Reinforcing the 12-Step Process Through Yoga

Reinforcing the 12-Step Process Through Yoga

When was the last time you practiced yoga? Maybe you had a great practice just yesterday, or maybe you have always wanted to try it but feel a little intimidated. The great news is that yoga can be adapted to all abilities and experience levels. When used as part of the treatment process for substance use disorder (SUD), yoga can help promote healing and can reinforce the 12-Step process.

Yoga is something that has been used for centuries and provides many benefits. These include advantages to your mental health, physical health, and spiritual health. Yoga began in India over 5,000 years ago and is still used today because of its many benefits. With time, the practice has evolved, and several forms have developed with varying levels of difficulty and intensity.

You can find the practice in many different settings. These days, yoga studios can often be found in city centers and suburbs. Yoga instruction can take place in educational settings such as schools and universities. You can also find yoga classes being taught in more clinical spaces, such as rehab facilities like Enlightened Solutions, and as part of therapeutic programs.

Yoga was created to connect the body and mind with the understanding that without this connection, one cannot be fully well. The idea was always to encourage awareness and mindfulness of the present. This was believed to create a higher sense of consciousness.

Today, yoga continues to serve these purposes and many others. The body-mind connection continues to serve as the primary intention and, if achieved, can impact many other areas of function and well-being.

Benefits of Yoga

Yoga is beneficial to the body in many ways. Yoga is an effective yet gentle form of exercise. This makes it ideal for anyone just beginning their fitness journey or recovering from an injury. It can also be adapted to challenge more experienced athletes. Yoga promotes better strength and flexibility, improving general wellness and overall quality of life.

Practicing yoga has various advantages when it comes to mental health and processing as well. Because yoga encourages a mind and body connection, practicing can help with understanding and accepting different thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Better sleep, focus, and increased patience/calmness are also often experienced.

Yoga and the 12-Step Process

Let’s briefly discuss the 12-Step process. This process for recovery was created by founding members of Alcoholics Anonymous and is a widely used method among treatment programs and facilities worldwide. Each of the Twelve Steps involves a different gradual focus toward seeking sobriety and entering recovery. While each step is different, they all incorporate change and strength mentally, physically, and spiritually.

So, how can yoga help with understanding and reinforcing the 12-Step process? This is done by associating each of the Twelve Steps with specific yoga poses. You are making a mind and body connection that allows you to understand and process each specific step fully. Many people learn best by “doing.” This is because you are forming a mind and body correlation to whatever the task may be. This reinforces the information and new strategies you are learning and helps store them in your memory.

Both yoga and the 12-Step process involve mental and physical strength. Each requires awareness of self and the surrounding world. Yoga 12SR classes encourage you to push beyond your limits physically, just as therapy and the 12-Step process encourage pushing beyond your limits mentally. Essentially, you are connecting the cognitive efforts outside of the studio with your physical efforts in the studio.

Yoga and Addiction Recovery

Addiction can often leave those impacted feeling isolated or disconnected. You may feel lost or unsure of who you have become. Yoga helps re-integrate the mind, body, and spirit and can promote healing from the inside out. Because addiction impacts physical, mental, and physical health, this can be very helpful.

Yoga promotes mindfulness, which is crucial during addiction treatment and recovery. It can be difficult to process the changes you experience mentally, physically, and spiritually throughout the process. It can be easy to get distracted or consumed with focusing on past mistakes or feelings of shame and guilt. Yoga serves as an outlet for understanding, expressing, and healing.

Yoga teaches you to check in with yourself and make a habit of doing so regularly. Much like the Twelve Steps taught throughout treatment at Enlightened Solutions, yoga is and should be a long-term practice. Whether you enter the program as an experienced yogi or have never tried it before, you will leave with a better understanding of yourself and how to use the practice to enhance your treatment and recovery experience.

Yoga integrates the mind, body, and spirit. This connection is essential for long-term success in recovery, and for overall well-being in life in general. Building a good yoga practice can help you remain connected to yourself and mindful. Creating correlations between the 12-Step process and yoga can help reinforce the principles. At Enlightened Solutions, we incorporate yoga as part of our program for many reasons. Our instructors will help you develop a practice that works well for you and promotes internal and external healing. We incorporate the 12-Step process into our yoga practice to allow for a connection between the cognitive work you are doing in therapy and the physical work you are doing in the yoga studio. If you or someone you love is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, make the decision to seek help today. Give Enlightened Solutions a call at (833) 801-LIVE.


