Upper Darby trainer says yoga can reduce drug addiction

Jennifer Bedrick says yoga can help reduce drug use in Delco.
Jennifer Bedrick says yoga can help reduce drug use in Delco.
Posted: February 12, 2013

UPPER DARBY and yoga.

You're probably thinking that those words don't go together. Not like, say, drugs and crime.

But you're not Jennifer Bedrick.

The 34-year-old mother is bringing free yoga to Upper Darby in an effort to fight addiction - and all the neighborhood problems that come with it - one sun salutation at a time.

"I've done yoga in the city and in Narberth, but it's like a void here. I realized this would be a good community project," said Bedrick, whose past has included a few addictions, from nicotine to sugar to "more recreational things."

In December, Bedrick implemented her 90-classes-in-90-days concept by gathering a few yoga instructors to teach at the boxing and karate gym on West Chester Pike.

The classes are open to the community, but especially to residents looking for a mental and physical edge to combat drug or alcohol addiction - or any other type of addiction. Donations are welcome.

"Yoga and kickboxing have been my yin and my yang," Bedrick, who has worked in personal training said. "And meditation. Things started to make sense. I found myself being happier.

"You're trying to breathe through something that's difficult, knowing it's not going to last forever," she said. "You're getting stronger, and the next time you go into that pose it's a little easier, because you've been there before. Taking what you learn on the mat and applying it to life helps."

The gym is across the street from the Upper Darby police station, where Superintendent Michael Chitwood was skeptical that yoga could reduce the drug problem in his patch of Delaware County. But it couldn't hurt, either, he said.

"If it's working for her, God bless her," said Chitwood, who gets up at 4 a.m. every day to go to the gym. "But some of the clients we deal with, they're not going to yoga."

Since December 2010, police in Upper Darby have recorded 25 drug-overdose deaths. Twenty were directly related to heroin.

Bedrick said that classes have been small and some participants haven't returned. Yoga is challenging and uncomfortable for most people at first. But, she said, the director of the gym now wants to make it a regular program.

"Sometimes, being present to how much things suck at the moment is not always great," she said. "But they get better."

For more information, contact Jennifer Bedrick at 610-348-2898 or recoveryyoga@hotmail.com.

On Twitter: @wbender99

Blog: philly.com/DailyDelco


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