The subject of healing through Yoga has been touched on numerous times. This time is no different. After all, the subject of healing through Yoga is a hot topic. However, Yoga is no ‘quick fix’, there are no pills to take or potions to drink. It is, in fact, a progression and a lifelong practice.
Charleston Yoga Examiner (CYE) first met Yoga teacher Gail Corvette at the Yoga House of Charleston just over a year ago where she is a Yoga teacher. It was an experience that left CYE with the impression of having met a person on a mission: without realizing the true nature of the mission or understanding just how spot on that impression was.
Recently, Charleston Yoga Examiner (CYE) caught up with Gail Corvette again. This blended discussion covered her service to recovering addicts, her Yoga practice and more.
Now into her second career (if you will) Corvette has had her share of trials. She is no stranger to alcoholism and the healing power of Yoga. Nowadays, she does “things I find fascinating in retirement”.
*It should be noted that as the conversation wrapped, she was arriving at her voice lesson. It seems singing is another passion for Corvette!
Corvette has been practicing Yoga for about 15 years; teaching for eight. She discovered Yoga about three years into her sobriety; learning firsthand the healing power of Yoga and its possibilities in aiding in recovery from addiction and facilitating the deep spiritual/self-inquiry work required for a successful recovery (atma vichara in yogic terms). As Corvette puts it, it wasn’t until the end of her first 200-hour Teacher Training in 2005 that she accepted the truth about herself and her disease; who she really is down deep.
It was at a Misneach Retreat through the Sacred Soul Center in March 2011 that her true swadharma, or mission in life, became very clear to her:
I am on this Earth to serve; to awaken those who've faced the struggles I faced and forced my way through. To bring joy to those whose days are their darkest. To show them glimpses of light to help them find their way through the long journey. To heal.
~ Gail Corvette
Corvette’s recovery process revealed a strong parallel between Yoga and ‘12-step’ recovery programs such as Alcoholics Anonymous. She first noted that each program has the acknowledgement of a higher power as a central tenet. It was this connection that ultimately led her to become a certified SOAR (Success Over Addiction and Relapse) teacher.
When the conversation turns to religion, Corvette is quick to remind that Yoga is not a religion in and of itself. Rather, a concept of spirituality that will bring one closer to the God or Deity of their particular belief (Istha Devita in yogic terms).
Corvette has found truth in that statement and has helped others who feel conflicted with the practice of Yoga and their chosen religious practice. As Corvette related: there were a few folks in her local church who also attended Yoga classes at the Yoga House. One lady in particular revealed to Corvette that she felt disingenuous to her Christian faith by practicing Yoga. As a result, Corvette conducted several yoga sessions at her Church to help people see how yoga can deepen and strengthen their faith as it did hers.
Yoga is not a religion but if you practice Yoga, it will make you a better Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist…
~ HH Pujha Swami Chidanand Saraswatiji, Evolution Asia Conference, July 2008
As well as teaching at the Yoga House of Charleston and the MUSC Wellness Center, she expanded to teaching a private group of women in recovery once a month 2-1/2 years ago and inpatients at a local treatment facility weekly two years ago. It is here that she has witnessed and shared the healing power of Yoga with others in recovery from alcohol and drug addiction. In addition, she has been hired for a research project that will measure the effects of yoga on the brains of those with addiction, psychological illness and chronic pain.
It is in the life of Gail Corvette and the SOAR program that the power of self-healing through Yoga is clearly demonstrated.
As one of Corvette's patients commented in reference to the healing effects of Yoga:
Yoga's the shit.
For more information about SOAR or Corvette's work she can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org