The Benefits of Yoga in Addiction Recovery

Many people may associate recovery from addiction with traditional forms of treatment, such as individual therapy, group therapy, and medication-assisted therapy. However, in recent years, experiential therapies have taken the addiction recovery world by storm and offered an alternative way for clients to heal in conjunction with the traditional treatment models. One such form of experiential therapy is yoga, which can be used in various ways for addiction treatment. While many are skeptical at first, yoga can hold numerous benefits for those healing from the darkness of addiction. 

What is Yoga?

When you think of yoga, you might think it is merely a person lying on a mat and stretching. However, yoga is so much more complicated than this. According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, yoga is “a system of physical postures, breathing techniques, and sometimes meditation derived from Yoga but often practiced independently especially in Western cultures to promote physical and emotional well-being.” Yoga can be used to gain self-awareness through its various postures, breathing techniques, and meditation. It also has multiple other benefits, such as:

  • Increased strength
  • Pain relief
  • Weight loss
  • Decreased fatigue
  • Better cardiovascular health
  • Heightened self-awareness
  • Boosted mood
  • Better posture
  • Stress relief
  • Sounder sleep
  • Increased impulse control
  • Emotional healing
  • Healthier exercise/eating habits
  • Increased stamina
  • More energy
  • Improved self-confidence and image

How Does Yoga Help in Addiction Recovery?

While anyone can participate in yoga and reap its benefits, it is beneficial for those recovering from addiction. Yoga is a great stress reliever, which is a common relapse trigger for many in recovery. If someone is feeling stressed or triggered in their healing, they can partake in yoga to help themselves calm down and come to a place of self-awareness to avoid relapsing and cravings. It can also significantly help during the withdrawal process, reducing the intensity of some withdrawal symptoms.

Mind and Body

A significant part of recovery is learning to control specific stressors, triggers, and urges that may lead you to relapse. Overcoming this can be difficult, but activities such as yoga can help one gain more control over the mind and body when used in conjunction with other traditional treatment modalities. Yoga is based on the Hindu belief that states the mind and body are connected. 

Yoga helps you become more in tune with your body, creating more self-awareness, breathing regulation, and helps individuals learn to listen to their bodies. For example, when a person is experiencing cravings during recovery, it is not optimal to give into them or avoid them. Instead, it is best to acknowledge the cravings and listen to your body to understand why you feel them. Yoga can help with this because it enables you to slow down and become more self-aware. Over time, you will be able to listen to your body naturally, but yoga will still be there as an outlet for stress and other distressing feelings in your recovery.

How You’ll Feel After Yoga

Many people currently in treatment for addiction often find yoga helpful for dealing with the daily stressors that may come up. Going through the recovery process can be demanding as you have to come face to face with traumas and other past experiences that may have played a role in developing your addiction. Yoga serves as an escape from this, often leaving people feeling more balanced, grounded, and hopeful. It also enables people to calm down to the point that they have hope for their future in sobriety. 

One of the primary reasons people feel happier after yoga is because endorphins are released during the process. As you are deep breathing, endorphins are released, creating what is known as a “natural high” in your brain. These “feel-good hormones” will inspire you to continue your recovery and push you to make further connections within yourself and others.

Yoga in Treatment Facilities

Yoga can be practiced almost anywhere, with little to no equipment. As long as you have an instructor, in person or digital, and a space to practice your poses and meditation, you are good to go. Luckily, multiple treatment centers across the United States offer yoga as a part of their programs. You can find these by going to any facility’s website and looking under treatment modalities. If you do not see it listed, consider calling ahead and asking if it is offered. The benefits of yoga for addiction recovery should not be overlooked, and it is worth considering on your path to recovery.

Addiction can be treated in various ways, often combining traditional and experiential therapies for those that are healing. One such experiential therapy commonly used in addiction treatment is yoga. Yoga is excellent for reducing stress and helping individuals become more self-aware, allowing them to listen to their bodies. This helps with addiction as people can better control their cravings, triggers, and urges that may otherwise lead them to relapse. Because of yoga’s proven benefits in addiction recovery, many facilities have implemented it in their treatment programs. One such facility is Northstar Transitions in Colorado. Northstar wants to make recovery possible by offering you the best treatments that will set you up for long-term sobriety. Through combining traditional and experiential treatments, they have succeeded in taking the client out of their element, resulting in authentic healing interactions. If someone you know is struggling and traditional therapies have not worked for them, consider contacting Northstar to get set up on the road to recovery. Call Northstar Transitions today at (303) 558-6400 to start your journey to healing.

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