Yoga’s Benefits in Addiction Recovery

yoga for addiction recovery

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Addiction can present through the need to fill a personal void as a coping mechanism to trauma and other mood disorders. When recovering from addiction, following an easy to maintain, sustainable aftercare program that is both enjoyable and provides tangible benefits is essential. We must learn to find ways to maintain a substance abuse free lifestyle. This includes understanding ways to handle the inevitable emotional triggers that can lead to relapse.

Some of these ways involve holistic and alternative treatment methods to help achieve and maintain recovery without turning back to drugs. This is not to imply traditional talk therapy and counseling methods are unnecessary; however, mainstream medicine and therapies now accept that previously marginalized forms of treatment such as yoga, meditation, and mindfulness techniques have a valid place in recovery.

Stretch it Out

Yoga offers a form of mental and physical exercise that emphasizes breathing and focus compared to most other popular activity forms. Even the breathing techniques used in Pilates exercises are influenced through traditional yoga channels. Increased levels of self-awareness and spirituality help foster a deeper connection to our feelings and emotional awareness.

Yoga’s accessibility makes this a relatively easy opt-in. No experience necessary, and regardless of physical condition, yoga is open to all. This is important because, depending on our time spent consuming substances, we may experience some physical challenges, at least until our body rebalances.

Because yoga accepts where you are right now on your journey to wellness, there isn’t the pressure typically associated with other forms of exercise. It doesn’t matter how flexible you happen to be. It is not a competition. Beginning where you are is all that matters.

Recovering the Body

Substance abuse may cause an individual not to be in the best physical shape. This is not a judgment; it is just often the reality. Some drugs can lead to weight gain, while others interfere with physical appearance and fitness levels, including muscle loss. Substance abuse affects our health in other ways, too, such as poor dietary habits. Over time this leads to low nutrition levels, which, when our body is fighting the effects of drug use, adds to the negative impact on our overall health.

Yoga offers a mild form of exercise that can strengthen and tone our body without us getting out of breath, in addition to mindfulness and breathing benefits. This may seem unimportant, especially given that yoga does not emphasize physical appearance. However, like most of us, when we begin a journey to wellness, be it a change in diet, exercise, or detoxing from substances, we want to see something for our effort. That’s human behavior. Common sense tells us that if we see some benefit for our effort, some reward in exchange for what we have done, we are more likely to be inspired and want to continue!

Recovering the Mind

The meditative aspect of yoga stabilizes mental health, creating an awareness in which we control our thoughts and decisions. This is important when we think about how often our thoughts race, creating additional anxiety and pressures. Sometimes, the only way to gain control over those thoughts has been through self-medicating with alcohol or other substances. Learning how to control those thoughts through breathing and slow concentrated movements that require us to be present at all times gives us a sense of control without leaning on substances for relief.

A New High

Nobody suggests we replace one high with another; however, most would agree that the endorphins produced by exercising make a good substitute for addiction. When we go through rehabilitation, we are encouraged to look for new habits to replace old coping methods and behavior patterns.

Yoga has been shown to release both dopamine and endorphins into the body by holding yoga poses. These endorphins and dopamine are known as feel-good chemicals. These same chemicals are released when drugs and alcohol are consumed and can provide a temporary feeling of euphoria and happiness. Yoga helps maintain these chemicals once they have been released so that we no longer need drugs as a means to relax, find joy, and escape from reality. The benefits of yoga go beyond the physical gifts we typically associate exercise with. Dopamine and endorphins also serve to benefit our mental health long after a session ends.

 

Yoga offers a form of mental and physical exercise emphasizing breathing over most other forms of popular activity. Yoga has been shown to release both dopamine and endorphins into the body by holding yoga poses. These are known as the feel-good chemicals our body seeks when engaging in substance abuse. Yoga’s benefit is that it helps maintain these chemicals once they have been released. The goal of yoga is to help eliminate the reliance on drugs to relax, find happiness, and escape reality. A leader in the field of transitional recovery services, Hired Power’s discretion and confidentiality assures anonymity through all stages of returning to wellness. Whether moving to your detox program safely and with discretion, to recovery and sober living partners that can help, Hired Power is there for you or your loved one, standing as that bridge between you and traditional recovery plans. You don’t have to struggle alone; our personal recovery assistants are here to help you walk through this process, believing in you, empowering you to change—step by step. Call Hired Power today at (714) 559-3919. We look forward to hearing from you.