Yoga as a Tool for Recovery
What is Yoga? Many people believe that yoga is simply the poses that they see people doing in a yoga class. But that is actually only one small part of what yoga is. Yoga is actually a way of life. It is a practice and a philosophy that you can choose to incorporate into your daily life that will lead you to peace, happiness, health, and overall wellbeing. The practice of yoga is an ancient tradition that has been passed down though the centuries. It consists of an 8-limbed path designed to lead the practitioner to a state of self-realization or union with your higher Self. Slowly but surely as you practice, you begin to open yourself to a higher vibration, an expansion of consciousness, a belief that you are much greater than you ever imagined yourself to be.
At Villa Kali Ma you will be introduced to Hatha Yoga, which is a very commonly practiced style of yoga that includes breathing exercises, yoga postures, and meditation as well as teachings about how to relate better to yourself, to others, and to the world. Hatha Yoga is about coming into balance in all areas of your life; Body, Mind, and Soul. The result is mental clarity, inner peace, and a deep contentment like you have never felt before. Your heart will open and self-love will come in. Fear and self-doubt will leave you and the purpose of your life will become clear. You will begin to know yourself as a spiritual being living in a temporary human body. Once you get in touch with this belief about yourself, you will no longer feel the need to self-medicate and all of your wounds will begin to heal.
Kundalini Yoga is an ancient technology and sacred science known as ‘The Technology of Happiness’. Kundalini Yoga is a holistic type of yoga that incorporates conscious breathing, movement, mantra, and meditation. This combination creates a synergistic effect to prepare the being for the reception of healing and stimulating energies. It is very much an energetic journey working with the subtle, inner energies and chakra system of the body. Each class is unique as it is themed around a kriya, a specific set of exercises to achieve a desired result and there are hundreds of kriyas to choose from. Although there is such a variety, the foundation of each is conscious breathing and intentional movement. Kundalini Yoga works to expand one’s awareness…the first step in healing. It works to quiet the mind, deactivate addictive habits and release trauma from the body, assisting one’s being to feel more free, clear and energized. Kundalini Yoga fosters the growth of deep spiritual connection and a feeling of overall well-being.
In a Yin Yoga practice, poses are held for long periods of time in order to allow a deep stretch of the connective tissue and open the body’s energy channels and allow the energy to flow freely without being blocked. Yin works with the same philosophy as chinese medicine and acupuncture which teaches that the body has a system of meridians that connect our different body parts and body systems and that these energy channels need to be kept open so that the flow of Chi in the body can maintain health and vitality. The practice of Yin also has a second and more important benefit in that it trains the mind to withstand discomfort and resist instant gratification. By focusing on the breath and watching the mind “talk” but not reacting to what it’s saying during the holding of the poses, we come to realize that we have power over our mind and that we don’t have to listen to and react to everything it’s telling us. As we continue practicing this type of yoga, we build our “will power” because our will is in control, not our mind.
We begin to see that we are not the mind, but we are aware of the mind. This is a very important and powerful realization! This helps us take back control over our actions. As we begin to watch the mind talk and complain and judge, we realize we still have the final say, we don’t have to let the mind have it’s way. The long holding of these poses becomes very uncomfortable and the mind starts to complain and come up with all kinds of reasons why we need to adjust ourselves so that we can be comfortable again. The practice of Yin teaches us to resist this urge and stay in the pose for the duration of the indicated time, usually about 5-10 minutes. Some practitioners call this a form of “Psychic Surgery” because it cuts right to root of our problems. Most of our problems begin in the mind. Most of our problems are considered problems because the mind judged it to be a problem, and the mind can have a problem with almost anything! With continued practice, Yin Yoga teaches us courage, acceptance, patience, and builds our self-confidence and self-esteem. Cultivating these qualities can help us to maintain long term sobriety and create sustainable recovery.