The best day of my career ~ Yoga in Recovery
I get the best days of my career over and over again but I can sometimes take them for granted. It can be hard to measure the effect yoga has on people, especially when your students are in a recovery center and yoga is, well not mandatory but the possibility of activities include only a few.
I have the privilege of teaching yoga in recovery, three evenings a week I teach 75 minute classes for the groups. In each group there are a handful of students that take to yoga, come to most classes, some even to all of them, and make yoga a part of their recovery plan.
I see the transformation the students who attend yoga go through. In the first week no one can sit still, they tend to be very reactive, frustrated, agitated, and even angry. Their focus and attention is limited and stillness seems like a world away.
Weeks of classes and slowly, like I explain to them at the start, everything changes. The group is sitting still, a calmness washes over them, and their breath control is used not only on the mat but in their lives to give them space, “I deserve a minute at any time for myself, a second away from it all” one student told me.
At first I thought that many of the changes were from their work at the center, the group work, regular meals, support, and safety . However in all groups there are a few students in the last week of treatment that regret not participating in yoga and join in. They are more similar to the groups at the beginning than the students beside them that have been attending regularly. They find it hard to sit tall on the floor, let alone be still, they find balance postures extremely challenging, they are far less connected to their bodies, and are much more reactive and easily frustrated. The students that attend class regularly are different people, softer, sweeter to themselves and one another. It is a real gift for me to be witness to this.
I know it is anecdotal, but the proof sits in front of me every 6 weeks.
Some of these students and groups deeply touch my heart, one of these students wrote this and gave it to me in their last week at the recovery center.
Like most of the students, at the begging they are very reluctant and unsure and even fairly sure they will not like yoga... and then this happens!
Remember as you go through your life that we really have no idea what others are going through, be as kind as you can they might really need that.