yoga, Yoga, YOGA

yoga

Yoga. Almost every recovery blog, sober website, or poster on dry threads seems to have got into yoga. I am no exception. I’m a 51 year old, stiff woman with a BMI of just over 25 and I’m contorting myself 4 times a week into the most extraordinary poses, and I LOVE it. Really, I LOVE it, I can’t get enough yoga; I snuck out of work for a 10.30 yoga class this morning (admin day) and claimed the time as my lunch break ( I never, ever get a lunch break – that’s a different story) … I’m planning and plotting to try and get to 5 classes a week, as I feel too clumsy and uncoordinated to practice very much at home at the moment.

Yes, I’m a new convert. I had literally never considered yoga before I got sober this time, I don’t even think I’d given it much thought to be honest, and if in passing I’d wondered about ‘yoga’, I think I imagined a bunch of earnest, vegan, tree hugging people squatting on the ground and meditating. I certainly couldn’t have imagined that I would fit in…, or that the practice of yoga would become a crucially important cornerstone to my life.

So, just in case ANYONE reading this doesn’t already know, and most of you on that sober journey know MUCH more than I do… what is yoga? whats the point ? and how come it’s suddenly become so important to me (and it seems countless other recovering addicts)

Literally yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice or discipline which originated in ancient India. The development of yoga can be traced back to over 5,000 years ago, but some researchers think that yoga may be up to 10,000 years old old. Yoga’s spiritual side has its roots in the Hindu faith, with some input from other ancient religious traditions. The main philosophy of yoga is simple: mind, body and spirit are all one and cannot be clearly separated and so basically yoga is a collection of techniques and practices aimed at integrating mind, body and spirit to achieve a state of enlightenment or oneness with the universe

Apart from the spiritual goals, the physical postures of yoga are used nowadays to alleviate health problems, reduce stress and make the spine supple, and the joints and muscles strong and flexible.

Central to the postures is breathing. For most poses the breath is slow and steady, breathed in and out of the nose and down into the belly. This focus on breathing helps induce a kind of meditative state.

The practice of yoga poses and meditation prove to be a powerful combination. With consistent  practice the wobbly body becomes stronger and steadier and the stressed, over anxious mind becomes calmer, I think this is the main reason why so many people have fallen into the practice of yoga

 

 

So what do I, personally get out of it ? When I quit drinking I started to attend several different type of classes at the gym, but yoga has been the one that stuck. Why ?

I think its

  1. progress – I can literally feel progress. I’m already much better balanced, more flexible and bendy than I was. I like this, It makes me feel like I actively inhabit my body
  2. Its FEELS good – stretching and expanding muscle groups just feels good. Its feels especially good when someone else adds just a little pressure and takes it one stage further!
  3. Its inspiring. My favourite yoga teacher is a woman at least 10 years older than me, who is SO strong and flexible, I find her very inspirational
  4. it is relaxing. It takes practice, but that breathing and mindfulness type exercise does calm the mind and provide some kind of sustenance.

And the lessons I have taken from Yoga so far ?

  •  Flexibility and strength are equally important

I walked into my first yoga class convinced I would be the most uncordinated, useless , weak student. And at first I was, but alongside me was a very strong, muscular youngish man, who equally couldn’t hold the poses… he’s learning  alongside me…

A healthy body needs a balance of flexibility and strength.

Flexibility is good in all aspects of our lives. Learning to go with the flow and adapt to the circumstances is key to stress reduction. We also need to find strength: strength to stand up for our values and strength to keep to our commitments

  • You need to know your limits

Through yoga we learn to listen to our bodies. We try hard, but we don’t push it if it feels painful. I am no where near being able to lift myself into a crow pose… so I dont, I wantch and try to learn, and develop some patience and trust that one day I WILL be able to do this…

(That’s not me !)

This same respect for our limits, patience and trust is important in day to day life. If my workload is overwhelming and I’m feeling stressed, I SHOULD respect my own limits by saying no to more tasks!. When I feel anxious or stressed about drinking, its ok to turn down social invitations..