Yoga: A Physical and Mental Experience

Yoga: A Physical and Mental Experience

What comes to mind when you hear the term “yoga?” Do you envision a group of women in their mid-twenties wearing designer outfits pushing through the session just to call it done and get brunch after? The truth is, yoga can be a social experience and is very “in” right now, along with other forms of group wellness techniques. Despite its modern appeal, yoga has been around for thousands of years, and there are great reasons for its continued prevalence in the health and wellness space. Yoga has been proven to provide various physical and mental benefits to those who practice regularly.

Physical Benefits

There are several physical benefits of yoga. Yoga encompasses flexibility, strength, and balance. Improvements in any of these areas can make daily life easier and more enjoyable. For example, better balance can mean an easier time walking or engaging in other exercises. It can even make getting dressed each day a bit simpler. Have you ever almost lost your balance while trying to pull on your pants? I think we have all been there. Having better strength and flexibility allows us to stay mobile and have less of a struggle with things like carrying in the groceries or doing laundry. Yoga is an excellent addition to an existing workout routine or a great place to start if you are looking to begin exercising.

Yoga is low impact, meaning it is more gentle on joints and the overall body than many other forms of exercise. This benefits you physically in that you are better able to maintain practicing yoga long-term, and you can practice more frequently, with it requiring less recovery time. This aspect also makes yoga an excellent choice for older adults, those who may have injuries or have had injuries in the past, or someone just beginning their fitness journey.

Yoga is known to have cardiovascular and digestive benefits and can improve musculoskeletal and nervous system functioning. Basically, it is a one-stop-shop for physical health perks. After battling addiction, your body may not be at its healthiest.; incorporating yoga into your routine can help get things moving in the right direction.

Mental Benefits

Like many other forms of physical activity, yoga can have tremendous benefits on mental health. Just as walking or weight training releases endorphins to improve mood and energy, yoga has a similar effect. However, what is different about yoga is that it encourages you to connect with yourself. This can help bring more self-awareness and introduce useful coping strategies to be utilized beyond just your yoga practice.

Additionally, yoga has a very relaxing effect on the mind. You are encouraged to focus only on the present moment, removing any distractions, worries, or burdens you may be consumed with. Practicing yoga can help reduce stress resulting in better sleep and overall daily functioning. Research suggests that yoga can be beneficial in navigating stressful life situations and can be helpful in easing some symptoms of anxiety and depression.

Body and Mind Connection

Yoga encourages a mind and body connection. While other recreational activities may require this skill as well, few are as intentional in encouraging this relationship. This connection makes yoga so unique and, in many cases, healing. Seeing this connection grow stronger with practice can be very empowering and can transfer into other facets of life.

During yoga, you are encouraged to focus on your breathing and the ways in which your body is moving throughout the exercise. This establishes skills that can be useful in other situations as well. For instance, you can become better equipped to handle stressful situations as they arise by controlling your response to the stress. Additionally, you can become more in tune with your mind and body and, as a result, become better able to identify and understand your own needs.

Yoga has been proven to enhance overall health and well-being and, as part of a treatment experience or throughout recovery, can be instrumental in promoting success. With an emphasis on learning breathwork, practicing focus, and centering, you are better able to cope with the stressors and obstacles you may face throughout your journey to recovery.

The mental and physical benefits presented here are just a few of the advantages yoga can have on your quality of life. Learn more about the benefits various forms of yoga can have on specific substance use disorders (SUDs) here. By choosing to incorporate yoga into your plan for treatment, you are benefitting your mental and physical well-being in a way that is sustainable long-term.

During treatment, addressing and focusing on the whole person is imperative. Part of this approach includes considering physical and mental health. By assessing the status of each individual at intake, clinical staff at Enlightened Solutions are able to select treatment strategies that are most appropriate. This includes encouraging consistent engagement in activities to promote improvement in each area of need. Enlightened Solutions walks the walk of a holistic treatment approach by prioritizing the individual needs of each client and targeting each area of improvement to ensure the best possible outcome. By incorporating various forms of non-traditional therapies and treatments into our curriculum, we guarantee an experience unlike any other. Allow us to create a plan tailored to your needs and situation, and support you in becoming a better version of yourself. If you or someone you love is battling drug or alcohol addiction, call Enlightened Solutions today at (833) 801-LIVE.


