The Power of Yoga for Recovery
Utilizing Yoga for Recovery
The door that opens the potential for recovery is usually pain (although sometimes it’s more like an insistent parent or partner!). The woman who chooses recovery is usually at the top of her game mentally, emotionally, physically, or spiritually. Pain just seems to have that power. It can make the most stubborn person finally admit maybe something needs to change.
There are a lot of uncertainties in early recovery, and sadly, more pain to be faced. One of the most important messages in twelve-step meetings is that putting down the drink, the needle, the pipe, whatever, is only the beginning.
The real work begins with the realization that addiction was only a symptom of a much bigger and deeper pattern of spiritual emptiness. So, what next? What else needs to be done? Maybe it’s time to consider adding yoga to your recovery routine.
An Introduction to Yoga and Recovery
Yoga was introduced to my life while I was still in treatment. Using yoga for recovery was one of the hundreds of things I stored somewhere in my head as “oh, I’ll do that someday.” Realistically, I was never going to use yoga for recovery as long as I kept living the way I was.
Addiction completely robbed me of the motivation to do anything besides, drum roll please, use more drugs. To say I was spiritually lost is a vast understatement. I despised myself so deeply that I couldn’t even turn on the bathroom light, for fear of seeing my own face. Like many addicts and alcoholics, my self-hatred was so intense that I had no choice but to bask numbly in that comfortable blanket of total denial.
Recognizing this was the first of many rude awakenings in early sobriety. I was going to have to actually do something about this pitiful lack of self-esteem.
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Yoga for Recovery is a Gift
I was given a huge gift through my treatment center for women and that was the thrice weekly yoga class.
Practicing yoga in recovery wasn’t easy for me. There were multiple classes that ended with me in a puddle of tears (not only because I was insanely sore!). Often, as the teacher led us through different positions, I had movie reels playing in my head – all of which were filled with pain, loss, and hurt.
This isn’t something I expected or asked for. It certainly wasn’t something I wanted. Instead, using yoga for recovery was one of the many gifts sobriety gave me, which, had it been up to me, I never would have gotten.
There were days when yoga brought me through more pain, and opened my eyes wider, than any therapy session could. It’s one of those things I still practice on a daily basis, almost two years later! As a woman in recovery, yoga allows me to take my prayer, meditation, and 11th step work to a different level.
Yoga for Recovery From Trauma
As a women with trauma, the most important lesson yoga’s taught me is that I’m safe. I’m safe to be open. I’m safe to be expressive. I’m safe to learn how to let go of the false belief that it matters what other people think of me.
In my experience, practicing yoga for recovery is a revealing metaphor for my life. If I’m open, yoga shows me who I truly am.