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The Connection Between Yoga and Addiction Recovery

The Connection Between Yoga and Addiction Recovery

Addiction recovery is a complex and manifold process, involving all parts of a human’s being. In the same way as every person has his or her own reasons to resort to drugs in the first place, and their own way down into the addiction, the way up to freedom is also different for everybody. Everybody has to rebuild their own personality after damage caused by drugs, and it won’t do to try and rebuild it after a blueprint that doesn’t have anything to do with the original.

Because of this, it is a bit strange that an absolute majority of drug rehabilitation programs are more or less mechanical – their participants simply follow a pre-determined regimen that has little to no difference from case to case.

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Drug addiction isn’t an illness per se — it is a complicated affliction affecting in equal measure body, psyche, and rationality. As a result, it is only natural that the process of rehabilitation should involve practices that improve the condition of all three. Fortunately, lately there’s been an upsurge of a more synergetic approach to the rehab process.

As an example, the program Best Drug Rehab by Per Wickstrom advocates an individual approach to every participant and offers a wide range of practices tailored for people of all ages, races, and cultural backgrounds. One such practice is yoga, and it is no accident that it occupies a special place in the program’s treatment system.

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Yoga is an ancient practice originating in India and encompassing many apparently unconnected things, ranging from sets of exercises, meditation, and learning the skills of controlled breathing to far-reaching philosophical concepts and ideas. As such, it has powerful effects on all aspects of being. On a physical level, it has proven its ability to improve general health to an impressive extent, and on a psychological level, it has a considerable calming effect. As a result, yoga possesses synergetic restorative properties that are perhaps unique in the way they affect human beings as a whole, without undue concentration on any particular aspect.

While the initial stages of a yoga-centric program may prove challenging for people who have never taken part in yoga exercises before, there is no cause for undue alarm – yoga is one of those things that you don’t need considerable knowledge of to start out, and once you begin you may proceed in a natural way as long as you actually listen to the instructions of your teachers. Moreover, each and every person can take exactly what they need without going unnecessarily deep. Those interested in the physical applications of yoga exercises will stick to them without bothering with the philosophy aspect, for example. At the same time, even such an approach is bound to produce some kind of beneficial effect, especially if you consider the fact that people suffering from addiction and making their first tentative steps on the road to health and rehabilitation can use any possible help to move on.

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Yoga is especially well known for how useful it is for achieving inner peace and tranquility – and this is exactly what post-addiction patients need. Without some kind of inner peace, it is hardly possible to get your healthy life back, and yoga is an excellent help in this respect. One of the most important parts of yoga courses is that they teach new skills that can be just as well practiced outside of the class and can come in handy whenever the participants feel especially depressed or confused.

Drug rehab needn’t be all about drugs – it may just as well be about learning something new about life and bringing new experiences into your existence.

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Featured photo credit: Yoga/ Matt Madd via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

How to Stay Calm and Cool When You Are Extremely Stressful

Being in a hurry all the time drains your energy. Your work and routine life make you feel overwhelmed. Getting caught up in things beyond your control stresses you out…

If you’d like to stay calm and cool in stressful situations, put the following 8 steps into practice:

1. Breathe

The next time you’re faced with a stressful situation that makes you want to hurry, stop what you’re doing for one minute and perform the following steps:

  • Take five deep breaths in and out (your belly should come forward with each inhale).
  • Imagine all that stress leaving your body with each exhale.
  • Smile. Fake it if you have to. It’s pretty hard to stay grumpy with a goofy grin on your face.

Feel free to repeat the above steps every few hours at work or home if you need to.

2. Loosen up

After your breathing session, perform a quick body scan to identify any areas that are tight or tense. Clenched jaw? Rounded shoulders? Anything else that isn’t at ease?

Gently touch or massage any of your body parts that are under tension to encourage total relaxation. It might help to imagine you’re in a place that calms you: a beach, hot tub, or nature trail, for example.

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3. Chew slowly

Slow down at the dinner table if you want to learn to be patient and lose weight. Shoveling your food down as fast as you can is a surefire way to eat more than you need to (and find yourself with a bellyache).

Be a mindful eater who pays attention to the taste, texture, and aroma of every dish. Chew slowly while you try to guess all of the ingredients that were used to prepare your dish.

Chewing slowly will also reduce those dreadful late-night cravings that sneak up on you after work.

4. Let go

Cliche as it sounds, it’s very effective.

The thing that seems like the end of the world right now?

It’s not. Promise.

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Stressing and worrying about the situation you’re in won’t do any good because you’re already in it, so just let it go.

Letting go isn’t easy, so here’s a guide to help you:

21 Things To Do When You Find It Hard To Let Go

5. Enjoy the journey

Focusing on the end result can quickly become exhausting. Chasing a bold, audacious goal that’s going to require a lot of time and patience? Split it into several mini-goals so you’ll have several causes for celebration.

Stop focusing on the negative thoughts. Giving yourself consistent positive feedback will help you grow patience, stay encouraged, and find more joy in the process of achieving your goals.

6. Look at the big picture

The next time you find your stress level skyrocketing, take a deep breath, and ask yourself:

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Will this matter to me…

  • Next week?
  • Next month?
  • Next year?
  • In 10 years?

Hint: No, it won’t.

I bet most of the stuff that stresses you wouldn’t matter the next week, maybe not even the next day.

Stop agonizing over things you can’t control because you’re only hurting yourself.

7. Stop demanding perfection of yourself

You’re not perfect and that’s okay. Show me a person who claims to be perfect and I’ll show you a dirty liar.

Demanding perfection of yourself (or anybody else) will only stress you out because it just isn’t possible.

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8. Practice patience every day

Below are a few easy ways you can practice patience every day, increasing your ability to remain calm and cool in times of stress:

  • The next time you go to the grocery store, get in the longest line.
  • Instead of going through the drive-thru at your bank, go inside.
  • Take a long walk through a secluded park or trail.

Final thoughts

Staying calm in stressful situations is possible, all you need is some daily practice.

Taking deep breaths and eat mindfully are some simple ways to train your brain to be more patient. But changing the way you think of a situation and staying positive are most important in keeping cool whenever you feel overwhelmed and stressful.

Featured photo credit: Brooke Cagle via unsplash.com

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