Getting the Most Out of Your Recovery With Yoga

Yoga is a practice that uses physical poses to connect the mind, body and breath. The benefits of yoga include stress relief, pain management, and a general improvement in overall well-being. It also helps you gain self-awareness and explore your spirituality. 

Yoga is a powerful tool for holistic healing and recovery from addiction. Substance abuse treatment programs use yoga to help prevent relapse, ease withdrawal symptoms, and provide a healthy way to cope with stress and other negative emotions. It can be an integral part of your daily routine at a treatment center and for the rest of your recovery journey.

How Can Yoga Help You Cope With Stress and Anxiety?

Almost half of the people with a substance use disorder also suffer from an underlying mental health condition. Feelings of anxiety, stress, or depression can cause people to turn to drug abuse - drugs and alcohol may produce temporary calming effects or provide an escape from reality.

Part of the addiction recovery process is learning to reduce anxiety and stress and deal with these feelings in healthier ways. Feelings of anxiety stem from the central nervous system - it is your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. Yoga can help regulate your nervous systems, making you feel calmer and more relaxed, which in turn reduces the urge to seek a substance.

Yoga can affect your nervous system by impacting GABA (Gamma-aminobutyric acid) levels in the brain. GABA is a chemical that inhibits brain activity and calms your central nervous system. Research has found that yoga increases GABA levels, improving mood and reducing anxiety.

Yoga may also affect the ‘vagus nerve’, a powerful nerve that delivers messages from the brain to the digestive, respiratory, and nervous systems. The vagus nerve causes a calming response in your nervous system, reducing feelings of anxiety and stress. Yoga involves breathing exercises and other practices that can activate this nerve, helping you manage stress and experience feelings of oneness.

How Does Yoga Help to Manage Pain?

Many people start using prescription drugs like opioids to relieve chronic physical pain and later become addicted. People in recovery may search for another way to ease their pain and yoga can help. 

Lower back pain is one of the most common forms of chronic pain and affects millions of people in the United States. Research has shown Iyengar yoga can be used to decrease the intensity of lower back pain of participants and increase their health-related quality of life - that is, improve the aspects of their well-being that their health impacts. In addition, it can help prevent someone from returning to drugs to relieve pain and the feelings of depression that often accompany it.

How Can You Use Yoga Alongside the 12-Step Program?

The 12-steps of Alcoholics Anonymous are a set of guiding principles for overcoming addiction and maintaining sobriety. They focus on self-acceptance, spiritual well-being, and the development of meaningful bonds between one another. Yoga can support addiction recovery and offer a holistic healing experience that is cognitive, spiritual, and somatic - so it works very well alongside the 12-step program.

Practicing yoga is a way to explore these principles from a body-mind approach. It is an opportunity for introspection where you can learn to accept yourself as a whole. Yoga and meditation also further the development of your spirituality. They can help fulfill the sense of longing for connection or deeper experience that many recovering addicts (people in recovery) recognize as an underlying cause of their addiction.

Enlightened Solutions is a licensed co-occurring treatment center that focuses on healing the whole person rather than merely treating the addiction. Our treatment program is rooted in the 12-step philosophy and offers each client an individualized recovery plan.

At Enlightened Solutions, we offer a range of treatment modalities to provide a holistic healing experience. Our treatment plans include cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT), family constellation therapy, art and music therapy, yoga and meditation, acupuncture and chiropractic work, and equine-assisted therapy. You will find us near the southern shore of New Jersey, where we provide optimal healing and relaxation.

If you seek relief from addiction, or if someone close to you does, please call us at (833) 801-5483 to learn more about our treatment options.


Yoga

The Role of Complementary and Alternative Therapies in Treating Substance Abuse

Addiction to drugs or alcohol is a disorder that affects the entire person--body, mind, and spirit. Because of this, the needs of the whole person must be considered for a treatment to be effective. It isn’t enough to treat the addiction and ignore the underlying depression or other mental health disorders.

