Addiction should not be treated with a one-sized-fits-all” approach. Every person is different, and every story of recovery needs to be approached with a personalized approach. Fortunately, there are a wide variety of ways to treat addiction, giving you options to find out what works for you. Yoga is one of these exciting tools that some people have found to be really helpful as part of their recovery program.
What is yoga?
Yoga is a form of exercise rooted in stretching and combining different physical possessions controlled breath. The word “yoga” comes from a Sanskrit word meaning to yoke or join together, because it connects mind, body, and spirit towards a higher purpose. Traditionally, the practice of yoga extends to a eight ethical, meditative, and physical practices. This article will focus primarily on two – asana, or postures that stretch the body, and pranayama, or deliberate breathing in a slow, steady rhythm. Together, these two practices can increase balance, strength, stamina, and flexibility, as well as promote a relaxed and present way of being in the world.
Benefits in recovery
All forms of exercise can be really important part of the recovery process, as a way to increase your physical health, have fun in sobriety, and develop routines of self-care. Yoga’s distinct characteristics and approaches offer further benefits that can be very helpful.
Substance abuse involves all about ignoring your body’s true needs, distorting your view of yourself and reality around you, and making you feel a strong craving for something that is actually poisonous. So an important part of recovery is learning how to listen to your true needs, and to treat yourself with compassion.
Because it links the mind and the body together, yoga can be an excellent way to become aware of your body, and to treat it in a kind and nurturing way. By learning to stretch your body to its limits in a gentle and safe environment, and become attuned to both its power and its limitations. Compassion for oneself arises from this and with it, a new ability to deal with stressful situations, so you feel empowered and ready for positive change.
While some forms of physical exercise encourage an attitude of “no pain, no gain,” properly done yoga does not. Trying to stretch as hard as you can too quickly can bring on injury. Learning yoga takes a more patient, long-term approach, starting easy and building over time. Even the most simple poses can be very beneficial and healing, if they are done regularly. Most yoga practitioners recommend starting out with a teacher or in a group class, to ensure you are able to pick on the basics and do things with the right level of mindfulness and gentleness.
There might be a wide variety of studios available in your area, so search around to find a teacher and class that fits your needs well. Yoga exercise comes in a variety of different types, including hatha that focused on gentle, restorative stretching, vinyasa that is more fast moving and connects with breath, and bikram that takes place in a very hot environment. If the cost of classes feels prohibitive, some studios may be willing to allow you to attend classes for free in exchange for volunteering.
Making yoga a part of your healing and routine can be a very important part of your recovery. Just trying a basic series of stretches followed by a deep relaxation can go a long way towards healing both your body and mind from the ravages of addiction. Yoga can teach you how to love yourself as a whole person, and that is one of the most important lessons for a successful and full recovery.