Yoga and Relapse Prevention
How does yoga enhance recovery and prevent relapse?
From a yogic perspective, there is the belief that our life experiences, both positive and negative, are logged into the tissues of the body. Our experiences create patterns or grooves called Samskaras and are embedded not only in our bodies, but in our psyche as well. It can explain why, when we relapse, we’re right back where we left off. The patterns are always there. The brain doesn't forget.
Samskaras are our behaviors and thought patterns we default to. We can hold on to our wounds, our traumas, big and small, and our disappointments our entire lives unless we bring awareness to how they affect us in our daily choices and our tendency to reach outside of ourselves to soothe resulting in addiction!
Much of the work in the 12 Steps is inquiry. Looking at why we do what we do. What happens in the mind, happens in the body and the spirit. This connection of all aspects of ourselves is what makes us whole. From that perspective we can open up with vulnerability to accept ourselves wholeheartedly. The true path of recovery is the path of discovery and yoga allows us to discover where we're stuck, tight, constricted and blocked in our bodies and in our spirits. We have the ability to move through the blocks on our path to smooth out the grooves of Samskaras when we connect our breath to our body. Yoga poses were designed thousands of years ago to calm the mind and create overall well being but the deeper practice of yoga isn't all about the poses. It's about connecting to the breath in the present moment. Through breath and movement, yoga physically releases stuck energy and brings our mind into focus. If we practice breathing into whatever discomfort is there instead of reacting to it, we loosen it’s grip. Acknowledging our patterns and habits allows us to make better choices for ourselves than we did in the past.
Belief in a our divine wisdom within, trusting the struggles, surrendering to what we can't control and gratitude for all the abundance that we have in our lives right now, is relapse prevention. Add yoga…we discover we have the power to replace old patterns, no longer be a prisoner of the past, and live a life that we love.