Drug and alcohol treatment centers all offer therapy. Psychotherapy, sometimes referred to as talk therapy, can be offered individually, in a group setting, or both. The therapy frequently focuses on providing the patient with coping strategies that don’t involve using drugs or alcohol, tools to maintain their sobriety, and education about drugs and alcohol. In the past, therapy was frequently limited to behavioral issues.

Many treatment facilities now go further and work to address mental health issues or unresolved trauma that may be underneath the addiction. Many treatment centers also offer complementary and alternative therapies that complement talk therapy.

What Is Alternative or Complementary Treatment?

Merriam-Webster defines alternative medicine as “systems of healing or treating disease...that is not included in the traditional medical curricula of the U.S. and Britain.” When talking about mental health issues and recovery from substance abuse, alternative therapies include treatments ranging from yoga to equine therapy to diet and nutrition. Using alternative therapies gives clinicians more ways to help people suffering from mental health and substance abuse issues--another way to get to the root of the problem.

Alternative therapies are particularly helpful for people who have suffered from a trauma of one sort or another. The body is said to store memories just like the brain does, but the body cannot provide context for a memory. Alternative therapies, particularly those that make use of activities, like art and music therapy, or yoga and meditation, help people recovering from addiction to integrate their minds and bodies.

Alternative or Complementary Modalities That Rely on Touch

Facilities now use many different alternative modalities in treatment programs for patients. Massage therapy, acupuncture, and chiropractic care are three treatment modalities that rely on touch and support the recovery process.

Massage therapists are trained to use touch to reduce pain and stress. As tension in our bodies is released, our minds relax and we are better able to cope with the stress of everyday life. 

Acupuncture is an example of traditional alternative medicine that has been practiced for centuries. Acupuncture is used in recovery treatment to reduce stress and cravings, help with relaxation and sleep issues, lessen mood swings, promote energy, and calm emotional trauma. Chiropractic practitioners work to align the spine. This helps to restore balance in the body that has been harmed by addiction. As the range of motion is increased in the spine and adjacent muscles, tension and stress are reduced. Chiropractic care alleviates pain in many areas of the body and like massage therapy and acupuncture, supports recovery.

Meditation and Yoga

Meditation and yoga are frequently discussed together, perhaps because yoga classes frequently end with a guided meditation. The word “yoga” means “to yoke” and the goal of yoga is to yoke your mind and your body. Yoga lowers stress, reduces pain, reduces anxiety and depression, all of which can lessen a person’s impulse to self-medicate with drugs or alcohol. Yoga lowers the level of two hormones associated with stress, cortisol and adrenaline, and increases levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA). GABA is a neurotransmitter associated with overall feelings of wellness and tends to be found at lower levels in people suffering from addiction and co-occurring disorders. 

There are many techniques for meditation and many articles have been written about the physical and mental benefits of meditation. Bear in mind, however, that meditation is not a replacement for therapy when coping with addiction or mental health issues, but it is a powerful addition to conventional treatment. Meditation is a way of becoming more aware of the present. Its benefits include stress reduction, increased self-awareness, and an improved ability to focus.

The Role of Diet in Recovery

Several treatment modalities focus on the role of diet and nutrition in recovery, including the use of dietary supplements, herbal medicine, and overall good nutrition. At Enlightened Solutions, all patients receive education in nutrition and wellness, and many patients elect to learn healthy cooking techniques using fresh, organic ingredients, many of them grown on Enlightened Solution’s farm.

Healing Through Energy Work

Many people recovering from addiction to drugs or alcohol have found help through energy work, in which energy from outside the patient is used to aid in healing. Reiki is one type of energy work that has been used successfully to treat patients recovering from addiction. Reiki as it is known today was developed in Japan in the 1920s by a Buddhist monk and brought to the West in the 1980s. In addition to addiction, Reiki has been used to treat cancer, heart disease, anxiety, depression, and infertility.

Experiential Therapies

In experiential therapies, the client focuses on doing certain activities, and through the experience begins to explore their feelings, including anger, hurt, and shame. These therapies include art, music, and equine therapy, all of which are used successfully in drug and alcohol recovery. In art therapy, the patient will work on a piece of art--a painting, drawing, sculpture, collage, or any other medium. Afterward, the therapist encourages the patient to think about the psychological and emotional aspects of their piece. Art therapy is a tool to help patients access and process their feelings.

