Connecticut in 2007 with a weekly yoga and meditation class at York Correctional Institute in Niantic, Connecticut. Since then, through generous donations, grants, and volunteer efforts, Recovery Yoga has expanded and now supports a large community of people in need, the effect of which has been empowering and transformational. Recovery Yoga’s nine instructors currently provide fourteen yoga and meditation classes at six locations throughout southeastern Connecticut and southwestern Rhode Island, including The Waterford Country School, Crossroads/Amethyst House, Safe Futures (formerly known as The Women’s Center of Southeastern Connecticut), York, Women’s Prison Cranston (Rhode Island), and Mystic Yoga Shala. For her work with Recovery Yoga, in Fall, 2009 Ms. Johnstone was nominated for the Athena Award. Yoga and meditation programs currently provided by Recovery Yoga include those for: (1). mothers recovering from abuse whose children need them to be healthy; (2). children and teens from unsafe environments who need coping skills; (3). incarcerated women to reduce stress, foster self-esteem and promote healing, for a better chance at successful reintegration; and (4). veterans, military and their families to help deal with the stress and trauma of war and its consequences.

In 2008, Recovery Yoga hired Ms. Shaun English, a Registered Yoga Teacher and Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist, as an independent instructor to teach a weekly class of yoga and breathing techniques to teenage girls (youth offenders) at York. Shaun’s unique background and qualifications were a perfect fit. In December, 2010, Recovery Yoga was awarded a grant to fund two more programs in 2011, one for mothers and infants, and a yoga nidra class for mothers, each currently taught by Ms. English at Amethyst House in New Haven under the auspices of Ms. Leida Acevedo, Director of Clinical Services. The programs at Amethyst House were funded by a grant, which has since been renewed twice.  Recovery Yoga also was awarded a matching challenge grant, also since renewed twice.  Recently, Recovery Yoga was awarded a grant from the Community Foundation of Eastern Connecticut to fund a yoga program at Safe Futures, formerly known as the Women’s Center of Southeastern Connecticut, which Ms. English taught in 2012.

shaun_174Since 2010, Ms. Janice Fifer has been volunteer teaching weekly at Women’s Prison Cranston. Mrs.Kristine Whelan Griscom volunteer teaches  a weekly class on the West Side at York Ms. Robin LeVine-Dezjot, who has been working with at-risk youth for 30 years, teaches weekly on the East Side at York along with Ms. Johnstone, who has been doing so since 2007. Shaun English has offered programs for the teens at Waterford Country School. The classes had formerly been taught by Ms.Veronica Barracco.

Another generous grant in late 2012 has enabled Recovery Yoga to offer a weekly class for veterans, military and their families at Mystic Yoga Shala in Mystic, Connecticut. This yoga and meditation class is being taught by Ms. Johnstone, Ms. Katie Ziskind, and Ms. Melissa Rockwell. Recovery Yoga has offered a weekly program at our Veterans Center since October of 2014.

All of these programs are making a difference and your donation helps make their continuation and expansion possible. Recovery Yoga supports individuals as well as the people and family surrounding them. With your support, Recovery Yoga can continue helping those in need, where the need is great.  Thank you so much for sharing in our mission and helping our community. We are all together in the common goal of creating a more compassionate society, through positive and powerful change.

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