Yoga, Thai Chi & Pilates

“[Yoga]…comes from the Sanskrit word yug, which is often translated “to unite, to join, or to connect”. All of these associations imply reintegration and balancing, or bringing the self to a harmonious state.”
Christina Brown - The Yoga Bible

Our trained Yoga instructors will guide you through gentle exercise to aid your recovery

What is Yoga?

One of the worst things that happens due to addiction is that you become disconnected from the world around you.

The purpose of Yoga Tai Chi Pilaties at Hope is to help you get back in touch with your body and mind, so you can experience this amazing gift of life that the universe has given you.

Yoga is a wonderful practice for people in recovery because it has physical, mental and spiritual benefits.

Yoga is made up of eight types of practices (aka the eight limbs of yoga) including..

Yoga has a proven effect on recovery and can ease your transition back into the real world
Thai Rehab Center has trained Yoga, Thai Chi and Pliates instructors to aid your recovery
  • Yama – ethical behaviour 
  • Asana – physical postures 
  • Niyama – spiritual practices such as letting go 
  • Pranayama – breathing techniques 
  • Pratyahara – withdrawing the senses
  • Dhyana  - developing a deeper awareness through meditation 
  • Dharana – one-pointed meditation 
  • Patanjali – transcendence of the self 

 

Benefits of Yoga for People in Recovery

“The purpose of yoga is to facilitate the profound inner relaxation that accompanies fearlessness. The release of fear is what finally precipitates the full flowering of love.”

A common reason for people to start abusing alcohol or drugs is that they just don’t feel comfortable in their own skin. It is this inability to just relax in the present moment that yoga has been designed to remedy. Yoga alone is probably not going to be enough to allow you to break free of addiction, but it certainly can help you break unhealthy patterns of behaviour.

Important benefits of yoga for people in recovery include

  • The physical postures can be a type of moving meditation
  • It increases mindfulness 
  • It boosts self-esteem 
  • It leads to improved physical fitness, flexibility, and strength 
  • Some types of yoga are aerobic – good for physical health 
  • It is an effective stress-buster 
  • Yoga in the evenings promotes sleep 
  • People who practise experience an increased sense of inner-peace 
  • Improved ability to deal with challenges in life
  • Yoga can be a spiritual path 
The beautiful location of Hope Rehab Thailand is the perfect place to learn mindfulness and break your negative thought patterns
Hope Rehab Center is the perfect place to work on your recovery and we will provide all the support you need to succeed

Yoga at Hope Rehab Center

Alon Kumsawad is our primary yoga teacher here at Hope Rehab.

It is understood that you might not be in great physical shape when you first come to us, so you start off with just some gentle stretches. 

The nice thing about yoga is that you always have control when it comes to pace and exertion – don’t worry, you won’t be expected to stand on your head. As you start to practice on a regular basis, you can expect to notice improvements to your physical health. You are also likely to walk away from these sessions feeling incredibly relaxed and energised. 

Yoga would be a good choice for an activity to continue once you return home. This is now one of the most popular types of exercise class in the world, and you should be able to find a local class even if you live in a small village. There are also many books and DVDs that can teach you some of the basic yoga positions, but it is much better to get instruction from a qualified teacher, as this way you can get feedback (doing a yoga posture the wrong way could lead to injury).

Tai Chi

Tai Chi Chuan (taijiquan) is one of the activities you are going to get to try during your time with us here at Hope Rehab Thailand. This practice can benefit you both physically and mentally - it can also be a type of spiritual path. 

One of the challenges you are going to face when you return home is finding new activities to add to your routine. You need something positive to fill the time that you would normally spend drinking or using drugs. Tai Chi is a hobby that could strengthen your sobriety, and we hope you consider continuing this practice after you leave us. 

What is Tai Chi?

If you conduct a survey of tai chi practitioners about what it is they are doing, you are likely to get a variety of answers. Some will say that they are practising a martial art, while others will claim it is a type of moving meditation. You may also hear descriptions for how it is a powerful exercise routine that improves health and increases longevity. So, which one of these definitions is correct? 

Answer – all of them.

“Taijiquan is a slow and relaxed moving meditation. Through practicing taijiquan, you are able to calm your mind, locate your spiritual center, and consequently find your whole being.” - Yang Jwing-Ming (Tai Chi Chuan Classical Yang Style)

Tai Chi Chuan can be translated into English as meaning ‘supreme ultimate fist’. This martial art originated in China, and it has been around for at least 700 years. For centuries, this fighting art was taught in secret and only practiced by the elite in society. In fact, the tai chi forms were created to disguise the lethal self-defense applications of these techniques. The idea behind tai chi is to use the aggression of opponents against them.

This philosophy can be summed up by a quote from Bruce Lee: “Notice that the stiffest tree is most easily cracked, while the bamboo or willow survives by bending with the wind.” It wasn’t until the 1960s that tai chi started to became popular outside of China (although it had been taught openly in the US since the 1930s). This surge in interest was triggered by magazine articles and documentaries showing elderly people performing graceful tai chi forms in city parks around the world. These stories promoted the idea that this practice could be the key to lifelong health. 

