Meditation and Yoga – Spiritual Keys to Recovery from Drug and Alcohol Addiction
Meditation, as we practice it at Spirit Mountain Recovery, is a mindfulness-based recovery regimen that focuses the mind on a particular object, thought, or activity without labeling it or judgment. Just accepting the present moment for what it is. Not lost in any one specific thought, or the past story of your life or the future. An awareness of being aware. Where a client’s attention is focused on the present moment experience. By definition, a clear, emotionally calm, and stable place.
Through daily meditation practice our clients learn to focus their attention on their breathing as a way of calming and centering themselves in the present moment. Consistent practice meditating reduces stress and calms our client’s minds and bodies. They learn to self-direct themselves to this new state-of-being as a powerful tool in their ability to deal with stress and anxiety in their lives.
Types of Meditation
At Spirit Mountain we orient our meditation practice around three different types of meditation. The first being, focused meditation, or classical meditation, which features a variety of breathing exercises and regimens helpful in directing a client’s attention to the present moment. Where they learn that although they can not control their thoughts, they can learn to redirect themselves back to their breath in order to re-anchor themselves in the present moment.
The second method of meditation is what Diana Winston, Director of Mindfulness Education at UCLA’s Mindfulness Awareness Research Center (MARC) calls Natural Awareness. As she defines it as “a state of being wherein our focus is on the awareness itself rather than the things we are aware of.” Natural Awareness is primarily engaged experientially as our clients meditate.
Some indicators of having realized natural awareness is that your mind is undistracted, spacious, unidentified, at rest, abiding in the awareness, letting the life experience be what it is, content or simply just being which creates as Diana Winston says, “a feeling of timelessness and ease.”
The third meditative discipline practiced at Spirt Mountain Recovery by our highly trained yoga instructor is Trauma-Informed Meditation. All our clients who have suffered from substance use addictions and most mental health disorders have an extraordinary amount of unprocessed trauma associated with these conditions. Or, what is often generally referred to as post-traumatic-stress-disorder events (PTSD).
Trauma-Informed Meditation is not a treatment for PTSD, but when it supplements a client’s individual and group clinical therapy as it does at Spirit Mountain Recovery, the combination of these two disciplines can significantly reduce stress and anxiety. Trauma-Informed Meditation helps clients process the emotions of the trauma by training the body to relax and reside in a state of calmness. Helping them to transcend stressful moments and trauma-related triggers.
How Yoga Can Be Helpful in Recovery
Yoga as it is practiced at Spirit Mountain Recovery is not what you may think from watching bouncing and stretching bodies doing a variety of yoga exercises on television. Or, from what is practiced at upscale, fashionable yoga studios throughout the country. At Spirit Mountain Recovery we do practice some elementary stretching and flexibility exercises in our yoga practice, but we adhere to the more scientific-based meaning of yoga.
Literally, that yoga means “union.” That there is no such thing as you or me. That it is all of us experiencing and navigating the challenges of life together. Where our clients learn to experience and become connected to a life-force greater than themselves and to others in a new deeper way.
Where they transcend from the old nature of who they believed they were, their life story or ego, to a new alert, consciously present state-of-being. Having experienced this shift in their consciousness, they now perceive and experience life with humility, graciousness, and a desire to first be of service to others rather than being self-consumed and self-absorbed.