How Yoga Aids Addiction Recovery

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How Yoga Helps You Recover from an Addiction

Have you considered making yoga one of your addiction recovery strategies? The mind-body practice can help you resist cravings and control stress, pain and other issues that may be contributing factors in your addiction.

8 Ways Yoga Can Aid in Your Recovery

Whether you've been addicted to drugs, alcohol or nicotine for a few months or several years, yoga can help you overcome your addiction. When used in addition to other addiction therapies, yoga can:

  • Help You Ignore Cravings. It's not easy to overcome your urges if you're used to reaching for your drug of choice when you're upset, stressed or in pain. Meditation, an important part of your yoga practice, will help you improve your self-control. During meditation sessions, you'll learn how to dismiss negative or unwelcome thoughts (like cravings) while you repeat a mantra or picture a calming image. When a craving strikes, meditating for a few minutes may help you resist temptation.
  • Ease Pain. Like many people with addiction issues, you may have turned to prescription or illegal opioid drugs to manage your pain. Unfortunately, it's much harder to resist using drugs or alcohol if your pain isn't under control. Yoga offers an effective way to reduce many types of pain. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health reports that yoga may relieve fibromyalgia symptoms and low back pain and neck pain, and could also be helpful for headaches and arthritis.
  • Reduce Stress and Anxiety. Drugs, alcohol or nicotine aren't the only options if you're feeling stressed, overwhelmed or anxious. Performing yoga poses and meditating lowers the production of adrenaline and cortisol, two types of hormones triggered by stress. At the same time, your endorphin and serotonin levels increase. These hormones relieve pain, help stabilize your moods and make you feel happy.
  • Boost Self-Confidence. Your self-confidence is bound to suffer if you've tried and failed to beat your addiction in the past. Yoga allows you to replace those negative thoughts with positive ones. As you master a new pose, you'll be amazed at what you can accomplish. You just may discover that your new-found confidence transfers to other areas of your life.
  • Improve Your Health. It's no secret that most people feel better when they're healthy. Since you've started using an addictive substance, you may become less interested in healthy eating or exercising or might be suffering from sleep issues. Yoga strengthens your mind and body, which may encourage you to embrace healthier habits.
  • Increase Circulation. Your blood contains oxygen and nutrients that the cells and tissues in your body need to stay healthy. Yoga enhances blood flow throughout your entire body, including the brain. When your brain receives more oxygen, depression, negative, thoughts and anxiety may begin to decrease.
  • Help You Achieve a Natural High. The high you feel soon after taking a hit of a cigarette or drug or drinking an alcoholic beverage is hard to beat. Fortunately, yoga offers a more healthy high. As the endorphins and serotonin surge through your body, you'll feel powerful, energetic and in control.
  • Encourage Self-Reflection. Yoga not only increases your flexibility but also improves your relationship with yourself. When you're in tune with your mind and body, it may be easier to acknowledge that situations and challenges that led to your addiction. Self-reflection is a powerful tool that can help you make important changes that will improve your life.

Ready to try yoga? Contact us and we'll help you decide which type of class is right for you.

Sources:

The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health: Yoga for Pain: What the Science Say, 9/2020

Yoga Journal: Yoga for Addiction Recovery, 10/11/2012

NCBI: Journal of Neurosciences in Rural Practice: Role of Yoga in Management of Substance-use Disorders: A Narrative Review, 1-3/2018

Social Work Today: Yoga for Addiction – Tapping the Body’s Wisdom, 5-6/2017