Understanding how we lose control of our will and give in to the use of some substance is a lot harder than most of us would ever think. I know that because I’ve been on both sides of the spectrum.
Now I have a much better understanding of how hard it is to come back to the bright side of life and how much happiness I felt when I gained back the control over my mind and body. It is no secret that a healthy body reflects on a healthy mind, and having these two in perfect harmony with ourselves is what ultimately brings us a fulfilled life, where there is no place for anything that disturbs our inner peace and our happiness.
I learned how to get there with the help of Yoga which served me as “a bridge.” It not only lead to a whole different place in my life but also helped me leave my addiction behind.
Here are 5 ways doing Yoga helped me achieve this:
1. Natural “High” Over Any Other “High”
Giving in to hedonism is an easy and subtle mistake. Satisfying my feelings and emotions became a priority in a really bad way; my body started asking me for more of everything: more cigarettes, more alcohol, and eventually more drugs. It became an addiction so easily and yet so smoothly that it took me a long time to recognize I had a problem.
[pullquote]By starting to practice Yoga, and more specifically meditation, my mind and body started to turn away from the pleasures the physical world could give.[/pullquote]
The practices filled the spiritual void I had been trying to fill with the wrong things. I reached a higher understanding of what I wanted in life and realized why succumbing to the ephemeral leads to an ephemeral fake happiness that blinds us from what truly matters in life.
2. Control Over The Mind
When we lose control of our minds, we turn to our instinct for answers. What we get in return will always be based on the immediate needs of our instincts.
Having an addiction meant to me that I no longer had control over my body, my mind, or my life in general. When I was a heavy user, I made up all sorts of excuses to justify my behavior and I became blind with the anxiety and the greed that made me want more and more. And Yoga gave me back the control over my mind and therefore over everything else that I had lost.
[pullquote]Meditation strengthens the prefrontal cortex of our brains, which is in charge of the choices we make.[/pullquote]
When we have a strong mind, we can make better choices. This meant that I could choose to get my life back and leave behind what was destroying it. The hardest battle we ever fight is with ourselves and having a control over our mind is halfway to victory.
3. Control Over Anxiety And Stress Levels
Having control over our minds makes it easier for ourselves to decide when to give in to stress and anxiety, and these two can be huge contributing factors in the life of an addict. When I was using, one of the reasons that held me down that path was the amount of stress I was dealing with on a daily basis.
[pullquote]This form of Yoga focuses on controlling how we feel and how we deal with stress or anxiety.[/pullquote]
When I learned about Yoga and started practicing, I found Kundalini Yoga, which is a “branch” that works specifically with the nervous and glandular system.
One of the things we can do once we regain control over our minds is helping our bodies to have better sleeping patterns. While I was using and recovering, I always had a hard time sleeping. Whether it was due to the effects of the substances in my body or because of the guilt, I never stopped struggling when falling asleep.
[pullquote]When we sleep better, we feel more energized, motivated, and concentrate much better on whatever tasks we have at hand.[/pullquote]
After I got to control my emotions and feelings, I reached a state of peace and relaxation that allowed me to fall asleep with no difficulties and remain in that state for the average recommended duration of 8 hours, sometimes even more. Sleeping better gives us the upper hand at our job and daily life by performing successfully.
5. A Will Of Steel
Whether it is by holding a position for longer than what I would like to or by forcing my mind to be empty of any kind of thoughts for a long period of time, Yoga has given me the strength that I wish I always had.
A strong will power helps us to gain a stronger sense of determination, and by doing so, challenges become easier to overcome and temptations are automatically ignored. Reaching our goals with a strong mind becomes just a matter of time; the “how” becomes clear and the “when” is defined by ourselves.
[pullquote]Yoga can strengthen our mind, which is ultimately the most important tool we ever have to achieve anything.[/pullquote]
Exercising our minds and bodies can bring a new horizon into our lives. Yoga can help us understand sides of ourselves that we didn’t even know existed before.
Having a strong healthy mind makes the recovery process a lot easier and successful. It also brings happiness, which is something I didn’t think I’d ever feel again. There are many other ways in which Yoga can help to overcome not only an addiction but basically almost every inner issue we might have.
If you have any questions or would simply like to share other ways in which meditation or Yoga has helped your life, feel free to comment below.