Call it “PROGA” Maryhaven’s PROS West in Yaphank uses Yoga as a part of the Recovery Toolkit

By Mark Rhodes

Stereotypically the purview of the counter culture, hippies and bohemians, Yoga has filtered into the mainstream to the point where it feels like everybody has a Yoga practice.  In recent years there has been a surge of interest in applying yoga within the area of managing mental health disorders and symptoms such as anxiety, depression,  PTSD, and eating disorders.  There have been myriad studies indicating that a consistent yoga practice (roughly 2-3 times a week for 20-30 minutes) will alleviate mental health symptoms, often in a dramatic fashion.  Yoga, with its unique emphasis on the connection of mind and body helps those struggling with mental health disorders the opportunity to see that their mind and body are something they can work with in a yoga practice rather than against in struggles with symptoms or health issues. Many mental health professionals believe that yoga can calm the nervous system and can function as a concrete method for coping and managing stress.  Also, Yoga’s focus on setting an intent and being present helps foster the idea of positive thinking and emphasizing taking an active role in recovery. Beyond this, there are a legion of physical benefits as Yoga is beneficial in lowering blood pressure, promoting weight loss and 

PROS West in Yaphank has yoga as part of recovery programming.  Mark Rhodes, a 200 hour RYT certified Yoga Instructor leads clients in a 45 minute practice which is a fusion of standing and kneeling poses, body work, breathing, mediation and some core work.   Other aspects of Yoga are discussed and utilized within some of the other PROS West groups such as Stress Management, Recovery Through Movement and “Mindful Monday.”  Alec D of PROS West is one of the participants and admits that the practice has a noticeable benefit for his recovery work. “Yoga helps me unwind and loosens up the tension in my body.”   Another PROS client, Jerome D, believes “Yoga helps my peace of mind and keeps me relaxed in body and mind.”boosting the immune system.

Yoga also helps clients become more confident in their movement and allows for boosts in self esteem due to the opportunity to master the practice.  With all of these benefits that touch on the physical, emotional and psychological there is little surprise that Yoga is quickly becoming a fixture in Mental Health Programming.

For questions, please contact Mark Rhodes at or the Maryhaven PROS Director, Amanda Dondero at

to Maryhaven PROS West




Previous Spotlight

Jonathan Vargas, Pace University


This curriculum is offered to all through the generosity of the Mental Health Association of Rockland County.  It was created by Jonathan Vargas, a Social Work Intern from Pace University and has provided a 3-month and a 6-month version of the curriculum.

‘This curriculum is heavily rooted with narrative therapy practices for a process-oriented young adult to older adult group. It seeks to be a psychoeducational group with journaling integrated throughout to allow members to redefine their self-concept and promote a healthier shift in perspective about their life’s purpose and meaning. It begins by establishing trust within the group, followed by introducing principles of narrative identity and the skills associated with the practice. These include separating problems from oneself, finding exceptions, identifying dominant themes, then re-establishing one’s past and present stories to be more empowering.’ – Jonathan Vargas

MHA-Rockland Finding Meaning – My Life Story (Class Outline)

MHA-Rockland Finding Meaning – My Life Story (3 Month)

MHA-Rockland Finding Meaning – My Life Story (6 Month)

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