Like meditation, not so long ago Yoga was seen as something only for the “hippy” subculture, but now you’d be hard pressed to not find any Yoga classes in any town or city across the Western world.

Indeed, high profile sportsmen have implemented yoga into their exercise regime, such as Ryan Giggs, the soccer player for Manchester United claimed that Yoga allowed him to play until he was almost 40 years old, which is an age almost unheard of at the top-tier of a professional sports league!

Yoga – like meditation – originated in the Indian sub-continent. It uses different postures that are designed to increase muscle flexibility and strength, as well as breathing that focuses and calms the mind, much like meditation.

There is an increasing body of scientific evidence that suggests yoga can help combat high blood pressure, depression and anxiety. This makes it very useful for ex-addicts in recovery, as depression and anxiety are often major factors that underlie addictions, and can cause relapses if not managed correctly.

Many people are put off yoga because they believe they are too overweight, too unfit or inflexible. However, this is the more reason to try it, as it improves all of these issues!

The reality is that you can find mixed ability yoga class almost anywhere. No one will judge anyone who comes and is unfit or overweight, because there is no air of machismo that you might find when joining a gym. On the contrary you will probably find an immense level of kindness from yoga groups.

Again, this is ideal for recovering ex-addicts who find they have low self-confidence.

Like meditation, there are numerous different techniques and styles of yoga, such as Sivananda, Ashtanga and Iyengar, to name just a few.
Each can vary quite dramatically, with some being more vigorous than others. So it’s a good idea to test the water and try different styles in your area before you find one that suits you.

It’s also worth mentioning Tai Chi, a Chinese exercise that is not related to yoga, but is yet fairly similar in it’s approach.

It combines deep breathing with graceful, flowing movements that were originally based on martial arts moves in 13th century China, but today is used as an exercise that is known to improve co-ordination, reduce anxiety and stress, and also increases lower body strength as many of the movements are down squatting down with bent knees.

Again, Yoga and Tai Chi will not be for everyone, but it’s certainly beneficial for managing psychological problems as well as physical fitness for many recovery addicts.


Love & Compassion
Oliver G.

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