Letting go of old habits can be one of the keys to your recovery, Thai Chi is one of the tools that can help with this

Scientific studies

There have also been some scientific studies that do support at least some of the health-giving claims for tai chi. Some of the benefits supported by research would include: stress reduction,  improved balance, pain management (especially pain due to osteoarthritis, lower back pain, headaches, and arthritis), increased energy levels and mental alertness, upper and lower body flexibility.​

 

Some types of tai chi can be aerobic (it gets your heart pumping), so it can improve cardiovascular health. It can treat insomnia and help people sleep more deeply.

“In a nutshell, tai chi can keep you healthy and happy. It’s remarkably effective for relaxation, health, and fitness. Beside that, it’s fun.” - Dr Paul Lim

Tai Chi as a Mindfulness Practice

Tai chi is sometimes described as a type of moving meditation. One of the things that is going to help you to find happiness in recovery is for you to become less influenced by negative thought patterns and uncomfortable emotions. The way you develop this ability is by becoming more mindful. One effective way to develop mindfulness is to establish a daily sitting meditation practice, but it can be difficult for some of us to sit still for long periods. If you are dealing with post-acute withdrawal symptoms, you may have a ‘fuzzy brain’, and this can make it hard to focus.

 

The secret to sobriety is to find the right tools to help you cope with challenges, at Hope we understand this and can help you

Pilates

At hope rehab we believe that a healthy body and mind go hand in hand, we will provide you with all the tools you need to maintain these

The current popularity of Pilates is especially impressive when you consider that few people had even heard of it up to a decade ago. There are now believed to be about 11 million practitioners of this art in just the United States alone making it the most successful fitness class around. The reason for its rapid domination of the fitness industry is not just due to clever marketing – it attracted devotees because it is so effective at promoting lifelong health.

Tai chi is another way to develop mindfulness, and it can be effective even for people who struggle with sitting meditation.

Tai Chi in Recovery

The secret to successful sobriety is for you to pick up a number of effective tools to help you cope with challenges and develop your potential. Tai chi would be one tool that could improve your life going forward. Practising the tai chi form outside first thing in the morning can be wonderfully relaxing, and it is the perfect way to start your day. 

Pilates is good for addicts

We have found Pilates to be an excellent activity for people in recovery, and this is why we offer it at here at Hope Rehab Center. “Self-care means exercising control over your body, and to have that, you need awareness – that is, you must listen to your body and listen to what it is telling you. "The more you practice this art, the better you become at deciphering its messages.” - Brooke Siler (The Women's Health Big Book of Pilates)

Pilates Explained 

The name ‘Pilates’ may sound a bit exotic, but it is actually the surname of the person who invented this fitness regime.

Joseph Pilates developed these exercises in the early part of the twentieth century. To do this, he studied health promotion activities from both the west and the east. His initial motivation was to improve his own health but then he started teaching it to other people. Joseph wrote a couple of books about his art, but it never really took off during his lifetime. 

There is a tendency to view Pilates as an exercise regime for women, but this misconception is just due to how it has been marketed in recent years. The fact that women and their networks have dominated the world of Pilates in recent years has bred the misconception that Pilates is a female-only activity. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Joseph Pilates developed his exercise programme first and foremost for men.

Benefit of Pilates for People in Recovery

  • It can be a path to lifelong fitness – it can be practised by people of practically any age
  • The health improvements from Pilates can be enjoyed with just two classes per week
  • It is good for the mind as well as the body
  • You don’t need to be in good shape to start Pilates – most of the exercises are gentle to begin with
  • Pilates is excellent for developing core strength
  • It is a whole body workout
  • It can be effective as a weight-management activity
  • It teaches you to move correctly
  • It can be a type of mindfulness practice
  • It can reduce the likelihood of you picking up injuries from other sports 
  • It can make it easier to sleep at night  

Daniel Lyon (The Complete Book of Pilates for Men)

Difference between Pilates and Yoga

If you observe a Pilates class for the first time, you would be forgiving for thinking that it was just a type of yoga. These two activities do share many similarities, and yoga was one of the paths that Joseph Pilates explored when developing his own system. The main difference between the two is that Pilates is less of a spiritual pursuit and instead more focused on improving health. Pilates is also said to be the more effective of the two when it comes to developing core strength and improving posture. 

Do I need to be in good physical shape to practise Pilates?

No – these exercises are gentle enough that you can start from basically any level of fitness

Hope rehab offers a comprehensive Yoga, Thai Chi and Pilates regiment designed to improve your physical and mental wellbeing

What should I wear to a Pilates class?

There is no particular uniform that you need to put on when practising Pilates. The important thing is that whatever you wear is comfortable and loose – you certainly don’t want to be wearing tight jeans.

Is Pilates safe?

So long as you follow the instructions of a competent instructor, you shouldn’t experience any negative effects due to Pilates. It is a gentle, low-impact type of exercise.