Music therapy is very similar but uses music instead of visual arts. According to an article on the National Alliance on Mental Illness website, four major types of musical intervention are employed: lyric analysis, improvisational music playing, active music listening, and songwriting. Music therapy is a way for patients to reach emotions that have been buried under drug or alcohol abuse. Music therapy also decreases stress, lowers blood pressure, and improves sleep.

Because of the strong bond between horses and humans, equine therapy is also offered at some treatment facilities. Depending on the facility, equine therapy can include different activities. Some activities focus on caring for the animals, others focus on riding, and sometimes the activities focus on both caring and riding. Because horses sense the emotions of the people around them, horses can help people identify their feelings which is helpful because people recovering from addictions have often suppressed their feelings. Working with horses can also give people in recovery a sense of purpose.

Alternative treatment modalities aid in treating the whole patient, not just their addiction. These treatments can have powerful mental and physical benefits and enable the patient to heal on a physical, emotional, and spiritual level.

An addiction recovery treatment plan must address the needs of the whole person--mind, body, and spirit--not just their addictive behavior. In addition to traditional talk therapy and support groups, alternative treatment modalities can play a powerful role in treating the whole person. At Enlightened Solutions, we focus on treating the whole person and use a multidisciplinary approach to develop a custom treatment program for each patient. We offer treatment for a wide variety of substance dependencies as well as mental health disorders that can co-occur with substance abuse. In addition to talk therapy, we offer holistic treatment including yoga and meditation classes, acupuncture and chiropractic care, art and music therapy, and equine therapy. Our life skills component includes thorough education in nutrition and wellness. We are located on New Jersey’s southern shore and are rooted in the 12-Step philosophy. If you or someone you love is ready to break free from substance abuse, call us at (833) 801-5483.

 


4 Science-Backed Reasons Yoga Is Good for Addiction Recovery

4 Science-Backed Reasons Yoga Is Good for Addiction Recovery

Yoga—once a sort of fringe practice—has gone mainstream. Not only that, but it has attracted scientific attention and it’s increasingly being incorporated into treatment for mental health and substance use issues. According to the National Institutes of Health, yoga does, in fact, provide many tangible benefits to practitioners.

These benefits include reducing chronic stress, improving mental health, relieving symptoms of depression, improving sleep, reducing chronic neck and lower-back pain, and promoting healthier eating habits. There is nothing mystical about these benefits, as they are comparable to other forms of exercise. However, yoga does have a number of features that make it especially good for supporting mental wellness and addiction recovery overall.

Breathing

Breath is a key element of yoga practice. Every form of exercise involves breathing, but breathing is a very intentional component of yoga practice. Breathing is used in several different ways in yoga. Typically, you are supposed to maintain slow, even breaths on the inhale and exhale.

This is often much harder than it sounds. If you are in a position that is slightly difficult to hold, you can practice remaining calm despite physical distress. Breathing is also often matched to movement. This simultaneously makes the movement more challenging and your breathing more deliberate.

Yoga also includes specific breathing exercises called pranayama. There are a variety of different pranayama exercises intended to achieve different effects. A basic pranayama pattern is to breathe in for four seconds and breathe out for eight seconds.

Research shows that this pattern of breathing stimulates the vagus nerve and reduces heart rate. This may be one way that yoga helps reduce chronic stress. Other patterns have been shown to improve heart rate variability—a measure of how well your heart responds to changing demands—and pulmonary-cardio synchronization, which creates a greater sense of wellbeing.

Core Engagement

If you’re even vaguely familiar with yoga, you might know how it helps develop a strong core: the muscles around your abdomen and lower back that keep you upright. This is important for several reasons. As noted above, research shows that yoga can help with chronic pain in the lower back and neck.

Chronic pain is often a complicating factor in addiction recovery, especially from opioids, so non-chemical ways of managing pain are often helpful in recovery. Yoga appears to reduce chronic back pain in two ways: by improving flexibility in tight hamstrings and hip flexors, and by strengthening the core muscles that stabilize the back.

