In March we had asked our followers from the various social media sites to tell us how they cope with pain. We were overwhelmed by how many of you took time out of your busy schedules to respond (see our blog “No More Pill Popping March 7th, 2015) we were happy to hear many of you had been implementing alternative therapies such as acupuncture, massage therapy, relaxation therapy, but most of you practised yoga. This week we decided to explore not only why yoga works in relieving pain but how effective a tool it can become to a recovering addict. The practise of yoga has entered the mainstream in the last ten years of so, classes are offered in schools, communities centres, fitness centres , not to mention the numerous yoga studios dedicated to one or more of the various yoga classifications. There are eight different types or branches of yoga; anusara, ashtanga, bikram, hatha, hot yoga, iyengar, restorative and vinyasa, and they are all beneficial helping to heal your aches and pains relaxing your mind and soothing your soul.
While all forms of yoga are beneficial Hatha yoga is very popular among recovering addicts. Hatha when translated means Ha– the sun and tha the moon, and when they are joined together the word Hatha represents a balance of opposites, and practitioners of Hatha yoga hope to create and maintain a balance in all things within their lives. Many claim that this type of yoga in addition to regularly attending group meetings, help them remain clean and sober. Addiction recovery groups deal with the social, emotional, and psychological obstacles one faces, however these groups do not deal with the physical and chemical imbalances within the body that can threaten one’s sobriety. It is well known that stress of any kind releases the hormones cortisol and adrenaline and, excessive amounts of these hormones have been associated with anxiety disorders, depression, and substance abuse. The consistent practise of the Hatha style yoga will help the recovering addict cope during times of stress and anxiety, reducing toxic hormones levels, restoring balance and making him or her less likely to return to their addictive behaviours. Another very interesting observation made among recovering addicts who have incorporated Hatha yoga into their daily lives, is their ability to now be able to “…pay attention to how their cravings and urges manifest themselves, identify them, accept them, and then let them go. You can just let it pass and notice the impermanence” (1) When you believe- truly believe, that moments of stress and chaos are not permanent and that they will eventually pass, the desire to turn to drugs and alcohol to mute them becomes diminished; in this way Hatha yoga becomes an invaluable tool to the recovering addict.
There are eight basic poses or asanas and each pose has its own affirmation or statement of truth. Child’s Pose or Balasana releases tension in the shoulders and spine, while helping to release mental stress and fatigue, promoting feelings of safety and protection. While this is a most restful pose (see the above picture) its affirmation is “I rest in trust and patience” which resonates with most; it is only with trust and patience can one hope to stay calm and grounded.
The Oasis Movement