3. I / You CAN do it ..

When I think I simply CANNOT physically reach the floor, or catch my foot? when I am afraid that standing on one leg means I will fall ? Actually, with help, I CAN do it

Fear, in all aspects of our lives, holds us back. It keeps us from applying for that job we want, stepping in to the unknown, or falling in love. Its a good feeling to get past the fear…”Feel the fear – and do it anyway.” isn’t that the title of a book ?  It is only by acknowledging, accepting, and moving past fear that we can fulfill our potential.And now I CAN do a Warrior balance !

(sadly that’s not me! )

Namaste


44 comments

  1. Lily when I said that I liked yoga at the retreat the guy called me a junkie! Apparently the endorphins are addictive, haha seriously! Is that true?

    Liked by 2 people

    • Re endorphins? Yes, it’s true that endorphins are your bodies naturally produced peptides that are released in response to pain (primarily) ; they bind to opiate receptors and are probably partially responsible for the phenomenon where soldiers wounded feel no pain initially. Endorphins can also be produced by exercise, and lead to that post exercise ‘high’ that runners and others experience. 😀 lily 🌷

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I love Yoga & it’s definitely the recovery way to go. A Word of warning though – careful when trying to copy your friend in a class! I put my back out trying to catch hold of my foot in a balancing pose. I still can’t bend down properly after 3 weeks! Am going on a yoga retreat in Toulouse in a few weeks time – so I’m hoping to be fit by then!!

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  3. Hi Lily!
    I am 62 with a bad back, and I love yoga!
    I love the breathing techniques, and use breathing to calm myself down, and get to sleep.
    I STILL can’t do the crow pose, however, and I’ve been going for 8 years!
    Oh well.
    xo
    Wendy

    Liked by 2 people

  4. yes, Yes, YES!! I love this! And hey, I’m hugging a tree in my pic! It’s much more calming to hug a tree than a toilet bowl. 😉 SO glad you found yoga and love it. The benefits are endless. Add sobriety and the sky is the limit. I love how many sober yogi’s there are. We’re a powerful little group, aren’t we? Namaste. 🙏☀️

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Brilliant explanation! If I didn’t already do yoga I’d probably start after reading this. I’ve done it on and off for almost 20 years and I love how it constantly changes with me, usually to accommodate injuries (currently 2 dodgy wrists and a shoulder). It’s definitely a help to me during this early sobriety too 🙂

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  6. I love it, too! I’ve been incorporating more and more yoga into my workouts and am in the best shape of my life at age 49! Not skinniest, but most physically fit and strong. I am so proud of myself every time I can bend, stretch or balance another way. Who knew?! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I absolutely love yoga. One of my favorite things about it is it is all at your own pace. Another thing I love is how flexible I have become since starting yoga. Thank you for your post- truly inspiring!
    Carlee- evenmoreyou.wordpress.com

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Most common excuse for not doing yoga is I DO NOT HAVE TIME
    but reality is everybody got some time it is matter of priority.
    namaste to all yogis and yoginis out there

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  9. Working in the field of recovery, I’ve found that yoga provides many unsuspecting individuals with a solid introduction to holistic approaches, which they may have otherwise avoided, through the transformative experience such practices imbue. Adding yoga to one’s workout regimen can work wonders. Combining spiritual/meditative practices with physical movement works wonders. Whether you’re in recovery or not. Great post!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Reblogged this on Gap2730 and commented:
    I love Lily!! She is trying… I recently tried Yoga with Linda and it was fun. I know I will like it when I get more classes under my belt.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. When I started Post Graduation in Yogic Science….. The second question asked was who can do yoga?….. and you are the live example of that question…… Hurray…..Go girl! You just busted the myths……… One more thing about the roots of yoga…. Yoga was even before the Hindu traditions developed…. it was even before the vedas (religious scriptures of Hindus) developed……So I would like to call yoga as a spiritual practice than a religious practice.. Just a thought.

    Liked by 1 person


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