Ask Kyczy about Yoga and Recovery; People in Recovery Benefit from Yoga

Ok – you have stopped indulging in your addiction. Now what?  You go to meetings, are meeting with a sponsor and working the steps. How do you find out who this NEW YOU is?  How do you get to know yourself?  How do you get physically well and stay well?  One of the paths to knowing your self and to getting and maintaining health is through yoga.  Yoga and her sister science Ayruveda (a complimentary and alternative medical system for keeping the body in balance)  . Today I will begin to address the benefits of yoga.  Later I will draw attention to the similarities between Yoga and the 12 Step programs.  I will also being to introduce some of the Ayurvedic concepts that can be incorporated with yoga and your recovery program to bring about total constitutional health.

The word yoga means “yoke”. It signifies the pulling together of the body, mind and spirit.  Just what we need to find our selves – to gather ourselves together in one moment – for the moment.  Yoga starts and ends with the breath – the breath is an amazing link between the body and the mind, and breath control can ease physical stress and relax the mind.  Control of the breath leads to control of the mind – and through that control we can better master our actions and responses.  A useful yoga class will teach a variety of breath practices over time.  You will be able to practice and become skilled at them – and they will lead to a rich 11th step meditation practice.  Finally yoga classes teach you how to relax.  The majority of classes will end with final relaxation in the conventional savansana (corpse) pose.  In this pose all the physical activity will be integrated into your body and your mind will savor the relaxation that results from being in your body and in the moment.

There are many paths of yoga and many traditions of yoga practice.  The yoga that is most commonly known is hatha yoga – the physical asana, or practice of postures.  Practicing yoga is a wonderful way to step into the body.  A good yoga studio will have lots of offerings so that you will be able to find a yoga style that works for you.  Some yoga styles are therapeutic yoga, integral yoga, ashtanga yoga, Iyengar yoga, Bikhram hot room yoga, Shadow yoga, restorative yoga, Yin and Vini yogas and on and on.  What kind of yoga you choose is sort of reflective of where you are spiritually and athletically.  Some yoga classes emphasize the spiritual; others the physical.  

Just like meetings – you may need to “shop around” and find the class and style, and even teacher, who suits you and your needs.  Just like meetings, sometimes you have to return a few times in order to really find out what the meeting / class is like.  Just like meetings you have to participate in the class to make it worthwhile – the more you put in to it the more you get out of it.

So – give yourself a treat and try a class.  Move into your body and find ways to move into your self.

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Kyczy Hawk E-RYT200 is the author of “Yoga and the Twelve Step Path”, a leader of Y12SR classes, and the creator of SOAR(tm) (Success Over Addiction and Relapse) a teacher certification training she holds with her good friend Kent Bond E-RYT500. Find out more about her, her classes and the training at