Neuroplasticity: How Addiction Affects the Brain (and Why There’s Hope for Healing)

The brain is complex and extraordinary. It regulates every part of the body. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, there are many parts to the brain. All parts work together to make the rest of the body function. The brain naturally produces “feel good” chemicals such as endorphins, oxytocin, dopamine and serotonin. These are the chemicals that make us feel happy, excited, and energized.   When dopamine is released, our brains are anticipating a happy situation. Oxytocin is released we feel the closeness and bond from another person….

The Eighth Limb of Yoga: Samadhi

Our on-going blog posts about the Eight Limbs of Yoga leads us to the final Limb, Samadhi. Samadhi is defined as a union with the Divine. This uniting can happen before or after our death. Those who meditate may speak of Samadhi, as they hope to attain this state through their meditation practice. It’s also believed that when great Sages pass away, they achieve Samadhi through their passing. The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali devote a chapter to the concept of Samadhi. Patanjali addresses different types of Samadhi in The Yoga Sutras: Samadhi “with a seed”, which is…

You Can Avoid Relapse: Here’s How

“Every time you are tempted to react in the same old way, ask if you want to be a prisoner of the past or a pioneer of the future.” – Deepak Chopra Relapse, and the fear of relapse, is one of the most challenging parts of  recovery to face. Whether you’ve stopped drug or alcohol abuse, smoking, disordered eating, or another addictive behaviour, the anxiety around starting up again can be difficult to face. The stress around wanting to stay clean can sometimes become so intense, it drives you back to your…

Dhyana: The Seventh Limb of Yoga

By Nirmala Raniga The Eight Limbs of Yoga are spiritual practices for well being, which help us live more peaceful and fulfilling lives. Each limb of Yoga explains how Yoga isn’t just a physical practice, but a way of life that helps us connect to our environment,our higher selves and those around us. Our ongoing discussion of the Eight Limbs of Yoga brings us to Dhyana, the Seventh Limb, which is often translated as “worship”. Practicing Dhyana involves concentrating on a point of focus, with the intention of gaining truthfulness about it. For example, we…

The Sixth Limb of Yoga: Dharana

Our last few blog posts have been about the Eight Limbs of Yoga, which are spiritual practices for well-being that help us live more fulfilled lives. The Eight Limbs of Yoga explain how yoga is much more than just a physical practice, but a lifestyle that also enhances mental wellbeing. Dharana is the sixth limb of Yoga, which often gets confused with meditation. But Dharana explains the concentration and preparation it takes to enter into a meditative state. Dharana is translated from Sanskrit to “holding steady”, which means to go…

Meditation: The Simple Tool That Can Reduce Depression and Anxiety in Recovery

If you struggle with addiction, you may also experience episodes of depression and anxiety in your recovery. These emotions are a natural part of recovery as you withdraw from substance use and adjust to a new lifestyle and/or environment, which can be challenging. When you feel depressed, it means you have an attachment to stories or experiences from your past, perhaps when you were active in addiction. This attachment can bring up negative feelings such as guilt or shame. On the other hand, anxiety suggests you’re living in the future,…

The Fifth Limb of Yoga: Pratyahara

By Nirmala Raniga Over the past few weeks, we’ve been exploring the Eight Limbs of Yoga: what they are, how they can help us live more fulfilling lives, and even how they can help those who are recovering from addiction. If you haven’t heard of the Eight Limbs of Yoga before, they are basic practices for well-being that explain how yoga is not just a physical practice, but a way of life that enhances the body, mind and spirit. Dating back nearly 5,000 years ago, Yoga was originated from the ancient Hindu wisdom known…

A Father’s Love: The Foundation of Life

by Nirmala Raniga “It is a wise father that knows his own child” – William Shakespeare As we celebrate Father’s Day to honor the fathers in our lives, it is also a good time to recognize those individuals who hold a fatherly role in our lives as well as our own inner father. The responsibilities of fatherhood vary by culture, but from a human evolutionary standpoint, fathers take on the role of supporting life as protectors and providers of many of the foundational needs of life. Furthermore, fathers often also…

The Fourth Limb of Yoga: Pranayama

By Nirmala Raniga, Chopra Addiction and Wellness Center Founder The Eight Limbs of Yoga are basic practices for wellbeing that help us live fuller and healthier lives. Pranayama is the fourth of the eight limbs of yoga, which is used as a tool to help connect us to ourselves, others and our environment using our breath— or life force. Prana is a Sanskrit word that describes the energy flowing through every living thing, and throughout the universe. In the human body, this energy is expressed through the breath. To feel alive, vibrant and a…

The Third Limb of Yoga: Asanas

By Nirmala Raniga “You don’t want to stand rigid like a tall oak that cracks and collapses in the storm. Instead, you want to be flexible, like a reed that bends with the storm and survives.” — Dr. Deepak Chopra When most people think of yoga, asanas or yoga poses come to mind. But, as we’re learning through our exploration of the Eight Limbs of Yoga, which are basic practices for wellbeing that help us live fuller, healthier lives. In understanding the Eight Limbs of Yoga, we can appreciate that…