In Peters recovery from addiction, he found that the 12-step program provides him with tools for healing mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. However, he has recently used Yoga for recovery to get a deeper physically healing, and to help reconnect his mind and body. Yoga is a physical, mental, and spiritual practice or discipline which originated in India. It’s a practice that uses physical postures and controlled breathing to lengthen and strengthen the spine, increase flexibility, calm the mind, improve concentration, and promote patience.
I had a chance to sit down with peter and ask him about his journey:
What motivated you into yoga?
I was first introduced to yoga for recovery by a friend. I didn’t really want to go, but I still went because recovery taught me to be open-minded. I realized yoga was harder than it looked, but I was hooked.
There’s days where I’m looking forward to getting on my mat all day at work. There’s also days where I’m still sore from the day before, or carrying emotional turmoil and the last thing I want to do is get on the mat and move around. Using what Recovery has taught me I learned that when I don’t want to go, is when I should go, and that’s when I get the most out of yoga.
As my practice deepened, I found myself having spiritual experiences on my yoga mat. These moments of severe bliss and surrender, moments of connection to something beyond my small finite self. I was evolving in these classes and I couldn’t get enough of it. Yoga helps me relax for mediation. It helped bridge the gap between my physical exercise and spiritual life. Before yoga I worked out and meditated separately as two different practices. Yoga combined meditation and physical exercise.
What advice do you have for anyone in recovery interested in yoga?
Deciding that you want to start doing yoga is the first step. Don’t be intimidated by experienced yogis. When I first started I couldn’t do much, I wasn’t flexible at all. Start at a basic level and try not to judge yourself on flexibility. Talking to the yoga instructor after the class and learning about basic poses like downward facing dog, and chaturanga.
Yoga has been a journey. Just like in recovery there’s obstacles that we overcome through practice and actually doing the work, the same is with yoga. Today I have more energy throughout the day, I feel grounded, and I have a new sense of well being and creativity.
Looking to start?
Every Sunday at 11 a.m., the Lululemon store in Highland Village offers a free yoga class from a different local studio—mats are even provided if you don’t have your own.