September is National Recovery Month

Today marks the beginning of September. The first day of this month is special to us here at Living Yoga because September is National Recovery Month. Join us all throughout September as we highlight different recovery stories and celebrate yoga as a key tool in recovery.

Our first story is from one of our very own volunteer teachers, Becca:

I have found yoga to be a wonderful support for recovery. For someone like me, who is a “feel good” junkie, practice gave me a way to be responsible for my own “feel good”; using the body and the breath. Yoga was the first time I started to develop an authentic, healthy connection with my physical body after years of substance abuse, disordered eating and unhealthy work environments. My first yoga class was at the local gym. I was immediately hooked by the sense of calm alertness I felt after that first class. I had always been physically active but yoga produced a feeling I had never experienced. I knew this was something special and I knew I wanted more. Through tracking the breath and sensations in my body I was eventually able to focus inward and gain space from negative, habitual thought patterns.

As I continued to deepen my practice, self-compassion arose and with this I found myself able to view and treat others more compassionately. Yoga also helped give me the ability to see the transitory nature of moods. As one of my teachers says, “No mood lasts more than five minutes.” For me as an alcoholic, however, I used to always feel that whatever I am going through is going to last forever! Reactivity, hypersensitiveness, anger and a readiness to give up, were my constant companions in early recovery. Besides emotional stability, yoga gave me a sense of belonging. The class and my time on the mat with others became something sacred, a gift of being sober, something that I found authentic joy in.

This was big for me; because in getting sober I thought I was giving up fun and friends. I was, in away. I had to give up my old life to make room for a new one. Yoga was one of the first things that I saw as a “win” for being sober. Through a dedicated recovery program supported by a consistent yoga practice I learned to simply abide in the breath, steady my focus, increase my self-confidence and patience, and speak and think in a way that is not so colored by negativity and fear. I also find a newness in the poses each time I come to the mat-the practice is not merely exercise but a conversation with the self, it's constantly changing and evolving.

The freedom that yoga helped create in my body, my breath and my brain inspired me to share yoga with others.

Avery Lewis