An adult caucasian female in a yoga class doing the cobra yoga pose with her eyes closed. She is lying on her stomach on a yoga mat. She is surrounded by other yoga practitioners. The studio is illuminated by sunrays.
Published On: May 29, 2024|Categories: Treatment|

Addiction recovery includes numerous modalities to help men and women recover from habits of substance abuse and other mental health illnesses. From drug and alcohol detox to traditional talk therapy to holistic techniques, there is no one-size-fits-all solution to crafting a healthy lifestyle. 

One such holistic treatment that many find successful is yoga – based on its all-encompassing focus on body and mind, it proves to be an effective healing method for those needing to recover from the harm that substance abuse can incur on both. 

What is yoga?

Yoga is a body/mind practice that encompasses physical exercise, intentional breathing, and mental relaxation to help increase stamina, flexibility, strength, mental peace, and serenity. 

Yoga is a Sanskrit word translated as “yoke” or “union.” To yoke means to draw together, to bind together, or to unite. It aims to yoke or create a union of the body, mind, soul, and universal consciousness. This process of uniting the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of ourselves allows yogis to experience deep states of freedom, peace and self-realization.”

The inhalation and exhalation of the breath guide the poses and “flow” of a yoga session. As you inhale, you either flow into the next pose or hold the current pose, allowing heat to build and feeling the muscles shake as they are utilized. During an exhale, you either move deeper into the pose, feel the stretch, or release the current pose and relax.

The action of guiding your movements with the inhalation and exhalation of the breath provides an overall sense of calm and intentionality. You can focus solely on the task (breathing and flowing in and out of poses), providing a space to experience peace and relaxation. 

What are the benefits of yoga?

The benefits of yoga are far from few, and many who practice routinely see not only physical benefits but countless mental health benefits. 

If you make yoga a routine part of your schedule, you will likely notice: 

  • An increase in flexibility, strength and balance, as holding poses increases strength, and slow movements, deep inhales and heavy exhales increase blood flow
  • Eases arthritis symptoms by releasing the pressure around swollen and uncomfortable joints, thereby possibly reducing the need for long term prescription medications
  • Relieves low back pain and other chronic pain within the body as a result of poses that intentionally target areas of tension and tightness
  • Decreases stress and inflammation, which has numerous benefits, including a healthier heart, a more regulated sleep routine and a greater sense of calm and relaxation;
  • An increased level of energy as a result of decreased stress levels and a boost due to physical exercise and intentional movements of the body;
  • A better outlook on self-care, including motivating one to foster connection with those in their community, sticking to healthy habits like beneficial nutrition and intentional sleep, and maintaining a balanced exercise routine

In addition, yoga may help those in addiction recovery as it has proven to be an invaluable asset to mental health and overall wellness time and again. 

Is yoga helpful in addiction recovery?

Yoga has become a common element in programs for treating addiction and mental health disorders because of its benefits. Studies, too, have proven yoga’s effectiveness in helping treat substance use disorders and regulate overall mental stability. 

Yoga in the management of drug dependence has been an intriguing area of interest since the last decade. Yoga is being considered as a holistic intervention inducing dopamine homeostasis, leading to long-term benefits in the management of addictive behaviors termed as “Reward Deficiency Syndrome.”

There are many reasons why this is the case: 

  • Yoga classes build a sense of community as you get to know others in the room, reducing that sense of isolation commonly experienced during recovery and fostering a sense of closeness between a group with likeminded goals
  • It promotes exercise and physical health while also helping reduce stress via endorphin release, cortisol reduction and regulated breathing – this reduction of stress can help reduce the likelihood of relapse
  • Yoga encourages one to relax, slow the breath and focus on the present, shifting the balance from the sympathetic nervous system and the flight-or-fight response to the parasympathetic system and the relaxation response”

Lastly, yoga is a crucial element to addiction recovery because of its goals, which align beautifully with the goals of recovery: “One of the main goals of yoga is to achieve tranquility of the mind and create a sense of well-being, feelings of relaxation, improved self-confidence, improved efficiency, increased attentiveness, lowered irritability, and an optimistic outlook on life.”

Are you looking for more holistic approaches to mental health recovery?

If you are seeking a treatment program for substance abuse or want to get in touch with someone who can help you begin regulating your mind and providing you with healthy coping mechanisms, High Focus Centers is here to help. 

With locations in various parts of the eastern United States, including North Carolina, you can quickly begin your healing journey and find mental wellness through intentional, holistic practices. 

To get started today, contact High Focus Centers at 800-877-3628 to learn more. 

Man with psychologist theraphyHow Trauma-Informed Care Could Benefit Your Recovery
Road sign symbolizing decision between Myths and factsWhat’s the Difference Between Fear and Phobia?