For those in a 12 step program finding spirituality is no stranger. As for those that are not, well it’s not about religion. It’s about delving deeper into yourself while creating a mindfulness that absolutely will keep you clean. It only works if you work it though.
For me yoga and the 12 steps went hand in hand. Yoga taught me to meditate on my feelings, stretch out my tension, and took my mind off of my problems. The 12 steps work on a cognitive level. Yoga works on a somatic aproach. The 2 combined create a true mind-body approach to recovery.
There have actually been several scientific studies on yoga and addiction that prove just how effective it is. Don’t believe me? Google it. I’m not enabling you and arguing the point. I will however, give you some facts that back me up on this one.
7 ways yoga aids in addiction recovery:
- Provides a natural high: wait.. what? Yes, you read that right. Yoga and meditation actually provides a sense of high. It’s not the same as what you’ve chased before. It’s a mental and physical feeling that occurs due to the increased blood flow, hormones you produced, and peace of mind found after a practice. It’s a warm fuzzy kind of tingle that you makes you want to smile all day like those crazy hippies do.
- Gives you a community: the 12 steps give you a community as well. For many more is needed in that department though. Besides that we don’t work so hard at recovery to stay within those walls. We work hard to be able to branch outside of that comfort zone and to rebuild our lives. Having a community outside of your program is a major step down the right path.
- Builds coping skills: mediation helps you to delve deeper into your mind and learn it inside and out. This gives you greater control over your thoughts and emotions. It provides you with a means to calmly stop, think, and let go of a situation. Let’s face it, we all need that.
- It provides a very positive outlet: around here you will notice I talk about coping and outlets often. Well truth be told a lack of coping skills, and seeking negative outlets is what landed us addicts in the first place. One of the most important things you can do for yourself right now is to find positive outlets, and learn to cope. Yoga and meditation provide exactly that.
- It boost self confidence: trust me I know yours isn’t the best. Mine wasn’t and sometimes still isn’t either. However, tackling something as challenging as yoga definitely helps. Everytime I master a pose I never thought I would master, my confidence goes up over 9000! Not to mention I’ve built up my core, my arms and legs look great, and my skin is on fleek! That’s what yoga does to your body, makes it look amazing.
- This is one tool you can take anywhere: my biggest problem early in recovery was when I was traveling. I had many tools I used at home, but they don’t travel well. You don’t actually need anything but space to do yoga. Which means you can do it in a hotel, a park, hell you can do right there in the conference room if no one is looking. Why not develop a coping mechanism that travels well?
- You get to wear yoga pants: okay, so this one isn’t really an “aid”, still yoga pants are comfortable. I will literally wear them all day if I’m going to a yoga class. I have a great I’m going to class, or just came from class. I don’t have to tell people what time that class was exactly…… Right?
Well there it is. 7 amazing reasons to add yoga to your recovery. I’m sure there are so many more. In fact if you know of one comment it below!