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Benefits Of Yoga In Addiction Recovery

You've stopped drinking, and now you are looking around at the world and wondering what is out there for you. You begin to cast about for some guidance and ask “What else is there?”

Suddenly you have a lot of time on your hands. More time than you could have wished for than when you were rooted in a drinking fog. Not only does drinking consume all your time in the act of drinking but also the long-term effects on your brain. Once you put some sober days together, you begin to question how you can fill your hours beneficially.

The first way is to begin a meditation practice. This will start the process of connecting yourself back together. Another useful method to introduce is Yoga.

If you are unfamiliar with Yoga and you think it is just for the girls then let me quickly disabuse you of that notion. Yoga is hard for those completely out of shape, and whose only exercise has been fetching the wine out of the fridge for the past thirty years. Even a beginner routine can seem impossibly tricky because you don't have any flexibility or muscle tone.

The good news is that you don't need a gym to practise Yoga and you also don't need a lot of time. The only equipment you need is a mat. Thirty minutes a day is plenty, and you can slowly build up your routine in the comfort of your own home. You can find plenty of beginners Yoga routines on Youtube, and this is the one I began with, and there was plenty of groaning, creaking and cracking going on in the beginning.

What Are The Benefits Of Yoga?

When you begin your recovery from alcohol or drug abuse you are broken mentally, spiritually and emotionally. Every day is a challenge and every day is met with a newly sober perspective that just feels, well, weird.

Yoga can bridge the gap between your disconnected self and your true ego. It can reduce stress, help to quiet the mind and enable you to find comfort and peace.

Talking of stress if you have a Smartphone with a sensor that records things like heart rate it may also have a stress sensor. When I registered my stress over several months, I could not believe how quickly the level came down. Here's a screenshot I took today.

Screenshot stress

Building Strength

Yoga builds flexibility and strength. If you suffer from painful joints or you are a puny weakling from years of inactivity getting with a Yoga program can bring quick gains. You may not be able to touch your toes in the beginning, but after a few weeks, the poses will become easier. I noticed benefits after just a few days.

Aches and pains you feel from withdrawal will decrease as you stretch them out and the calming breathing exercises will help to centre you spiritually.

Reducing Stress

Getting used to living a sober life can be very stressful! When you no longer use alcohol as a crutch to support your social inadequacies you can feel naked and afraid. Yoga emphasises willpower and self-discipline, and it can help you regain control over your addictive urges. Practising Yoga can also help you sleep better, and those early in recovery know how difficult sleep can be to come by!

Increases Your Heart Rate

If you thought Yoga was merely a case of standing around trying to look good in a few poses, then you have a shock coming. Yoga gets the blood flowing and the heart pumping. Some of the poses are easy, some are hard and learning the transition between poses is what makes it so much fun. Yoga can also decrease your blood pressure. (mine is normal these days after years of being high).

Build Awareness For Transformation

No matter what your age you can change. You can leave the alcohol behind. But to do that you have to change, you can't expect change to happen on its own; you have to make change happen.

Yoga and meditation combined, build focus and awareness. They are the building blocks on which I based my recovery. In my drinking days, my life was full of drama, always rushing from one calamity to another and consistently putting out metaphoric fires only to have another one startup as soon as the other is extinguished.

Both Yoga and meditation will help you come to terms with the state of your crushed and damaged mind and body and begin the healing process for you. If you are serious about recovery, then these two warriors will do battle for you where it counts – in mind, because that is where all the action takes place.

There are many more benefits to add, but today I wanted to draw your attention to the fact that Yoga is there for you to use as a recovery tool and you might like to incorporate it into your day to day sober life.

That's it for today. Stay safe, stay sober and we'll catch up tomorrow.

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