Proper planning and preparation can reduce risk and improve the experience when you adventure.
Why do I practice Yoga? Because it prepares me for everything else I do. Sure, the poses are challenging and moving my body in ways that compliment my habitual posturing helps to relieve pain and discomfort, but ultimately, the benefits of Yoga are most noticeable when I am playing.
Stretch, Warm Up, Recover
There are many reasons to visit Lake Tahoe. The views are incredible, the mountains are amazing, the lake will steal your heart. And, there is a whole lot of outdoor fun to be had. Many people come to Tahoe to play. Mountain bikers can’t wait to get out on the dirt and improve their skills. Skiers wait for the perfect powder or bluebird day to make turns. We can golf, hike, paddle, trail run, cross country ski, I could go on and on.
When was the last time you stretched before you started skiing? How often do you warm up before a mountain bike ride? Did you take fifteen minutes to properly prepare your body for a hike? Most of us don’t and that’s where Yoga comes in. Even if you only join a couple of classes a week, it can help you to retain mobility and feel limber when you go out to bike, hike, run or play. Engaging in practices before and after your other activities help your body to prepare and recover. The movements we do during a Yoga asana practice are designed to keep your joints mobile and your muscles long.
Whether you are heading out for a leisurely hike or training for your next marathon it is important to consider more than your physical health when you are preparing to play. Sure, your body needs to be strong and mobile, but a clear and calm mind can be the difference between failing gracefully or becoming a disgrace. Have you ever noticed how you breathe while you’re skiing or rock climbing? It may be particularly evident when you’re visiting Lake Tahoe. At the lake you are standing at 6200 feet above sea level, that’s over a mile up. Climb a hill or ride the ski lift and the quantity of oxygen available decreases. Breathing slowly, deeply and calmly will help you to maintain focus.
Did you know that there are specific breathing techniques you can do to prepare your body for physical effort? Over time, many Yogic breathing techniques have been modified and renamed to help people feel more comfortable trying them. They have continued to be utilized for thousands of years because they work. Before you begin an activity or if you feel stressed or fearful while in it, your breath can help you to return to a state of calm. A simple two-part breath that allows you to completely fill and empty, slowly, will calm your nervous system, help you focus your thoughts, reduce anxiety and help you to return to a more calm state of being.
Mindset is everything. The thoughts you have about and during an activity can effect the experience you have. Practices that help us to focus upon the positive, when done regularly, can shift your perspective over time. If your day includes something that is going to challenge you in some way, perhaps because you will be engaging with crowds of people, trying something new or leveling up your skills, a positive mindset is incredibly important. A tool that can help you to establish a positive mindset is a journal. Making daily notes about the good stuff and re-reading what you’ve written will help you to keep these thoughts fresh in your mind. With these thoughts on the top of your mind, you’ll become better at seeing the “silver lining” when you feel challenged.
If you’d like to learn more about the practice of Yoga, breathwork, mindfulness and how these tools can help you to prepare for and recover from your play visit Bliss Experiences. Beyond traditional Yoga practices, sessions include healing sound, reiki and forest bathing and more. Beginning while you’re on vacation could help you to establish new practices that will prepare you for your next trip to Lake Tahoe.
You have probably already heard that you should exercise to support your addiction recovery, and you have maybe told yourself you’ll work on that when you get better. However, the benefits of exercise in addiction recovery are extensive, proven, and tangible, and the sooner you start building fitness into your recovery program, the better.
How Fitness Helps Recovery
Scientists have been researching the impact of exercise on addiction for years, and the take away keeps getting clearer: physical fitness can be an invaluable tool toward recovery and can help people avoid relapse and stay sober. There are several reasons for this, from simple brain chemistry to complex psycho-social and environmental factors.
The Best Types of Exercise for Addiction Recovery
The most important thing when choosing your exercise is to do something you enjoy. However, there are a few types of workout that have been shown to be particularly effective with recovering addicts. Essentially, there are two popular approaches, both of which have their benefits.
One option is to do something that is low-impact but has meditative or soothing properties: Yoga is a great example, as are cycling and hiking. Another is to go in the opposite direction, aiming for an intense workout that will get you that “high”: running, CrossFit, and HIIT are good options.
Improving Mental Health
Although classified as a mental health issue itself, substance abuse disorder is closely related to other mental illnesses, particularly anxiety and depression. According to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), an estimated 7.9 million people have co-occurring depression and addiction disorders.
As explained above, exercise is great for your mental health, as it reduces stress. It is also proven to help with depression and anxiety, particularly when combined with more traditional medical forms of treatment. Many recovering addicts fear taking medications like antidepressants, believing they have to be “100% sober,” but if you have a mental health issue you should do everything in your power to get better, which can include getting a medical prescription.
A Healthy Routine
While exercise can get you a long way in helping you stay sober, it is only part of a healthy routine. It is a great first step, but there are other areas in your life you should also be aiming to improve, including your diet, sleep schedule, relationships with others, and how you choose to spend your free time.
The good news is that exercise has been proven to be a keystone habit, meaning people who successfully build an exercise habit are more likely to follow suit in other areas of their lives. Focus on integrating your workout routine into your schedule, and you may see that the rest comes naturally. If it doesn’t, choose one new habit at a time, giving yourself a few weeks or even months to adjust. This allows you to build a stable routine that will stick to, instead of overwhelming yourself with too many resolutions at once.
Whether it’s working on your flexibility and balance on a yoga mat or sweating out the stress with a run, throwing yourself into a regular exercise routine is one of the best things you can do in your journey toward recovery. Take some time to find what works for you and incorporate it into your schedule, while taking time to address any mental health issues, and you will soon find yourself on a path to a healthy, full life free from addiction.
When life gets busy, it’s easy to find yourself in a nonstop routine that cultivates tension and anxiety. Awareness of not only your surroundings but also your inner emotional state is fundamental to yoke the energy of concentration. The practice of incorporating mindful practices as well as physical effort can help you establish a happier and healthier life.
Your yoga practice doesn’t have to stop when you leave the mat. Whether it’s running out of the house to pick up the kids from sports, making dinner for a family of 8, or even coping with a lost loved one, check out these mindfulness exercises to harness your ability to deal with life’s challenges.
Never underestimate the power of simplicity. Maintain awareness of your breath and focus your attention on moving the breath in and out. This exercise can be done at any time of the day and in any position anywhere. The results can be tremendous.
Now that you’ve focused on your breath, follow your breath beginning to end. Sustain your awareness and let fleeting thoughts pass.
Awareness of Your Body
Tension in the body can be released by the mind. Awareness of the body can help bring oneness to the body and mind. The more peace and harmony in your breathing, the more it will reflect in your body.
Self-reflection is essential to appreciating the wonders of life and letting go of the things that hold us back. Mindful walking is a simple technique that can enable you to find your purpose, increase your well-being, and give you the clarity to navigate yourself through the world.
A warrior never rushes. Combat the addiction to rush and stay present. Slowing down can sometimes be the best way to speed up. Whether it’s moving slower, taking time to think about the things you speak, find perspective on balance by calming the body, mind, and spirit in preparation for meditation.
The combination of mindfulness and physical activity is the crux of combating negative thinking and emotional distress. Although this practice requires discipline and self-control, mindfulness can transform your ability to concentrate and make a breakthrough.
The focal point of mindfulness practices is meditation. The combination of physical and mental practices can train the body to stay calm and be observant. This concentration allows one to
wake dormant energy toward awakening.
Christin Lee is a yoga instructor, entrepreneur, and lifestyle blogger living in NYC. She currently writes for InsiderEnvy with an emphasis and focus on fitness, health, and universal human rights.