Making Peace With Your Past Through Yoga

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Yoga has been a popular method of exercise and healing for many reasons. It can be an effective way to improve health and mental acuity. The practice’s ability to enhance body, mind and spirit can be used in a variety of ways, even in increasing understanding of past actions and motivations.

The History of Yoga
Yogic practice is mentioned in some of the most ancient texts of India. Over the centuries, it has gone through a number of transmutations, eventually giving the world the modern version of yoga with its emphasis on body positions. But traditional yogic practice encompasses much more. A critical part of the practice that has existed from earliest times is its training in breathing and focused concentration. This aspect of the practice can be extremely helpful to individuals who are recovering from addiction.

Physical Benefits
Years of addiction can take a heavy toll on an individual’s body. Yoga provides a good full-body workout that improves circulation, muscle tone, cardiovascular function and weight. Regular sessions can quickly undo the years of poor diet and bad habits, giving the practitioner a feeling of greater control and confidence. In addition, yoga practice is highly effective for managing stress, which is an important component in recovery from addiction. This feeling of improved well-being can be a critical factor in encouraging the individual to continue these good habits in the future.

Breathing Exercises
Controlled breathing is an integral part of yoga practice and can be helpful in managing emotions, such as anger, resentment, guilt and depression. Breathing exercises can be used as a tool for everyday life when faced with the common triggers of substance abuse, providing a way for individuals to react to daily events in a more controlled and stable manner.

Concentration Exercises
An intrinsic part of yoga practice is the second-by-second focus on movement, breathing and mental state. This habit can be integrated into the practitioner’s daily life, increasing the ability to concentrate, reducing anxiety and heightening motivation. This effect can help those in rehab to achieve a greater ability to deal with common triggers and more easily achieve their life goals. Members of the American College of Sports Medicine did a study of yoga practice at California State University that showed that even eight weeks of yoga practice provided a dramatic improvement in motivation, concentration and anxiety level.

The Yoga of Self-Discipline
Yoga is known for its ability to increase self-discipline in the individual, in many aspects of life, which makes it a good tool for those overcoming past actions and emotions. The individual gradually learns to focus in on important matters, without being diverted by the minor irritations and annoyances that can grow into triggers for substance abuse. This greater emotional stability allows the individual to work on daily recovery issues more easily, with fewer emotional lows and setbacks.
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