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A Shift in Perspective: Yoga at RECO

A miracle is simply a shift in perspective.

I lie on my yoga mat, inhaling; this simple statement sits in the air.

It is silent, now.

My leggings scratch against my sunburnt knees as my mind rushes with to-do lists: what’s next, what’s next, what’s next. Suddenly and inexplicably, I am reminded of the time that I wore two completely different shoes to my sophomore ethics class four years ago (because this postlude of meditation seems like the perfect occasion to internally rehash my most embarrassing woes).

I am not new to yoga, though yoga still feels new to me. I haven’t quite found a cure for the thoughts that flood my mind in its quietest moments, though I have savored the peace, through yoga, that I have discovered in trying.

I take a deep breath. The instructor, Melanie, breathes with us.

I pause and recall our first meeting a few weeks ago. Her story touched me, and I felt an immediate connection to her mission: to recognize and honor the light within all those who cross her path.

The stillness of the room settles in my stomach. And finally, I think.

What miracles have I been missing?

In my quest to get to know the RECO community, I decided to try my hand at some of the client services that we offer. Naturally, I gravitated toward yoga first. Today I have ditched my work clothes in favor of yoga pants and joined the class in their yoga practice. Despite my nearly-unsilenceable anxieties, I am at home in this space of calm.

But what does this space of calm have to teach? I learned long ago that it teaches only what you need it to.

I am not in recovery, though I have endured many painful situations that led me to pursue yoga as a method of healing. As a teenager, I suffered from intense bullying, and discovered yoga as a result.

While it has been nearly a decade since my toes first touched a mat, I am by no means an expert (and am basically as far from “expert” as you can be). For me, it has been more of an exercise in maintaining sanity; I sometimes need reminders to stop and breathe.

At RECO, all clients practice yoga at least once a week. Melanie is our full-time instructor, and brings with her a pure dedication to guiding clients in their individual yoga practices. No matter your skill level, Melanie aims to create a space in which you can let go of your fears, doubts, and misgivings—a space in which you can begin to heal.

In each class, Melanie teaches her clients gentle, restorative poses that can be used to regulate and soothe the connection between mind and body. Her goal is to let clients experience the therapeutic benefits of the practice, while also emphasizing the importance of self-care and reflection.

The ancient tradition of yoga emerged in the 11th century, and although the practice has evolved into countless disciplines, its main principles have remained. In the recovery setting, we use yoga as a tool to connect our mental awareness with our physical being. Through a combination of simple poses, breath work, and meditation, each aspect of our yoga practice can be related to our experiences in recovery.

On this Wednesday afternoon we have practiced bridge and cobra poses, seated twists, and the ever-famous upward dog. At one point we exhaled our irritations; at one point we exhaled our laughter. There was a certain fullness in the room; I recognized it as content.

A miracle is simply a shift in perspective, I think again.

It is a miracle, I think, to be here, experiencing this shift in my own perspective: a new job, a new home, a new world. Melanie’s class reminded me of that, and as I open my eyes to reconnect with reality, I am greeted by a group of people who are on similar journeys to mine.

Our journey is simply a shift in perspective, too: it is life.

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