As a person person who practices yoga I consciously connect with the concept of alignment every day. Preparing for a breath practice, sitting in meditation or doing any of the yoga poses, alignment is key. Starting with how and with what I am touching the earth- to the extension of my body as I rise out of the base- I concentrate on tiny and precise aspects of alignment.
So, too, in my recovery, I find myself returning time and again to my alignment – with my spiritual values, principles and practices. Alignment is key. As with most things in life- it is a process.
This is how it works for me in yoga. Whether lying, sitting or standing: I bring my awareness to the ground and find both security and resistance in that contact. Security as I am being held up and resistance because I can push down. In pushing down I can rise up- my base is dependable, it is firm, it is unwavering. This is comforting.
Before I begin any practice I bring awareness to my position starting with my base. If I am preparing to meditate I take time to align my body, my bones, and my attention. I create an intentional structure with my torso that can feel neutral in order that my concentration not be disturbed during the meditation (at least not right away. The body can be quite chatty during longer meditation.) But I try; I organize myself so that I am free to do nothing.
In my breath practice I put my body into the proper shape for that practice. It can be lying, it can be seated, it can be standing. Whatever the chosen posture is I do that first, then I begin the breathing practice. In between sets or rounds, I check into my alignment as it may have “shifted during flight”. The proper shape allows the breath practice to be as effective as possible. When I practice with my body in a lazy or un-intentional pose, the breathing series loses potency.
On the mat -in the yoga postures- I am conscious of my position from the ground up. Whatever is on the mat is the foundation, the base, the source of the grounding. I draw energy up from the base, I employ the base to project the strength and balance upward. Each segment of limb and structure relies on that foundation to empower the pose, the energy of the pose and the stability of the pose. The eyes are the other anchor in the pose- the focussed gaze. Between these to point, the ground and the gaze the body can arrange itself in myriad ways.
This is how I do it in recovery. It is much the same. If I have no base I have no courage or power. If I lack a focussed gaze I lose balance. My meetings, the steps, the principles, my sponsor and my recovery tribe are all part of my foundation. I use them to root and grow, to give me security and resistance as I reach out and up. Alignment with my higher power, the universal spirit, my ethics, values, and principles remain my focus and my gaze. With them I can remain in balance, I can find power and strength; I derive energy that is healing both to me and to those I encounter.
On the mat, the cushion and in my recovery life I rely on alignment with my physical body, my principles, my spirit and my heart to keep me happy, joyous and free.