Above: Meg Tipper, yoga teacher and founder of the community recovery yoga program at Turning Point Center.
Could yoga be the answer to quelling the drug epidemic in Vermont and beyond?
The Turning Point Center of Chittenden County, a peer-to-peer drug treatment and recovery center that helps people in Burlington, VT, transition to healthy and safe lives, is tackling the opioid epidemic in a unique way -- by creating a community recovery yoga program.
Meg Tipper has been leading the Turning Point community recovery yoga program for just over a year and is in recovery herself. We got a chance to spend time with Tipper and talk to her about the incredible way that Turning Point is using yoga as a tool for recovery. When you meet Tipper, you can instantly sense that her passion for yoga and the recovery community infiltrates every fiber of her being. She is radiant and beaming with joy.
When reflecting on her first yoga class over 40 years ago, during a time when she was consumed by alcoholism, Tipper says, “I relaxed without chemicals, which was huge. To discover that I could get to a place in my body and mind where everything turned off, without being drunk … it was a miracle.”
Tipper channels the mental and spiritual aspects of her yoga practice and works hard to keep herself accountable by teaching yoga to others. She says, “The work of helping another alcoholic and addict stay sober and clean is at the heart of how I do this one day at a time. That is one of the paradoxes … we give it away to keep it. Giving it away through yoga is the biggest blessing of all.”
All of Tipper's students are recovering addicts, in various stages of overcoming their own addictions, but the common thread that unites them is yoga. When they’re in class, they flow gracefully, transcending their pain and allowing a wave of peace to wash over them. The feeling of camaraderie and support is palpable. Yoga is the glue that binds this community close together.