Core engagement may also benefit your mental health. Researchers have discovered that the areas of our brain related to emotions and the areas related to movement are a lot more connected than we thought. The connections to the core muscles are especially numerous, perhaps because the core comprises a lot of different muscles close to the spinal cord.

The practical result is that engaging your core, as you do in yoga, improves your mood on a basic physiological level. As an extra bonus, you continue to get a boost even when you’re not exercising. When you have a stronger core, you also have better posture, which is also implicated in this neural feedback loop.

It makes sense when you consider how you might slouch when you’re tired or in a bad mood. On the other hand, having a better posture sends more positive signals from your motor cortex.

Social Connection

Any kind of exercise will improve your mental health and your recovery but at least one large study suggests you get the most out of your exercise when it’s social. A study of more than a million adults found that people who exercised regularly had fewer bad mental health days each month and that the best exercise for mental health seemed to be team sports.

The social aspect is thought to reduce stress and increase engagement. However, it’s likely that you don’t actually have to play on a team to enjoy the social benefits of exercise. The best way to learn yoga is by taking classes from experienced teachers. If you regularly attend the same yoga class with the same people, you are likely to make friends and have a greater sense of connection.

Body Awareness

Yoga is also excellent for improving your body awareness. Yoga requires balance, flexibility, strength, and coordination. Yoga also relies on proprioception, which is the ability to feel how your body is oriented in space. As discussed above, yoga also teaches you to be more aware and deliberate about your breathing and forces you to engage your core.

This improved body awareness can help in recovery in a number of different ways. The first is just practical. Several substances, including opioids and benzodiazepines, can impair your coordination and balance with long-term use and make you more prone to accidents and falls.

For a younger person, falls or accidents are not typically a big deal but as you age, a fall or accident can be serious. Yoga helps you remember where your feet are and how to stay above them. The body awareness you get from yoga also helps in more subtle ways.

We often don’t realize how closely our physical and mental states are connected. You may be aware, for example, that your heart rate increases and your jaw gets tense when you’re anxious. However, you may not be aware of the full extent to which your emotions affect your body and vice versa.

Yoga helps you become more aware of this connection on your mat and throughout the day. It’s one more tool you can use to manage challenging emotions.

When you’re recovering from addiction, the right exercise is whatever works for you. There are some features of yoga that make it especially well suited for addiction recovery but you’ll never know if it’s for you until you try it for yourself.

At Enlightened Solutions, we know that recovery from addiction is about healing the mind, body, and spirit. We use a variety of holistic methods including yoga and meditation to promote wellness, connection, and purpose. We believe recovery from addiction should be a process of increasing joy. To learn more, call us today at (833) 801-5483.


Grounding Techniques For Spring

Become the Yogi Within

In the typical clinical treatment center, there might not be a lot of associations with recovery and yoga. With a more holistic approach, patients are encouraged to enlighten themselves in a more spiritual sense. There are different kinds of yoga that benefit different groups of people. In treatment, meditative yoga practices mindfulness. This is essential for people to live in the present with a lowered amount of anxiety and fear. All humans struggle with fear on a daily basis. This cannot be combined with faith of any kind. Without faith in a higher power, there will be hardly any resistance to the first thought of drinking or using. The spiritual principles by which those with addiction learn in a 12-step program, help with practicing humility and gratitude.

Yoga is also a great tool for relaxation and stress. It may not be easy at first, but when the mind settles down, there can be progress. Being mindful is as easy as feeling the warm water on the hands while washing the dishes. This can be achieved easily, but not when the mind is consumed with the past and the future. Focusing on the breath is also a tool to stay in the present. While someone with addiction is in the beginning stages of acceptance, it is crucial to incorporate spirituality. Meditation can be useful for allowing a conversation with a higher power. It is suggested at this time to ask for guidance about the next right step. Having this connection helps in working alongside the intuition.

Having the patience that is practiced in mindful yoga, gives people with addiction the ability to learn how to sit with themselves, and to find who it is that they had been running from. People with addiction who suffer from shame and depression must accept that these past experiences do not define who they presently are. Actions from the past do not have to determine the future. Giving into mind games of constantly fighting with the intuition, will only cause people to back peddle. These realizations can and will be manifested on the yoga mat.

