Yoga and Sobriety: Discovering a Deeper Self-AwarenessPRC Blogger
“Yoga begins with listening. When we listen, we are giving space to what is.”- Richard Freeman
According to National Today, June 21st is International Yoga Day, a day that “celebrates the physical and spiritual prowess that yoga has brought to the world stage… For many, these routines are a way to connect the body, mind, and soul in a way that has existed for centuries.” Yoga is a powerful tool that connects us to a deeper emotional and spiritual state within.
Recently on Positive Recovery MD, Dr. Jason Powers and Julie DeNofa spoke with self-proclaimed “Texas Sober Yogi” Peter Maldonado. During their conversation, Peter shared his long-term recovery journey and what led him to support individuals on their Road to Recovery. He also shares how he has found identity through the yoga community and how it has allowed him to dive deeper into inner healing.
While yoga is a great way to discipline the mind and body, it can also help us discover a deeper self-awareness. Like Peter’s story, combining yoga and sobriety can be essential to helping us heal from our addictions. If you’re new to yoga and its healing properties, here are three ways it can benefit us on a deeper level.
Calms the Mind
According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (ADAA), “Anxiety disorders are the most common mental illness in the U.S., affecting 40 million adults in the United States age 18 and older, or 18.1% of the population every year. Anxiety disorders are highly treatable, yet only 36.9% of those suffering receive treatment.”
Stress, anxiety, and depression can be highly taxing on our mental health for many of us. When facing hardships, it’s easy to grab a bottle of alcohol or raid our medicine cabinets to numb the pain quickly. The truth is, no matter how hard we try to ignore our anxiety and suppress these emotions, addiction commonly increases our levels of anxiety and depression when the “high” wears off.
Yoga can significantly reduce stress and calm the mind as it keeps us grounded. We become aware of the present moment by drawing attention to our inner thoughts and feelings. We are brought to the “here and now” rather than worrying about tomorrow. While yoga doesn’t rid us of challenges or obstacles, it guides us through them. Combining yoga and sobriety can better manage our stress and think more clearly. Because yoga allows us to dig deeper and hold space for our thoughts and feelings, we can find healthy ways to combat anxiety and depression.
Restores the Body
When we find ourselves trapped in the throes of addiction, we often dissociate from our physical bodies. Not only does addiction increase stress and anxiety levels, it also increases inflammation and weakens our immune system. Yoga, however, can help restore our overall health. This can include building up strength, balance, flexibility, mobility, and posture. Yoga can also increase oxygen levels, strengthen our heart health, and even improve our sleeping habits.
Just like yoga and sobriety help bring us to the present moment mentally combined, they also help physically bring us to the present moment. By embracing our physical health through the power of yoga, we begin to love our bodies again. For some, we learn how to love our physical bodies for the first time. Yoga helps us celebrate how far we have come. Yoga also helps us learn to embrace our strengths. Like calming our minds, yoga restores our bodies by holding space for physical growth.
Replenishes the Soul
Not only do yoga and sobriety help calm our minds and restore our bodies, they also replenish our souls. For many, yoga connects us with a higher power. We can align with our spiritual selves. We can also embark on the journey of finding inner peace. Through yoga, we can develop strong relationships with ourselves and learn to trust our intuition.
Not only can yoga and sobriety deepen our spirituality, they can also bring harmony to our relationships and communities. When we find alignment with our inner selves, we can begin to draw near to those closest to us. By strengthening our relationship with ourselves, we can hold space for others. Just like our guest, Peter Maldonado shares on the podcast, joining in community yoga gives us a sense of identity and belonging.
Jamie Demeris, Positive Recovery’s Chief Operating Officer also holds a similar experience. By bringing yoga to Positive Recovery centers, Jamie also shares that yoga has strengthened his own recovery and his connection to the world around him. Yoga heals us by holding space for ourselves and those around us. When we join together in a collective space, mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually, we feel connected on a deeper level.
Get Started on Your Recovery Today
Where addiction keeps us in isolation, recovery thrives in community. We understand getting clean from drugs and alcohol can be quite challenging. However, recovery is not something you have to face alone. We are here for you every step of the way.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction, please call us at (877) 697-1383. We have a full continuum of care from Detox through Aftercare and have 14 locations from Houston to Austin’s Hill Country.