Yoga, Recovery and Personal Growth

Photo provided by Anna Ferguson at World Peace Yoga

Photo provided by Anna Ferguson at World Peace Yoga

Yoga is universal — anyone can do it, and you can practice almost anywhere. We interviewed Anna Ferguson, instructor at Cincinnati’s World Peace Yoga to talk about how yoga can help with recovery and personal growth. She gives us the scoop on her practice and offers a few tips on meditation and morning routines.

Q: How would you define yoga?

A: A yoga practice encompasses many things such as being mindful of our everyday interactions with others, making healthy food choices, redefining how we manage stress and tension, and increasing our awareness through meditation.

Q: What does yoga say about recovery, strength, and personal growth?

A: Yoga is this process of letting go until all that is left is your most authentic way of being. It’s not possible to let go of who you truly are. You only let go of who you are not. We are not our stress, angst, fear, and so on. The more we let go and the more we remember, the more personal and spiritual growth we have.

I’ve seen yoga bring things to the surface for people. They come face-to-face with their self. This gives them the opportunity to truly let go of things that do not serve them. I believe strongly in the power of community support, and I believe that through the practice of yoga and being there for each other, the potential for recovery is there.

Q: What are some poses that someone can do at any point in the day or in any situation?

A: Here are some simple things I do every day as part of my yoga practice:

  • Before getting out of bed each morning, I sit up and for one minute sit in silence. This is the start of a meditation practice. There is no right or wrong way to meditate. Any way you’re able, just start.

  • 5-10 minutes of seated meditation

  • 5-10 minutes of lying my back and resting my legs against a wall

  • Remember to take a deep breath or sigh. Get into the habit. When stress arises, that tool comes naturally.

It’s also important to not get upset or frustrated that you’re not doing more. Keep practicing the small things and then you’ll do more. More time for self-care leads to having the energy to do more for others.

Q: Can anyone practice yoga?

A: Yoga is not a religion. Yoga is not a form of Hinduism. Yoga is its own spiritual practice. Yoga is for people who breathe — anyone and anybody can practice.