Mindful Teachers Interview Our Founder Robyn Hussa

Robyn Hussa sits down with Mindful Teachers to discuss how yoga and mindfulness can increase the quality of life for those struggling with mental disorders and substance abuse.

You’ve taught yoga and meditation to people with addictions and eating disorders. How does this help in their recovery process, and how do you integrate it with other aspects of their treatment program?
Mindfulness is at the root of many evidence-based treatment interventions for individuals struggling with mental health disorders and substance use disorders.  For example, CBT, DBT, TF-CBT, etc. all share mindfulness (deep breathing, meditation, gentle movement) as their core.  To highlight the mindfulness work separately, then, is assistive for those in recovery in that it helps individuals build the protective factors that mitigate risk for some of their symptoms.
Mindfulness exercises like deep breathing (called pranayama in yoga), for example, have shown to calm anxiety and depressive disorders, while improving the cardiovascular and pulmonary systems. Other mindfulness activities such as journal writing help an individual to share their feelings and regulate emotion – skills that have been shown to improve resilience and support the recovery process.

When I work in a treatment setting (or in a support group setting for those in recovery), I integrate the mindfulness techniques in practical and engaging ways so the participants have a toolkit of resources to take home and use with them that evening.  For example, I will teach them a series of evidence-based breathing or journal writing techniques that they can choose to use when they are having difficulty sleeping late at night.  In this way, the work is extremely practical and useful – and something that can engage an entire family into the process of mindful living.

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