If you are struggling with addiction and want to find a way out, the answer is waiting for you here in New Jersey at Enlightened Solutions. Our partial program provides a healing blend of the body, mind, and soul. Don’t hesitate any longer and call us today: 833-801-5483.


Discovering your yin and yang in treatment

Discovering Your Yin and Yang in Treatment

From the recovery perspective, yin and yang are valuable spiritual concepts.  Many Westerners’ miss yin and yang’s gifts due to the nebulous definitions which are known through their interdependence.  To grasp this, consider yin and yang through multiple meanings.  Naming only a few, yin is being to yang’s doing; yang is light and yin shadow; yin is feminine and yang masculine.  To discover the balance that yin and yang offer, you must look at yin and yang as a whole and acknowledge that a seed of the other exist in each.

Yin and Yang

Commonly, a person may identify as either mostly yin or mostly yang at the beginning of treatment.  Determining whether you lean towards yin or yang is an important awareness for a quick and direct journey towards healing. Understanding yourself through this perspective will enable you to cultivate balance on your path forward.  For example, some people have very little internal structure guiding their actions.  This expresses as emotional impulsivity or an inability to show up for life responsibilities based on their feeling state.  

Alternatively, yang on the other hand, can appear as an individual who very efficiently and consistently goes through the recovery lifestyle of doing service, recovery work and having relationships with others in recovery.  However, these actions may appear or feel like checking off tasks on a to-do list.  These actions do not become embedded in the essence or lifestyle of the doer.  

These are only two simplified and extreme examples of what can be manifested in recovery by  understanding yin and yang as a system.  Once your own versions are identified, a focused effort to blend the two engagements into one holistic way of living can occur.  Be aware that if a person was mostly yang, there may be a period of concentrated yin necessary before arriving at the blended state, and reverse.  The pendulum swinging is a normal part of the evolutionary process.


While striving for this optimum blended state, remember to enjoy the process of discovery while moving toward it. This, in itself, is the point of recovery.  

 

If you are struggling with addiction, alcoholism, and/or mental health, know that there is hope. There is a solution. Harmoniously fusing together the best elements of clinical care, holistic healing, and 12-step philosophy, Enlightened Solutions has created a program of total transformation for men and women seeking recovery. Call 833-801-5483 today for information on our partial care programs in New Jersey.


Bathing In Sound For Transformational Meditation

Yoga as a Spiritual Lifestyle

Yoga has diverse ways of being expressed in the lives of people. In simplicity, yoga is usually a framework of physical movements called postures.  They function to offer the practitioner, yogi, to have a spiritual experience breath, body, focus and senses.  Many people will practice yoga fashioned after the philosophy of a specific spiritual teacher.  There are people who become devoted to one philosophy of yoga and others who study many forms of yoga and integrate them into a personal expression. Both are authentic avenues of yoga as a spiritual lifestyle.  

When beginning the journey of yoga as a spiritual lifestyle, it is supportive to take classes at a yoga studio after treatment.  The structure of classes, experience of community and relationship with a teacher will allow yoga to become an integrated experience.  Overtime, the student may discover that yoga came alive in their life and the decision to maintain these structures will become optional.  

When this transcendence occurs, one may find themselves reflecting on what it means to take the yoga practice off the yoga mat and into the world.  The student may return to reflect on these core principles: breath, body, focus and senses and play with them in everyday non-yoga contexts.  For example:

  • Breath: be deeply connected to your breath in the rhythm of walking to the bus stop.
  • Body: discover internal connection to your upright spine as you sit at your laptop sending email.
  • Focus: playing with the dimensions of seeing and listening as you have a social conversation that is not optimally enthralling to you.
  • Senses: explore ways that you can experience layers of taste with appreciation of the healthy meal that you prepared.  

In addition to exploring yoga off the mat, you can also consider Karma Yoga which is the way that bring what you have learned onto the mat into the lives of others.  Sometimes this is sharing your practice or the way it has influenced your life.  Other times, it is simply being of service to the needs of the community that may seem unrelated to yoga.  With all of this woven together and adapted to, one has become a yogi.  

