Yoga is a mindful or conscious practice of body, breath and thoughts with various postures and some code of conducts while alcoholism and addictions are unconscious practices done ignorantly. Whatever addicted activities you do, it is done without being conscious/ mindful. You smoke mechanically i.e. not consciously, you drink mechanically i.e. not mindfully, and you use tobacco mechanically i.e. not with awareness.

Yoga practice teaches you to remain aware and conscious so that you can know internally what addiction is. As you become on your addiction, you can be no longer addicted. You cannot be drunkard becoming mindful. You cannot do any negative work becoming conscious. Thus, yogic practice is very helpful to get rid out of alcoholism and drug addiction.

You have the power to transform your mentality through continuous practice, regardless of any type of your addiction. If you are honest on the sensation, thoughts, breaths then you can break the chain and be free from the habits and discover the addiction-free world, the path of truth and bliss.

All types’ yogic activities are good for addiction, yet the following yoga asanas and practices are better to begin for transformation and aid in addiction recovery:

1. Pranayama

Yoga practices require breathing exercise (pranayama) to awaken intuitive mind-body connections. If the is begun with a pranayama, it help keep the mind peace and focused on the present moment, which assist in reforming addictive behaviors.
 
Let’s practice with Aum (om) chanting Or this one:

  1. Sit down in a comfortable position, back and neck straight, and eyes closed.
  2. Inhaling, visualize a white light at the base of your spine (from Root chakra) and pull the light up your spine in a slow motion.
  3. Exhaling, visualize the light dissolving back down the spine toward your tailbone.
  4. Do it at least 10 breath cycles.

(Note: There are other many types of pranayamas for practice which are very good for changing addictive habit.)

2. Matsyasana (Fish Pose)

Ancient tests refers Matsyasana refers as a destroyer of all diseases. It is a good heart opener, great stretch of the thoracic spine, the chest and the shoulders. Fish Pose helps relieve anxiety and stress as well.
 

  1. Lie down on your back with legs extended and feet together.
  2. Resting on forearms – palms, lift your chest and shoulders.
  3. Move your hips closer to the elbows to bend in the spine and rest crown of your head the mat.
  4. Place your right hand under the right hip, and left hand under the left hip.
  5. Make an intention to bring your pinky fingers to touch just below the glutes.
  6. Hold this pose for 5-10 full breaths.

3. Yogic Bicycles

Yogic Bicycle activates the fire at our solar plexus chakra, which develops the confidence level. The movement of yogic bicycles creates heat in the body to strengthen the muscle, which assist for practicing different yoga asanas. 

Steps

  1. Lie down on your back. Keep the hands interlace behind your head, elbows come out wide.
  2. Bring right knee towards chest, left leg extended, inhaling lift head, chest and shoulder off the mat and exhaling twist to bring left elbow near to right knee. Be focused on the twist.
  3. Inhaling return back to center and switch legs
  4. Continue another side. Move it slowly to feel the connection in the body.

4. Downward Facing Dog

This is also called Adho Mukha Svanasana and it is good for stress relief. Besides, strengthening and lengthening muscles it helps to release mental and physical stress.

Steps:

  1. Facing downwards, fix your palms and feet on the ground.
  2. Lift hips back and up making inverted “V” shape with your body.
  3. Press through the thumbs and fingers to reduce the pressure at wrists.
  4. Rotate your shoulder externally and spiral your biceps in the front of mat to pull your shoulder blades away from the ears.  
  5. To stretch your ankles, calves and hamstrings draw the heels towards the floor.
  6. Keep head relaxed
  7. Hold the pose for about 10-15 breaths.

5. Anjaneyasana (Low Lunge)

Low Lunge is a good stretch of hips, psoas and groin for better flexion. It helps to give control on our emotional trauma. You can do a gentle stretch or intense stretch according to your body’s desire. Focus on breaths try for opening hips more and more as well as invite tension to release.

