Yoga not your thing? Three tips for cultivating an open mind

“Yoga made me feel better than I thought it would.” - Male, 22, New Hampshire, 1+ years in opioid treatment

“Was hesitant at first, but I liked it and how it helped me forget how crappy I feel.” - Male, 24, New Hampshire, 1+ yrs. in treatment

“I felt lousy today upon arrival. Yoga really helped me to get grounded today.” - Male, New Hampshire

“It helps. Just be open to new things.” - Male, 29, 7+ months in opioid treatment

Based on our feedback, we’ve found that many people recovering from opioid use are reluctant to try yoga, meditation, and deep breathing programs offered at their clinics.

 This is completely normal! Trying anything for the first time can be intimidating, especially if you’re meeting new people or not feeling prepared.

 Fortunately, our data shows that over 90% of participants feel better after yoga, even if they are having a bad day or feeling sick or tired at the beginning of the class.

 So, if you think yoga isn’t your thing, what can you do to give it a try? Here are three tips to help you cultivate an open mind and have a good experience.

 1. Think about how you want to feel afterwards: Research indicates that setting an intention and putting your mind to feeling good actually helps you feel that way and makes it easier to manage how you feel.

2. Have fun and don’t take it too seriously: The Flyway teaching approach uses cards to outline exactly what poses and activities the teacher will lead. This means no surprises, and we even have a “pass” card that lets you skip certain activities if you don’t feel comfortable. This is designed to help participants be more relaxed and participate in whatever they want.  

3. Set a micro-goal: specific, measurable, actionable, and near-term goals are easy to achieve than general goals far out in the future. Applying this concept to yoga, set a specific, small goal like trying just the breathing exercises.

4. Have a growth mindset: Thinking about the class as a way to learn more about yourself will help you understand your likes, dislikes, and what your body need. Even if you don’t like every part of the class, you’ll finish knowing yourself better and be better equipped to take care of yourself. 

 If you’re like any of the more than 350 patients we’ve worked with, you’ll likely have a good experience and feel better afterwards.

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Elizabeth Nesbitt