Enlightened Recovery Solutions offers a harmonious approach to holistic treatment, bringing together the best of evidence-based, alternative, and 12-step therapies. Call us today for information on our transformation programs of treatment for addiction and alcoholism: 833-801-5483.


Nama’stick To Yoga Because It Helps With Depression

According to Bustle, Boston University recently released information from their study on the efficacy of yoga in treating depression. Published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine, the study followed thirty people of varying ages who were clinically depressed. Within the group, the participants were either medication-free or had been consistently taking medication for three full months or more.

One half of the participants were instructed to take a ninety minute yoga class in addition to four yoga sessions of thirty minutes on their own at home. In the other half of the group, participants took two yoga classes and three sessions at home each week.

The study lasted for three months. At the end of the three months, researchers evaluated the participants’ depression with the use of clinical depression questionnaires. For the half of the participants who had more yoga in their schedule- two group classes a week and three at home yoga sessions a week- there was a better improvement in score. Overall, the majority of participants in either grow saw a 50% more positive increase on their scores regarding their depression.

Yoga has been found to be helpful in alleviating the symptoms of many mental health conditions including anxiety, addiction, alcoholism, and post traumatic stress disorder. Skeptics of holistic healing arts and their effectiveness in treating mental health disorders have combatted years of research proving that yoga is helpful. This new study from Boston University shows that yoga is undeniably effective in alleviating symptoms of depression. A fifty percent increase is an astonishing and impressive advancement for those struggling with clinical depression.

Practicing yoga today is easier than ever. Many apps exist which can be downloaded to smart technological devices, full of yoga sequences and classes. Yoga instructions can be found online through streaming video services like YouTube. Yoga studios are plentiful and most major commercial gyms offer numerous yoga classes throughout the day.

For treatment of addiction, alcoholism, and co-occurring mental health conditions, yoga is becoming a primary practice. Regular practice of yoga helps increase blood circulation, improves heart health, reduces inflammation, and improves mood. Those who practice yoga find that they feel a greater sense of wellbeing, universality, and connectivity to the world around them.

Yoga is often a life-transforming practice. Recovery is about healing and transformation. Are you ready to make a change in your life? Enlightened Solutions is an integrative and holistic treatment program which draws on clinical and evidence based practices. For information on our treatment programs for men and women, call us today at 833-801-5483.


Taking Yoga From Treatment To Life

Yoga is a scientifically proven treatment method for addiction and mental health recovery. Physical, spiritual, and psychological benefits can come from just 5-20 minutes of yoga a day.

Remove Judgment

Remember that you aren’t a yoga professional and your practice is in its youth. When you go do to your practices at home, don’t expect to be perfect! Approach yourself with the same non-judgment your teachers in treatment would have encouraged you to use. You’re doing yoga to help your body and your mind- not to impress anyone, including yourself.

Use Intention Setting For Each Practice

Routine is good and healthy which is why you’re bringing yoga home. Doing the same thing every day can get repetitive and boring, inspiring you to leave the mat behind instead of stick to your practice. Make each practice unique by setting a different intention. Intentions are the energy you put into your practice so you can focus.

Allow Yourself To Be Guided

Until you get your sequences down it will be helpful to have a guide. Thankfully, the internet is full of yoga teachers, gurus, and lovers who are happy to show you their favorite yoga sequences. Have a neck ache or a back problem? You can look up yoga sequences for almost every kind of benefit you need.

Modify, Modify, Modify

The simplest mistake people make in their at home yoga poses is trying to force themselves into positions their body is not prepared to be in. Modifying a pose helps your body ease into the position rather than crash into it. Modification isn’t about success or failure but about protection. Yoga is meant to help the body heal, not hurt itself.

Don’t Skip Savasana

Savasana, also called corpse pose, is the resting pose at the end of the yoga practice where you can finally rest and let the energy of the practice flow through your body. Savasana is a time for meditation and reflection as well as rest. Doing yoga at home can inspire you to skip this critical resting period and carry on with your day. Complete your practice in its entirety and don’t skip your chance to breathe deeply and rest.

Enlightened Solutions fuses the proven healing power of holistic and alternative treatments with evidence based clinical treatments to provide a transformative program for mind, body, and spirit. If you are in need of treatment for a mental health or substance use disorder, call us today at 833-801-5483.