Mindfulness

Noah Levine’s Refuge Recovery: A Buddhist Path to Recovering from Addiction

Refuge Recovery is a non-profit, Buddhist oriented, non-theistic recovery program and Noah Levine’s latest book. Refuge Recovery: A Buddhist Path to Recovering from Addiction was released on June 10, coincidentally the 79th anniversary of Alcoholics Anonymous. Noah Levine, M.A., whose story is already familiar to many in the recovery community, is also the author of the autobiographical Dharma Punx, the revolutionary meditation manual Against the Stream, and the reflections on the practice of loving-kindness Heart of the Revolution. He founded Against the Stream Meditation Society, which opened its doors in Los Angeles in 2008, and Santa Monica in 2009.   Refuge Recovery was …

Can Contemplative Practices Foster Recovery?

In addition to our therapeutic programs, Visions offers contemplative practices to our teens that teach and encourage skills for self-regulation and self-care. We have regular yoga classes and a weekly meditation group.   Jessica Rosen, founder of One Down Dog in Silverlake, heads up our yoga program. She brings in a playful element to yoga that the kids love. This allows them to reconnect with themselves in a profound way. I spoke to Jessica and asked her what she feels she brings to the clients, and how contemplative practices are helpful in recovery. She said, “Through the practice of yoga …

Resolution, Schmesolution: Create a New Year Theme

It’s that time: New Year’s Eve celebrations are upon us! For many, it’s the time of year often met with party plans and resolutions. Parties and resolutions together sound like a juxtaposition and affect some legitimate irony, but nevertheless, they go together for most people every 31st of December. However, if you are in recovery, have clearer eyes and hopefully a wiser mind, things might look a bit different during this time of year.   There are several articles offering tips and guidelines for setting up the “perfect” New Year resolutions, 0r embarking on a New Year cleanse, or signing …

Finding Resilience Within

What is resilience anyway? To be resilient/to have resilience is to be able to quickly “bounce back” or “recover from” a traumatic/stressful experience. It’s the ability to self-regulate, self-soothe, and get grounded when times are tough. How do you find your resilience? Resilience develops when we learn to effectively self-regulate. When we develop the ability to recognize the interconnectivity between our minds and our bodies, noticing their effect on one another, we give our nervous system a chance to reset itself. As we gain resources, our resilience increases, allowing us to “bounce back” more readily than when we are dysregulated. …

Forgiveness: The Path Back to Your Heart

Forgiveness: It’s something we seek and it’s something we can give others. In recovery, forgiveness is imperative for the healing process to really thrive. In the 12-step process, we do inventories to uncover and discover the grievances we may have with others, and more importantly, with ourselves.  But for many of us, this idea of forgiveness, compassion, and kindness are foreign to us. In fact, in some circles, being compassionate and forgiving someone’s foibles is considered a weakness.   First, we must start with forgiving ourselves. The truth is, this is easier said than done. We are stuck with internal …

Yoga Teacher Training: Transformation

It’s been an incredible 9 days of yoga teacher training. I have been cracked open and infused with so many tools, love, support, an incredible community, a mountain of information; it’s not even close to being over! I am just beginning what I believe to be a lifelong process of learning. Sure, when I complete these 200 hours, this particular training will be over, but to me, yoga is something that is always evolving. The body is changing: as we age, as we get injured, heal, go through life changes, it changes, and there is always something to learn.   …

Yoga: A Personal Journey of Investigation

Yoga and Buddhist meditation play an enormous part in my personal story. They are the practices that have allowed me find refuge in my body, courage in my heart, and the fearlessness to walk into the darkness that once plagued me and led me to self-harm, drink, fall apart, and detach. In truth, I find that learning to relate to ourselves better equips us in our ability to relate to others. Because isn’t the ultimate goal really to help others and to be of service?   Today, I begin the first module of my 200-hour yoga teacher training with Julian …

Deepening Our Recovery With Yoga and Meditation

recovery |riˈkəvərē| noun 1. a return to a normal state of health, mind, or strength; 2. the action or process of regaining possession or control of something stolen or lost.  When we begin the process of recovery from various addictions, some may be surprised to find there are a number of approaches to recovery. This is promising. It means recovery isn’t one-size-fits-all, and it means there is hope for those who may be having some difficulties finding their way. While some of us may solely lean on the 12 steps to create a foundation in recovery, others find they can …

Grateful to be Present

What is that higher ground anyway? Oh, my, it’s just about here, that busy, family filled, often harrowing holiday season. But rather than  harping on the negatives and the what-ifs, I think it’s more apropos to talk about gratitude. There is certainly a lot to be grateful for, wacky family dynamics aside. It’s time to take a good look of where we are and where we’ve been and start making those gratitude lists. Often times, changing the way we look at things allows us to manage difficulties with grace instead of bombastic derivations. Certainly, we all have family members that …

Mindfulness: Looking at Addiction In a New Way

The benefits of a mindfulness practice can be felt by anyone willing to be present and prepared to stop running from their feelings and fears. The practice of mindfulness allows us to come into direct contact with the here and now, bringing with it a sense of awareness and healing. In doing so, we are able to directly see how our addictions, actions, and behaviors are causing us suffering.  Similar to the 12-step model, mindfulness provides us with the opportunity to take contrary action. As a result, we begin to notice and work with our uncomfortable thoughts, feelings, body sensations, …

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