How Yoga Can Help With Addiction Recovery

How Yoga Can Help with Addiction Recovery

Did you know that, in addition to evidence-based modalities and treatments, there are several holistic practices that can aid your recovery journey? A holistic approach to recovery treats the whole person, including the mind, body, and soul. Yoga can help with this whole-person approach to addiction treatment. Stretching, engaging your muscles, and focusing on breathwork can improve emotional, physical, and mental well-being. 

Other components of yoga can help your recovery journey as well. For example, Mindfulness and meditation are components of yoga that help ground you and allow you to stay in the present moment. 

If you are searching for a way to find balance in your addiction recovery, it may be time to consider implementing yoga into your daily routine.

What Is Yoga?

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH) defines yoga as an “ancient and complex practice, rooted in Indian philosophy.” Yoga originated as a “spiritual practice” but is frequently used nowadays to promote “physical and mental well-being.” In the United States, yoga is typically practiced with three focuses: postures, breathing techniques, and meditation (asanas, pranayama, and dyana, respectively). The NCCIH describes yoga as “meditative movement practices” because, like Chinese practices such as tai chi and qi gong, yoga combines meditation and movement into one technique. 

Yoga, Meditation, and Mindfulness

Meditation and mindfulness are essential components of yoga. Mindfulness focuses on awareness and being present in the moment. Meditations help you practice mindfulness. Types of mindful meditation practices you can try include: 

  1. Walking and observing everything in that moment
  2. Eating and drinking slowly
  3. Sitting comfortably and paying attention to the sounds, smells, and sensations you experience
  4. Paying attention to your feet when standing and focusing that attention in a way that helps you feel fully grounded
  5. Body scanning: the practice of laying in a comfortable, flat position and drawing awareness to every part of your body, from your head to your toe

These are just a few mindfulness techniques you can implement as you experiment with yoga practices. Doing so will help you: 

  • Improve mental stability 
  • Relieve stress  
  • Reduce depression and anxiety 
  • Make decisions 
  • Improve your overall sense of well-being 

Yoga Can Help Your Mental and Physical Health

Many are skeptical about the benefits yoga has on mental and physical well-being. In their defense, it does seem crazy that moving your body can impact so many areas of your life in a positive way. Skepticism is natural; however, consider research if you struggle to believe yoga can help. 

According to the NCCIH, yoga can potentially: 

  1. Help relieve stress, support healthy habits, reduce mental and emotional distress, and improve sleep, balance, and overall wellness 
  2. Reduce pain in the back and neck and may even release tension headaches and osteoarthritis in the knee
  3. Promote weight loss
  4. Help individuals quit smoking 
  5. Manage symptoms of mental illness, including anxiety, depression, or other conditions

Yoga also has the potential to help individuals manage chronic conditions such as fibromyalgia and arthritis. It can also: 

  • Improve sleep and reduce fatigue in cancer patients 
  • Help with cardiovascular diseases by reducing stress 
  • Lead to quality of life improvements among people with asthma  

Additionally, yoga can improve your posture, flexibility, and strength. If your struggle with substance use stems from pain management, strengthening your body can help reduce the need for pain management medications. 

How Yoga Can Help Your Recovery

Though some studies have trouble definitively claiming the specific benefits of yoga, individuals swear by it when it comes to improving their mental health. Yoga is like anything else – it works well for some and may not have an effect on others. The same can be said for other holistic, alternative, or evidence-based modalities. Men respond to treatments in different ways. Specialized care programs take that into account. When one practice or modality seems ineffective, adjustments can be made, and other modalities can be utilized. 

The mind and body are connected, and when one is unbalanced, so is the other. A holistic approach like yoga can support your recovery journey because it helps your mind and body find balance again. Things can feel somewhat unbalanced if you are new to treatment and recovery. Yoga begins by restoring that balance and then creates a strong foundation for the rest of your recovery. 

Your stay at Healing Pines Recovery is the perfect time to experiment with yoga. It may not be anything you would have considered in the past, but that does not mean it can not have significant benefits. Finding balance and harmony is vital to achieving and maintaining recovery.

If you are curious about the therapeutic benefits of yoga and its ability to improve your quality of life, do more research. Ask your therapist, peers, and other trusted confidantes what they think about yoga. The only way to know if it helps is if you try. 

Evidence-based modalities, like behavioral therapies and medication-assisted treatment (MAT), are vital to addiction treatment. However, other practices are necessary to treat people as a “whole person.” Healing Pines Recovery offers specialized care that focuses on treating men holistically, treating the mind, body, and soul. We provide holistic therapies like mindfulness, meditation, and yoga, the latter of which can help your recovery by reducing stress, pain, and cravings; strengthening your body; and improving your overall mental well-being. It may not be for everyone, but treatment is the perfect time to try yoga and see if the practice can help you. For more information or to seek treatment, call (720) 575-2621 today. 

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