Sep 23

Recovery Yoga

September is both National Recovery and National Yoga month.  It really is no shock to me that they should share this space as they are nearly synonymous in my mind.  I mean when you really think about it all yoga is about recovery and all recovery is really a form of yoga.

“You cannot do yoga. Yoga is your natural state. What you can do are yoga exercises, which may reveal to you where you are resisting your natural state. “  ~ Sharon Gannon

Bear with me, another word search is in order.  Compare definitions from dictionary.com:

Recovery – “A return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength.   The action or process of regaining possession or control of something stolen or lost.”

Yoga  – “Any of the methods or disciplines prescribed, especially a series of postures and breathing exercises, practiced to achieve control of the body and mind, tranquility, etc.  Union of the self with the Supreme Being or ultimate principle.”

If you need more do some digging on your own and I bet you’ll just keep finding examples to further support my point.  Recovery Yoga is a term most often used in relation to yoga practice for addiction recovery but yoga is and always has been a practice of restoring balance to recover all that we have lost, to find what truly belongs to us and what we were meant to be.  So does it really even matter what we are recovering from?  The truth is that most of us have fallen out of balance at some point.  Most of us have lost the connection with our natural state.  And yes, most of our addictions, diseases and difficulties stem from the long term effects of this disconnect.

Even the seemingly “minor” issues of reducing everyday stress and worry can be challenging if we don’t have the right tools.  We often go after mental and emotional difficulties by trying to change our thoughts and feelings.  This is a very good thing but it may take time to thoroughly address the past and change our thought patterns.  Finding emotional balance can be difficult on our own because the emotions tend to run the show most of time.  We can become frustrated in our efforts to find methods that give direct instructions for feeling at least a little better right now.  Some may feel that the condition of the physical body is the least of our worries while others may feel so physically drained that exercise seems a hopeless chore.  For this very reason yoga offers a solution that addresses the mind, body and Spirit simultaneously in a gentle way and for most of us this should begin with a physical practice.  Here we can find some degree of immediate relief to mental and emotional disturbances by working in reverse order and connecting with the body first.

Aside from the obvious benefits of bringing the physical body into its natural state of balance we find that the mind and the emotions tend to follow suit.   We learn through the postures and the breath to appreciate peace in the present moment and in time we begin to view the bigger picture with some healthy detachment.   Yoga provides concrete action which can be taken in times of distress as well as the blessing of general wellbeing.   As we become a witness of thought and emotion we learn to quiet the mind and accept one experience, one moment, one breath at a time just as it is…with no resistance.  As we widen our view, open the heart and create new space within we begin to realize the ever increasing positive effects of both the moving and the sitting meditation on our outer conditions.   We can achieve the immediate goal to FEEL better as we pursue the ultimate goal of recovery which is to BE healthy in all areas.

So, do you need to find a guru, spend tons of money on gear or join a fancy studio to practice yoga?  The short answer is no.  You can start at home with nothing but your own body and some simple instructions for breathing in Seated Meditation and Sun Salutations.   Follow the links and you can start right now.  The long answer is that there is much to be gained from being a part of the yogic community and certainly from having a knowledgeable teacher and mentor.   There are many helpful techniques, adjustments and philosophies that are shared more efficiently through direct contact.  There is an amazing group of like minded people out there to provide support throughout the journey.   There are many more poses that are specific to recovery, some of which will be shared here in future posts, to further your personal practice.  All of this is true but none of it is necessary to realize the benefits of yoga.  Do what you can do, make a start and see where it takes you.  There is strength, freedom and healing when we let go and return to our natural state.  Recover what was lost; rediscover all that belongs to you.  Reconnect with the Source and remember your True Self.   Explore Yoga….Embrace Recovery…..Find Peace.


Check out the Yoga tab on the menu above for more resources to create your own practice.

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