In my last post titled Yoga and Overcoming derma I discussed how I was brought to yoga within my battle with my greatest addiction: OCD. I had written a list of the qualities, skills or activities I wanted to work on developing in my life as a point of self-creation as I let go of OCD.
When you let something go, especially when it is a big part of your life, it is necessary to, at the same time, create yourself as something new.
I have found this to be exceedingly supportive because to create something requires time and thus discipline, focused attention and energy. Not an emotional or feeling energy which can end up feeding the addiction, but a ‘doing’ energy, which involves breathing; breathing through reactions, breathing back to stability, breathing to control and maintain movement and balance during yoga practice, and so on.
What I have found is that not only in doing yoga, but also making space for yoga in my life which is very busy, I have begun to live words such as: discipline, organization, self-movement and self-worth.
This is because I had to go through many steps to find the studio, pay for the membership, get the proper clothes and items (either buy, borrow or locate), find a place in my schedule and a frequency that suites me, and actually follow through on my decision each time I decide to go.
Once in the studio, there is a whole other set of words to be lived: calm, quite, slow, still, relax, release, patience, breathe, gentle. These are words that I had not been living in my day-to-day rush in the 9-5 rat race, and words which are necessarily developed while practicing yoga. These words I KNEW I should be living, but had not lived them in so long, or in too specific a context, that I was unable to bring them into my busy mind and working life.
I do hot yoga, and when my mind is not clear, or I am being impatient with myself or rushing, the heat begins to bother me. But if I have a clear mind and am actually living the words mentioned above, I embrace the heat and it feels wonderful in my body. In these instances, I walk out of the studio feeling refreshed (especially when finishing with a cold shower), and my body can more easily acclimate to the temperature outdoors, whether it be exceptionally cold or hot, it has less of an effect. I feel stable, self-sustaining, and more resilient.
In relation to addiction or OCD more specifically, the effects are multi-dimensional. There are the physically supportive effects, where I am physically doing something else, doing and going to yoga instead of the addictive repetitive acts. Then, there is also support for the energy build-ups within OCD, which pushes one over the edge when faced with compulsion (or with addiction it would be the similar urges). Within yoga, the energy is released physically and more constructively, in a calm and controlled manner while building muscle and burning calories, sweating and maintaining focus.
And then there is also the mind dimension, where the new words lived can be applied in one’s relationship with their mind. For example with me, within my mind-body-beingness relationship, there tends to be a lot of friction. There is a harshness, the words ‘discipline’, ‘focus’ and ‘structure’ had a severe, anxiety provoking edge to them. There is also self-judgment, impatience, over-stimulation, rushing, compulsions and so on. The mind can be a very busy place.
You can imagine how welcomed living the words: ‘calm’, ‘quite’, ‘slow’, ‘still’, ‘relax’, ‘release’, ‘patience’, ‘breathe’ and ‘gentle’ has been as I have introduced them into how I work with my mind. Now, throughout the day, when I have the compulsions, or feel the sharp stabs or rushing, impatience and stress, I can more easily take a deep breath, and access a part of me that is newly developed. One that finds a deep silence within me, where I am more untouchable and unwavering in my resolve. this part of me I more easily discovered and developed through practicing yoga, and all the steps it took to get there.
If you made it this far, thank you for reading.