Yoga is an ancient and complex practice rooted in Indian philosophy. It first began as a spiritual practice but has become more popular in modern times as a way to promote physical and mental well-being. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, studies have suggested that yoga has benefits for several aspects of wellness, including mental and emotional health, stress management, and the promotion of healthy eating and activity habits, sleep, and balance, all of which could aid in addiction recovery.
Yoga has also been commonly recognized as a complementary health practice that is considered a natural form of medicine. It is often beneficial when used in tandem with more traditional treatment modalities in substance abuse recovery. Because of this, yoga is becoming increasingly more present in addiction treatment programs and throughout recovery to help prevent relapse, reduce withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings, and provide a healthy outlet to cope with potential triggers and daily stressors.
Yoga as It Promotes Self-Awareness
When practicing yoga, individuals become more in tune with their bodies, learn to regulate their breathing, and become comfortable listening to their bodies. Therefore, yoga creates self-awareness of how certain things may make a person feel in a nonjudgemental and natural manner. This sense of self-awareness extends beyond the body and into the mind.
By focusing all energy inward, individuals can learn to take ownership of physical and emotional sensations and gain control of themselves and their potential actions. This self-awareness can help control the urge to use substances and can also empower the individual by proving to them that they have the ability to control these urges with the help of mindful practices such as yoga.
Yoga as Stress Relief
Addiction isn’t a problem with a simple solution. However, an increasing amount of evidence suggests that yoga can be an accessible and effective part of addiction recovery. Yoga is known to prompt relaxation and support a lifestyle of calmness, mindfulness, and self-compassion. All of these benefits can help relieve stress, which is one of the most common causes of substance use and relapse.
Oftentimes, people who struggle with addiction use substances as a means to escape negative thoughts, feelings, and sensations, like anxiousness or depression. Stress is also a common side effect of withdrawal, so yoga works as a way to alleviate the stress that comes with withdrawal. Practicing yoga facilitates this effect by increasing levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) in the brain, which acts as a natural tranquilizer that can calm individuals down when they’re feeling stressed.
Yoga as a Coping Mechanism
In addition to using yoga as stress relief, when yoga is incorporated into treatment, it can teach individuals healthy coping mechanisms to use during recovery and even after treatment. Furthermore, yoga can give people recovering from addiction the skills they need to learn to tolerate the uncomfortable feelings, cravings, and triggers that can potentially lead to relapse.
Yoga has been thought of as a path to release physical and emotional pain by introducing routine and breathwork to the mind and body. By learning to release these feelings in a healthy way, individuals are empowered to use this technique instead of resorting to substance abuse. By doing yoga on a consistent and continued basis, the result is a renewed mind, realization, and grounded emotions, all of which speak to the strength of yoga as a coping mechanism that can be used during detoxification, treatment, and life in recovery.
Yoga as a Confidence Boost
Yoga is also known to promote a heightened sense of self-confidence and improved self-image. Having self-confidence is trusting in your own abilities, qualities, and judgment, which is absolutely necessary throughout the recovery process. Recovering individuals need to be able to trust that they can overcome their addiction to actually do so. This self-trust is the foundation upon which obtaining sobriety is built.
Yoga helps individuals develop a positive understanding of their ability to do things, empowering them to have all the self-confidence they need to recognize their potential for success in recovery. In addition, yoga increases focus and clarity of mind, which can allow individuals to really focus on their recovery with minimal distraction.
Yoga as a Part of Recovery
As more and more addiction treatment programs are focusing on a ”whole person” or holistic approach, yoga is becoming a more commonly used method to help achieve, maintain, and enhance recovery. By incorporating yoga into addiction treatment programs, recovery centers can teach individuals a healthy coping strategy, help ease the detoxification process, and protect individuals against stress-induced relapse.
Yoga has many benefits that can aid in the addiction recovery process. If you or a loved one is looking for help, a holistic approach may be the right call, so you may wonder where to find a treatment center that incorporates yoga. Here at Bella Monte Recovery Center in Desert Hot Springs, California, a strong connection to self and others is emphasized and promoted through our holistic approach. We offer a variety of traditional and holistic modalities that focus on the mind, body, and spirit connection, one of which is yoga. At Bella Monte Recovery Center, we will assess, assist, and guide you or your loved one through the process to find your unique paths in treatment and recovery with the help of yoga and other physical and clinical activities. Don’t wait to get the help you deserve. To learn more, call (800) 974-1938 today.