How Virtual Yoga For Recovery Will Benefit Your Life (Even if You’re Not in Recovery)

For the last year or so I have been teaching weekly yoga classes to all different types of audiences–each with their own unique, added flavor to the practice. 

Yoga studios, recovery centers, and a county jail alike. 

Then, on March 16, 2020, I got wind of all in-person classes being suspended until further notice. And (as we can all recall) that was only the beginning.

Thankfully I was able to continue teaching these recovery classes through non-profit organizations—such as Yoga in Action and SOS Recovery almost right away. 

There was no hesitation that we had to move these platforms online to ensure that our members would still have access to this free support.

It wasn’t too long into teaching solely virtual classes that I started to notice that students were still showing up similarly as they would for in-person classes; they were eager to connect. Some of whom felt even more connected than before we were all urged to stay inside. 

And I thought that that was interesting because, personally, I was having my own internal battles of wanting to break myself out of my newly adopted, much more isolated routine. 

I started to think, “How inspiring is it to see such a drastic change in someone’s way of living (like entering a quarantine, perhaps) evoke more beneficial and inward changes that they want to make.” 

 

It was remarkable to be able to witness my students—week after week—show up for him or herself, acknowledging when he or she feels both hardship and a period of grace. 

Better yet, they’re able to use the teachings found in a yoga class as a template for how they wish to show up in the world.

What do I mean by this? 

Adopting a regular yoga practice can bring in a better sense of presence, calmness, and mindful awareness into the most chaotic-feeling parts of your life. It can take us out of our emotional reactions and responses, and instead lets us observe the situation with a different perspective.

This understanding of behavioral/emotional patterns and how they related to past trauma or addictive tendencies.

So, exactly how does practicing recovery-style yoga benefit people? 

  • It provides comfort in allowing people to practice in the safety of their own homes.
    • Sometimes if we’re new to yoga, or any type of activity for that matter, we tend to think it “should” look a certain way. We can feel intimidated by having other people around us, and feel nervous about what they may think or see.
    • But being at home should allow you to feel the ultimate sense of security and safety… I’d say a bonus of quarantine! Before you think I’m crazy, think about it: what is your overall state like when you are in a place that you feel safe and protected? How about when you feel on edge or anxious? 
  • Invites more confidence with the ability to turn camera/mic off at own discretion.
    • Adding to the first point, when we have the misconception that every person practicing yoga should look like the yogi on Instagram with 1M followers… needless to say, there’s some comparison going on here. You may start to doubt your abilities (I’ve been there too, we all have.)
    • When we have no video camera or even mirror in front of us, we immediately take away the concern for visual appearance and aesthetics. Instead, along with being in your own space, your body will naturally begin to relax on a level that is of the ultimate satisfaction (as long as you don’t get disturbed by your dust bunnies under the TV stand!)
  • It teaches us ways to incorporate this mindfulness practice that is yoga in our everyday lives—not just when we’re on the mat.
    • Sure, it’s quite easy for most of us to find the benefits of returning to our mats consistently. The ability to be quiet, still, no distractions. But what about when we’re not feeling as aligned as when we are during practice? This is when the true test of the skills, mindset shifts, and thought processes are put into action. 
    • Start small: become aware of yourself during a simple household chore, like doing the dishes, perhaps. Notice what the temperature of the water feels like. Notice the texture of any soaps or detergents used. Listen to the sound of the water running down the drain
    • THIS is yoga; it’s the ability to present yourself with awareness, breath, and unbiased observation. 
  • It reminds us we are not as helpless, alone, or “behind” as we sometimes think that we are.
    • While it’s no surprise we’re all pretty much experiencing a global pandemic for the first time, it can feel particularly isolating having to remain at home for any extended period. 
    • This practice, even virtually, reminds us that there are still other humans in the world—and they too are feeling the wrath of COVID-19, either similarly or differently than you are. And all we can do is be here for one another (within a socially acceptable distance, of course.) 

I encourage you to take this power into your own hands and see what local teachers are offering recovery-based yoga near you. 

It sheds light on the ways we live in an eye-opening, yet simple-by-nature type of way.

Oh, and I forgot to mention—these classes are for anyone, whether you’re personally in recovery or not. You could have a family member or a colleague going through this, or maybe you’re just curious to approach your life from a trauma-informed perspective.

So, as you are nearing the end of your quarantine (or not), I’d love to know what you are doing to clarify and strengthen your body and your mind. Let me know in the comments below, or send over an email! 

Breana Martin 

Owner, Bre Tree, LLC

www.bretree.com

www.instagram.com/bre.tree

breanamartinryt@gmail.com

www.facebook.com/bretreellc

 

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