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The Role That Yoga Plays In Recovery. Guest Post from Rose Lockinger

As you recover and heal from addiction, it is so important to find healthy alternatives to help you cope with the issues of daily life that may have sent you to that drug, drink, or food in the past. I myself found solace on a yoga mat, and was able to heal and recover from my food addiction.  Yoga, exercise, and good nutrition are encouraged to all clients of The Addictions Coach, as they can be a transition to establishing healthy habits that will replace the destructive behaviors.


The Role That Yoga Plays In Recovery

Rose Lockinger


When I was first getting sober in treatment it was hard and I didn’t particularly like the monotony from day-to-day of repeating the same schedule week after week. Waking up everyday and forcing myself to go was a struggle. Although the longer I stayed away from drugs and alcohol the better my life was getting. Sobriety was getting easier, I was making new friends, and I was no longer hopelessly addicted to drugs and alcohol.  I was also facing emotional pain that had been buried for years and years.  This was something I never imagined having the courage to do.

During treatment there were few things I looked forward to more than acupuncture and yoga therapy.  For five months 3 times a week, I started my morning with an hour of yoga.  This was a brand new experience for me, not doing yoga, but doing yoga sober!  I had done a lot of yoga prior, however, I had always wondered why it was that everybody raved about how relaxed it made them feel.  That was not the experience I had.  Although to be honest, adderall and yoga don’t mix, so that probably had a lot to do with why I struggled to relax during a session.

During the hour yoga class, my mind was completely still. There was no room for negative thoughts about  life because I was so focused on my breathing and the pain from holding some of the positions that any lingering thoughts were reduced to rubble. I would finish the class completely relaxed. It was as if my entire body had exhaled and for the first time in my life I learned what it meant for my mind to be still.

I still didn’t always enjoy treatment but doing yoga a couple of times a week gave me the space I needed in my head in order to continue until I finished. Whereas at the beginning of the week I was ready to quit and possibly put myself in a bad situation, by the end of the week I knew that I was capable of holding on for a while longer.

Much has been said about the benefits of yoga, that I probably can’t add anything new here, but what I can say is that starting my yoga practice greatly improved not only my life but my recovery as well. I wasn’t looking for any of this when I started, like I said I was just looking to try something new, but my best suggestion is that if you have never tried yoga and you are in recovery, go out and find a class today.

I have never really been able to meditate. Whenever I’d attend a meditation meeting I’d usually sit there in the dark, listening to the silence and counting down the minutes till it was over. People would share about how relaxed they were after those 10 minutes but I normally felt nothing. When I tried meditation at home I’d be able to make it maybe 5 minutes before my mind would wander endlessly and I’d have to get up and go and do something, but what I found is that Yoga is one of the only ways that I am capable of meditating.

The act of moving, focusing on my breath, and the heat of the room all seem to cut through the layers of thought that I have and allow me to quiet my mind. It really is an incredible thing to experience, not having a single thought in your head besides what is immediately in front of you. It brings me back to the present when my mind so often wants to drag me into the future or the past, places that when I drift to usually nothing good occurs.

Through yoga, I have learned why the 11th Step suggests prayer and meditation. Prayer is very important but I have found that without the quieting of the mind that takes place in a meditative state, prayer can become just meaningless words. It is said that prayer is where I speak to God and meditation is where he speaks to me. If I am constantly talking and never listening then a conversation isn’t taking place and it is difficult to build a relationship without communication. During yoga, I am able to get quiet enough to listen to God and to truly give thanks for my life.

For whatever reason when I am doing yoga I get an overwhelming feeling of gratitude that swells in my heart. I feel at peace with everything and everyone and all of my problems seem to melt away. Now I will admit that this is not always the case and there are times when the problems I am experiencing are not done away with by a simple yoga session, but for the most part I am able to get perspective on my life either during or after I do yoga.

Besides the mental benefits that yoga has brought to my recovery it has also brought physical benefits as well. Recovery is not just about mental and spiritual well-being but it is also about physical well-being. This is a fact that often overlooked and we tend to focus only on getting ourselves right spiritually and mentally. Yoga allowed me to strengthen my body and the weekly workouts that I get from my yoga practice are a great way to get my blood pumping while I was in treatment for 5 months.  Today I must admit that I do not have time to attend a yoga class however I do have a simple practice that I do on my own.  Most of the time it is in the morning but sometimes I do it at night.  It’s a wonderful way to center me for my day or calm my mind in the evening.

I am not sure what my recovery would look like if I hadn’t started doing yoga. I know I probably would have not had the resilience that I needed to face the emotional trauma and pain that I faced while inpatient. I wouldn’t know what it’s like to have a quiet mind. I am very grateful that my treatment center offered yoga  and I hope that if you have never tried yoga before, you will now.

Rose Lockinger

Rose Lockinger is a passionate member of the recovery community. A rebel who found her cause, she uses blogging and social media to raise the awareness about the disease of addiction. She has visited all over North and South America. Single mom to two beautiful children she has learned parenting is without a doubt the most rewarding job in the world. Currently the Outreach Director at Stodzy Internet Marketing.

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