Steps:

  1. Bring your right leg forward and stack right knee directly on the top of ankle.
  2. Rest the left knee on the mat and feel the stretch.
  3. Extend your arms upwards, if it is difficult for you, modify it placing hands on the mat framing the front of your front foot.
  4. Keep the shoulders relaxed, spine lengthening and core engaged and active.
  5. Do this on another side.

6. Warrior I (Virabhadrasana)

  Warrior pose gives stretch on your calves, thighs, hips and lower back. It is very good to alleviate deep-seated emotions. Try to remain at present even during discomfort.  This helps to build strength to live with present when addictive habits trigger.

Steps:

  1. It can be begun with a low lunge, right leg forward and left leg back.
  2. Lift the left knee up, move the foot closer to the left edge of the mat.
  3. Fix left foot with a 45 degree angle turn, where front toes face front-left and heel faces back-right.
  4. Inhaling lift upper body and raise hands up.
  5. Make an intention to square your hips and shoulders to the front.
  6. Keep pressing left foot blade into the ground.
  7. Hold for some breaths and repeat another side.

7. Marichayasana (Sage Marichi Twist)

It is good for detoxifying the negative energy from your body. Marichayasana engages internal organs to compress and twist which promote the stimulation of nervous system. It makes the mind peace and decrease stress level. 

Steps:

  1. Sit down extending legs forward.
  2. Spine lengthened and extended, bend the right knee and fix the right foot at side of the left thigh.
  3. Push your right knee with left elbow and twist your torso outside the right knee.
  4. Keeping increasing the twist and, try to hold left hand with right hand from behind.
  5. Spine lengthened and chest lifted, pause here few deeper breath.
  6. Repeat left twist as well.

8. Raj Kapotasna (Pigeon Pose)

Raj Kapotasana is the final hip opening pose to release emotional and mental knots as well as blocked energy within the body. Pigeon pose is very good to bring hidden emotions to the surface and provides the practitioner a chance to eradicate by facing them. Anna Forrest regards this asana as a great soother of the nervous system and accepts everything that comes up and allows the body and mind to wash them away.

Steps:

  1. From Plank or Downward Facing Dog, move to rest your right knee behind right wrist and foot to the left.   
  2. Left leg is extended back, then allow hips on the mat.
  3. Shoulders and hips face frontwards, inhaling deeply stretch your spine and lift the chest.
  4. Exhale, bring palms front. Hold it for minimum deep 8 breaths.
  5. Repeat on the next side as well.

9. Legs Up the Wall Pose

This yoga-asana is awesome pose to rejuvenate the body and relax the mind. It increases circulation and also good to relief from depression and anxiety.

Steps:

  1. Keep hand on the floor, near to wall and lift your hips and legs up with the support of wall (if required). You can ask help with friend as well.
  2. Stay here for few seconds to some minutes according to your capacity.

Note: Avoid this pose:  If you have High Blood Pressure or if your nature is “Pitta”.

10. Corpse Pose (Savasana)

Savasana seems to be just lying down but it is the most difficult pose since it requires stillness and silence remaining mindful which is challenging than any physical movement. It helps to discover the self which can be the key to alleviate addiction.

Steps

  1. Better to begin with stretch the whole body lying on back (Supta Tadasana)  flat for about 10 breaths.
  2. You can also begin directly, lay down on back, hands about half foot apart from the waist, palms facing up and leg about 1 foot to two feet apart.
  3. Close the eyes, let your body be in comfortable pose to fully relax. Observe Natural breath or sensations and thoughts of the body. This helps to let go your emotions and instincts.
  4. Do it for 5-10 minutes.

Important tips for Yoga Practice:

  • Yoga pose requires holding at least three breaths. The best rule is to hold a yoga asana for one more breath than your normal capacity.
  • Feel your body more and more, witness the sensations of the body during the practice. Remain equanimous i.e. don’t react on pain or pleasure. In other words, embrace both pleasant and painful sensations.
  • Observe your instinct, thoughts and habits patterns reveal while you practice, so that negative habits and addictions remove away.
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