Yoga and Mindfulness: Directing Attention Towards the Present Moment
One of the most crucial areas of addiction recovery is building attention towards the present moment. When we abuse drugs or alcohol, we take away our inhibitions and become part of a world that isn’t reality. Our perception becomes skewed and we can’t think clearly – and with such a distorted version of reality, we’re unable to live our lives in ways that are most meaningful and fulfilling. By taking a holistic approach to treatment, we take into consideration all of the aspects of our lives that have influenced us through practices that reach the mind, body and spirit. Yoga has been practiced by people for over 5,000 years – and with so many healing benefits, it’s fits right into addiction recovery.
What is Yoga?
In 2015, the Yoga Journal explained that yoga is derived from the Sanskrit word yuj which is often interpreted as a “bind” or “union”. Yoga is a practice that incorporates physical postures with meditativeness to help people feel more grounded. It is often through these movements that people can become more connected to themselves; there is nothing to distract them, and they are able to develop a firmer sense of clarity in their present-day moments.
There are many types of yoga, such as:
· Iyengar – focuses on alignment as well as detailed and precise movements
· Kundalini – releasing “trapped” energy and focusing on the breath
· Ashtanga – physically demanding postures linking breath to movement
· Vinyasa – an athletic yoga style with different sequences
· And more
A common misconception is that yoga is a religion, but it’s not; in fact, it’s a beautiful approach to healing that anyone can use. Amit Ray, an Indian author and spiritual master, once stated, “Yoga is not a religion. It is a science, science of well-being, science of youthfulness, science of integrating body, mind and soul.”
How Yoga Fits into Addiction Recovery
A study published in the journal The Humanistic Psychologist once emphasized that yoga can become part of mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) programs for addiction recovery treatment centers, along with meditation and other holistic activities. Those in recovery often find that with increased mindfulness (grounding to the present moment), they’re better able to work through challenging emotions which could have led to relapse.
In 2014, researchers explored various narratives of those who have practice yoga as part of their addiction recovery journey by assessing a number of articles pertaining to this. They found that yoga promotes mindfulness through 8 elements:
· Ethical disciplines –
· Individual observances
· Breath control
· Withdrawal of senses
Even those who are only able to practice once a week can find benefits from this practice; one person shared their story via the Huffington Post about their experience with yoga as part of their recovery journey. Here is an excerpt from their story: “Addiction is a state of mind and body where we feel distant from ease…the physical practice of yoga, along with breath practices, serves to detoxify the body and to calm the mind.”
Taking It One Step at a Time
There are many types of holistic practices that a person can incorporate into their addiction recovery regime – yoga, meditation, chiropractic services, massage therapy and more all provide their own unique benefits. By focusing on the present moment, individuals are better equipped with tools to work through some of life’s toughest emotions – such as sadness, anger, guilt, depression and others. If you’re ready to incorporate some yoga into your daily routine, try out these three helpful yoga poses to begin:
1. Thunderbolt Pose – kneel on the floor with your knees pointing forward. Sit up straight and relax your arms by your side, remembering to keep your chest straight. Focus on your breathing; this pose promotes confidence.
2. Child’s Pose – kneel with your thighs slightly apart, raising your hands over your head and bringing them forward to touch the ground in front of you. Keep your arms stretched as you breathe in and out; this position is meant to bring you back to that childlike state of innocence – to relieve your body of some of the stresses of daily life.
3. Corpse Pose – as a meditation pose, you can use this in between different sequences of your yoga routine or at the very end. With this, you lie down on your back and simply let your body relax. As you breathe in and out, your body will work to alleviate some additional stress.
You do not have to be experienced in physical activity, breathing or anything of the sort in order to become involved in yoga. People of all ages have benefitted from this practice, and there are many different levels of difficulty depending on your needs. Addiction recovery should incorporate not only physical healing from addiction, but also healing of the mind and soul – as they are just as much a part of our human experience.
If you’re ready to begin your journey towards restoration of the mind, body and spirit, speak with a professional from a reputable treatment center today.
The mission of The Beach House is to provide success in the recovery process and elevate the standard of comprehensive addiction treatment. Located right on the coast of Malibu, California, expert clinical care and a holistic view of the recovery process is provided to ensure Best-in-Class treatment tailored to the needs of each client. If you’re ready to start your recovery journey today, call us at 310-924-0780.
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