Yoga teaches people to let their mind and body work together in positive ways, helping them to release anxious thoughts and stress. As addiction treatment centers begin making use of more holistic approaches to recovery, programs such as yoga are becoming recognized as effective ways to supplement the recovery process.
How Yoga Helps Recovery
In addition to uniting the mind and body, yoga helps with addiction recovery in a number of other ways — primarily, in improving mental and physical health.
A few benefits include:
- Stress relief
- Sharpened concentration
- Mood improvement
- Improved heart and circulatory health
- Increased energy
- Improved metabolism
Yoga helps people manage negative or anxious thoughts, making it a perfect aid for overcoming addiction.
Kinds of Yoga
There are many different types or styles of yoga, from very vigorous to slow and relaxing, which means you can choose the style that works best for you. Yoga can also be done in the comfort of your own home, using online video tutorials or with others in a group setting, like in a gym or yoga studio.
Some popular types of yoga include:
- Hatha yoga
- Vinyasa yoga
- Ashtanga yoga
- Hot yoga
Yoga promotes mindfulness, which helps people deal with uncomfortable feelings (such as cravings) and manage difficult emotions that can arise. Trials have shown that mindfulness helps prevent relapse, and people in recovery have an easier time avoiding substance use when given these mental tools.
Many recovery centers are now offering yoga therapy to help those in recovery develop relaxation and stress-reduction techniques. The group setting also benefits participants, allowing them to form connections with others in the program and encourage one another.
Using Yoga as Addiction Therapy
Yoga therapy is most effective when used with other addiction treatment methods. While yoga can be helpful in creating mindfulness and stress-reduction skills, it’s also important for people in recovery to address other issues that can lead to a relapse.
To increase the possibility of recovery, people need to address past conflicts, rebuild relationships and develop tools for managing triggers. A holistic recovery plan that uses these techniques in conjunction with yoga can help people recover physically, mentally and emotionally and prevent relapse.