Tai Chi For Recovery From Addiction
You may have seen people in the park practicing slow, deliberate arm and leg movements. They look like they’re slowly dancing through water, smooth and serene. What you witnessed is the ancient Chinese martial art known as Tai Chi.
The full name, “t’ai chi ch’uan” or “taijiquan,” means “grand ultimate fist,” and it’s often referred to as “moving meditation.” Tai Chi is a mind-body flow to recovery. Using Tai Chi for recovery can ease the tumultuous road to recovery.
Tai Chi Improves Physical Health
According to Kaplan University, Tai Chi provides numerous health benefits for elderly students. All ages can enjoy the healing power of this discipline, though. Practice Tai Chi to strengthen and stretch joints, enhance coordination and massage tender muscles. The deep, swaying movements jog blood and lymph circulation so toxins are purged. With consistent practice, Tai Chi can do wonders for your overall mental health.
Tai Chi Teaches Stress Management
Personally, I think the best benefit of Tai Chi is how it melts away stress. This is especially helpful for recovering addicts. With regular practice, you break through the blockages that cause anxiety and restlessness. Clarity of mind and soul soon follow. Much of this comes from learning how to control your breathing. As you recover, you will of course be confronted with stress and you will need new, potent methods and coping mechanisms to manage and overcome it. Perhaps Tai Chi will be of great help to you!
Tai Chi Reduces Cravings
You and I both know that addiction involves powerful cravings. Ultimately, those cravings are your body’s attempts to find life energy, or Qi, the internal ability to feel good, peaceful, and capable. When you use drugs or alcohol, you fill yourself with destructive, unhealthy Qi. Because the drugs prevent you from achieving an lasting flow of natural Qi, you use again. In time, you need more and more substances to give you the level of life energy you crave.
Tai Chi can shatter this cycle by opening you up and filling you with clean, vibrant Qi. Research finds that performing Qigong, a parent discipline of Tai Chi, in early recovery reduces cocaine cravings. No matter what stage of recovery you’re in, Tai Chi can empower you by pushing away the bad and welcoming the good.
Tai Chi Combats Impulsiveness
Impulsive behavior plagues addicts and non-addicts alike. Many are driven to instant, easy gratification; they avoid the arduous time and self-reflection needed to find true happiness and peace. Tai Chi, just like yoga and other martial arts, can help you become more patient by guiding your focus through each and every movement you take. Breathing techniques will calm you and fortify your resolve, further pushing back impulse. With enough practice and dedication, mind can truly ascend matter.
Tai Chi Treats Depression
Depression can hide beneath the guise of flighty concentration, trouble sleeping, anxiety and unshakable fatigue. Depression can be caused by smoking and drinking, chemical imbalances, low self-esteem, trauma and emotional pain. Many addicts are also victim to depression, so the best approach to recovery is one that includes mental health rehab.
Tai Chi could be just what you need. Thoughtful breathing softens the edge of anxiety and gifts the mind with serenity. It churns circulation so that excess hormones and chemicals can be cleansed. It unifies physical and mental health, providing the perfect balance. All of these features are essential to defeating depression and thus making addiction easier to budge.
As a recovering addict, I urge you to try Tai Chi. It helps you relax, restores your energy, reduces cravings, and combats depression and pain. Plus, it will boost your physical, mental and emotional health. Join a local community or find a class to discover what this mind-body flow can do for you.
By Angela Lambert
Photo by: Brian Robinson (Flickr)