Local yoga instructor shares addiction story through class

Yoga for Recovery, hosted by Christine Frey, is for anyone struggling with addiction, whether it’s their own or that of a loved one

By Samantha Bambino

The Times

A place of peace: Levittown’s Christine Frey is sharing her journey of strength, hope and survival every Thursday evening through the class Yoga for Recovery, which is open to those dealing with any form of addiction. Source: Kristen Russo

For nearly a lifetime, Levittown’s Christine Frey was a victim of abuse. Raised by an alcoholic father and married for 32 years to two men who shared identical addictive qualities, Frey didn’t know what a “normal” relationship was. She didn’t know what love was, or how to love herself.

All she was accustomed to was the frightening world of addiction.

When her second husband passed away two years ago from the effects of alcoholism, Frey got involved with A Woman’s Place, the only domestic violence organization in Bucks County. She may have been trapped in a seemingly endless abusive cycle, but she didn’t want to see the same thing happen to other innocent people.

Not only did Frey become a first responder for the Doylestown-based location, meeting and speaking with victims at hospitals and police stations, she began taking and teaching yoga classes at A Woman’s Place.

Though she was no stranger to the mat, with more than 30 years of experience under her belt, Frey’s love for the discipline became that much stronger after her husband’s death. The breathing and relaxation helped her “stay sane,” mentally recover, and ultimately shed decades of fear and anger.

Now, Frey is sharing her journey of strength, hope and survival every Thursday evening through the class Yoga for Recovery, which takes place at The Prancing Peacock, 139 Zimmerman Lane, Langhorne, at 5:45 p.m.

Launched on April 18, the hour-long session is open to those dealing with any form of addiction, whether it’s their own addictive behaviors or those of a loved one. The purpose of the class is to promote mindfulness, techniques to release trauma and more inside the 7,000-square-foot Wellness Castle.

“When you come to the yoga mat, it connects all the elements of you. So it’s spirit, mind and body. A lot of people come to the mat and they let go, they feel safe. You don’t have that in a relationship, or if you’re a codependent,” Frey said. “You don’t have that space to be who you are, and it’s just beautiful because I watch people grow all the time on the mat. They just let go and they find themselves.”

According to Frey, there are a lot of misconceptions when it comes to yoga. For example, people think they have to have a certain body type or that it’s exclusively for females. Yoga for Recovery is for all ages, skill levels and sexes.

“There’s such a stigma with yoga, that you have to be a pretzel. And you don’t,” Frey said. “It’s for everybody. Just for everybody to feel like they’re included, that they’re not excluded. That it’s OK to love yourself.”

The session is broken into several components, including gentle stretching and the chance for participants to share their personal stories. Frey stressed that if someone is uncomfortable speaking in front of the group, they are by no means required to. If someone does choose to share, the information they provide remains confidential inside the walls of The Prancing Peacock. Frey’s mission is to promote a safe environment.

So far, she is overjoyed at Yoga for Recovery’s early success, especially during its inaugural week.

“It went great. It was a smaller class because of the holiday, but it was nice because it was more intimate and people shared,” Frey said. “There were a couple codependents in that room, and there was somebody addicted to sugar, somebody who was a recovering alcoholic. It was so beautiful because everybody felt included. There was a lot of cohesion.”

In order to eliminate financial barriers for individuals who need a support system, Yoga for Recovery is entirely donation-based, with all proceeds benefiting the services of A Woman’s Place.

For anyone who plans to attend an upcoming Yoga for Recovery session, Frey hopes they’re able to take away a few vital things.

“A sense of peace and serenity, knowing that they have their own back, that they can do this, just one day at a time,” she said. “If they’re an addict or an alcoholic, or they’re living with somebody who is, it’s just so nice that they know they can take care of themselves, that it’s OK to feel safe because a lot of them don’t feel self-love and self-compassion. And to be able to have that space, it’s so beautiful because what you do on the mat transfers off the mat. So when they go home, they’re just better parents, sisters and brothers.” ••

For more information and to register, visit prancingpeacock.com or call 267–679–0791.

Samantha Bambino can be reached at sbambino@newspapermediagroup.com