Yoga & Recovery
Many of us first turned to yoga whilst looking for change. It takes great courage and openness to heal our negative habits and create new healthy ones. No matter our habits, addictions, or cravings, yogic practices can transform them from the inside out. To dig up our deep-rooted habits to create change, the journey of recovery begins at the source — our inner worlds.
Yogic teachings allow for deep introspection, self-awareness, and understanding of the root causes of addiction. Yoga offers practical strategies to let go of unhelpful habits, retrain the mind to think differently, and build new routines. Ayurveda, yoga’s sister science, adds a self-care component, allowing the integration of a soothing, all-natural self-care regimen for those in recovery.
Yoga and Ayurveda not only ease recovery, but they help people connect with themselves on a deeply satisfying level. With tools such as meditation, yoga asanas, and the four paths of yoga, recovery becomes an enlightening, healing and spiritually-fulfilling process.
The four paths of yoga are an integral part of Sivananda Yoga’s philosophy, and include: Karma Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Raja Yoga, and Jnana Yoga. The combination of these four paths are part of what makes yoga so successful for people in recovery.
Karma Yoga is the yoga of service, aligning with the 12-step concept of overcoming your own negative tendencies by serving others. When we serve selflessly and with care for others, our own hearts become full. We find purpose, enjoyment, and deep fulfillment — bringing a new depth of meaning into our lives.
Bhakti Yoga is the yoga of devotion, which is one of the main ingredients necessary to overcome addictive tendencies. By cultivating Bhakti, we learn to become devoted to ourselves, our intentions, and a higher power. When we are deeply committed to our resolutions, it becomes easier to engage with the life we want.
Raja Yoga is the royal path, and is helpful for building discipline. Even the strongest people can falter in discipline, and this is an important part of recovery — learning to grow ourselves and pick ourselves up when we fall down. Through Raja Yoga, we learn meditation and the yoga postures, which help us keep healthy bodies and disciplined minds.
Jnana Yoga is the path of wisdom. When we start to overcome addictive habits and see our own actions from a broader perspective, we learn from firsthand experience. Jnana Yoga requires strength of will and intellect, and it helps us overcome the mind and ego. With the ego out of the way, we can act in the best interest of our true selves.
These four paths of yoga are just a small part of how yoga helps with recovery. Yoga, along with Ayurveda, are two powerful and profound tools to help people deal with addictive and self-destructive tendencies — helping them to build their best life yet.
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