Yoga, being comparative to a light cardiovascular workout is great for other things like a mental health reprieve, reducing key chemicals in your body that induce stress and weight gain, a core work, breathing techniques, and other vital things recovery!
Yoga is like taking a walk and then adding stretching, breathing, and balance to your life. Yoga has many benefits to its practice in recovery. One of the factors yoga contributes to fighting is depression.
According to Psychology Today, “Yoga, when compared to other forms of relatively low impact physical activity (such as walking) appears to reduce anxiety and assuage the symptoms of depression” [Rachel Crazioplene/ Quiet Science. This is Your Brain on Yoga. September 28, 2012].
Psychology Today goes on to state that, the regular practice of gentle yoga releases a chemical known as GABA in the thalamus.
What is GABA? GABA is known as gamma-aminobutyric acid [YOGANONYMOUS. Anxiety Healing Brain Chemical’s Production is Stimulated by Yoga Practice| Medical News Today]. What does it do? GABA helps regulate nerve activity. It naturally occurs in the body to reduce pain, regulate mood, and calm the nervous system.
GABA is comparative to taking classical anti-anxiety medications (like benzodiazepines, but completely natural!). GABA released is used to reduce anxiety throughout the central nervous system. It soothes the muscles and joints when your body calms and relaxes itself. All of this is done without the effects of drugs!
The study shown in article “This is Your Brain on Yoga” by Rachel Crazloplene states that, there is a direct link of a 27% increase in GABA in your system within an hour of your yoga workout! [Rachel Crazioplene/ Quiet Science. This is Your Brain on Yoga. September 28, 2012]
One problem many addicts talk about is the chronic flow of pain within the road to recovery. “Our bodies manufacture pain when in addiction” is something you commonly hear from people in recovery.
Yoga is great for taking a pre-emptive strike against those wears and tears of everyday life and better your recovery!
According to the Huffington Post “Neuroscience has repeatedly demonstrated the capacity of the brain to rewire itself through experience, known as neuroplasticity” [Gabriel Axel for U.S. News. Why Your Brain Loves Yoga. 9/06/13]. By the common practices in yoga–like stretching–your body will rewire to a more relaxed, permanent state.
This means through the continuous use of stretching/yoga you will be able to re-wire your body’s adaptation to pain. This will create a pain-free, limber, and more agile you! Through yoga you can retrain your body to become healthier, stronger, and faster. You become more serene, at ease, and comfortable in your life!
“The principles of yogic science and brain science mesh together to create a blueprint for transformation” [Gabriel Axel for U.S. News. Why Your Brain Loves Yoga. 9/06/13].
According to runnersworld.com, in article Flexible Routine (Sage Rountree. September 3, 2009), it’s said that, “By increasing blood and oxygen flow to muscles, tendons, and ligaments, yoga boosts flexibility, reduces soreness, and speeds recovery.” In an excerpt from Sabrina Grotewold in Using Yoga For Injury Prevention and Recovery, it is exemplified on how recovery and yoga combined benefit you:
“Holding a pose for more than 72 seconds has an amazing ability to restore and rebuild connective tissue and the skeleton as well,” Chung explained. “Runners, cyclists and triathletes use their bodies in precise ways; they use the same muscles to do the same things. Yoga can bring awareness to the actions you’re placing on the body and, aside from the biceps, we hit just about every muscle.”
One of the most prudent things in yoga/recovery exercises is breathing techniques.
Breathing techniques stimulate the nervous system. Breathing techniques also send energy and blood flow to all parts of your body releasing key chemicals (such as GABA) to help your body heal faster!
Don’t overdo the lungs. The lungs they’re a powerful organ in your body and you may not know your own strength at times! Like taking things in moderation in recovery “One step at a time!” If you feel dizzy then you know it’s time to cool it! (Facts provided by Allgoodthings.com. Breath Series: Breath Techniques for Healing)
New breathing techniques will help you filter the bad air out, and the good air in.
Think like this: Breath IN your nose…2…3…4. Breath OUT of your mouth gently…2….3….4. Find the timing that feels most comfortable to you! Maybe you have a favorite number? (A small one hopefully… remember don’t over-do it!)
When you breath, focus strictly on the inhales and exhales for healing. This can be your ‘release.’
You should practice breathing techniques when going through your routines. But, don’t limit yourself to strictly that! Expand your lungs and your mind to new levels of recovery an relaxation!
Imagine you are someplace serene (like walking down a candle-lit beach! Or a sunlit path with forest on both sides! Hear the birds chirp for you!)
Or, imagine complete nothingness (Keep your mind blank to ease the tensions of the day!). Do whatever get’s YOUR mind right while following the simple breathing techniques.
Here is a starter guide to breathing the right way for personal relaxation/recovery:
“Pursed Lip Breathing”
Inhale slowly through your nose with your mouth closed; try to take in a normal amount of air.
Exhale slowly through your mouth with your lips in the whistling or kissing position.
- Breathe out for twice as long as you breathe in.Do not take in a large deep breath. Never try to force out the air.
The purpose of coordinated breathing is to help assure adequate oxygen to your working muscles and to prevent you from holding your breath.
Here are the steps for coordinated breathing.
- Inhale through your nose before starting the exercise or activity.
- Exhale through pursed lips, during the most exerting part of the exercise or activity”
There are many other techniques and ways to relax and recover. But, these are some of the best! Best of wishes on your journey!