MARTINEZ — Linda Burkard knows what it”s like to not feel good about yourself.
“I had body issues, mental issues that manifested as physical discomfort and ailments,” Burkard said.
Then there was a time when she lost a sense of herself.
“Depression hurts,” said the Martinez resident of the difficult time when addiction took a toll on her health — physically, mentally and emotionally. Burkard, who had long struggled with addiction, decided 17 years ago to do something about it.
“I finally had had enough of avoiding, distracting and anesthetizing my uncomfortable feelings,” she said. “The first steps to my recovery were the 12-step program with its community and sponsors.”
Despite being sober for many years, she still felt that something was lacking in her life.
“I was ready to enter a new stage in my recovery,” Burkard said. “I started educating myself about holistic approaches to overcome addiction and alcoholism and found them to be extremely beneficial. From detoxification to reducing stress and improving mental and physical well-being, holistic approaches play a vital role in regaining wellness.”
Then, she found yoga — and in the process of regular yoga practice and meditation, she found the parts of herself she had lost through the years. She”d also embraced Ayurveda, a sister science of yoga, based on the concept of balance in bodily systems using nutrition, herbal treatments, yoga poses and breathing exercises.
“Recovery is an ongoing, lifelong process,” Burkard said. “Once a person has stopped using a particular substance, the process of learning to live without that substance begins.”
Based on her own experience of recovery that includes years of extensive training and working in the fields of chemical dependency and mental health, Burkard will offer “Recovery, Mind, Body, Spirit, Senses” at the Indigo Yoga studio in Walnut Creek.
Yoga has not only been a complement to the 12-step program, but has been Burkard”s passion — she became a yoga teacher and yoga therapist, previously teaching at Kaiser. She hopes to continue sharing with others what”s helped with her recovery with an ongoing weekly program beginning in February.
Burkard emphasizes that the introduction session will show how yoga is more than just a physical practice; that yoga for recovery is more about creating balance in the mind, body, spirit and senses using nutrition, yogic breathing, gentle movement and meditation with participants sitting in chairs, she said.
In her workshop, she”ll address body issues, anxiety, breathing and will help participants tap into their senses as a way of getting them to discover what will help nourish the body, mind and spirit.
The road to recovery, she said, involves taking a long look at what can be done to nurture after decades of self-abuse.
Issues having to do with food and sleeping patterns will also be addressed.
In addition to recommending herbal remedies, Burkard will introduce how meditation, sound healing and karma yoga, the concept of giving back to those in need, aid in recovery.
“Recovery yoga gave me the ability, strength and direction to move forward in a positive direction at one of the lowest points in my life,” said a student of Burkard”s.
Another student said practicing yoga with his wife has been a huge benefit.
“Physically, mentally and spiritually, yoga is the single most important component of my recovery program,” he said.
And Burkard said, “We shouldn”t just survive addiction; we should thrive in recovery and live our lives to the fullest.”
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