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Addiction Treatment: Everything You Need To Know About Yoga

Yoga is increasing in popularity in the addiction treatment world. You may be wondering what the correlation between the two is.  When we think about addiction recovery, yoga is certainly not the first treatment modality to come to mind. After all, practicing yoga alone cannot cure drug and alcohol addiction; however, when paired with other professional treatment practices, it can make the recovery process seamless.  Before we delve into the relationship between yoga and addiction recovery, however, it is worth covering yoga’s history. Continue reading to learn more about this relaxing and life-changing practice. 

What Exactly Is Yoga?

According to the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, Yoga can be defined as:  …a spiritual discipline based on an extremely subtle science, which focuses on bringing harmony between mind and body. It is an art and science of healthy living. The word ‘Yoga’ is derived from the Sanskrit root ‘Yuj’, meaning ‘to join’ or ‘to yoke’ or ‘to unite’. As per Yogic scriptures the practice of Yoga leads to the union of individual consciousness with that of the Universal Consciousness, indicating a perfect harmony between the mind and body, Man & Nature. As you can see, yoga transcends just doing stretches on a mat. The best part about this practice is that it is all-welcoming, and people from all shapes, sizes, and ranges of abilities can enjoy the benefits. Many people mistakenly believe that yoga is all about being as flexible as possible; however, yoga instruction can be tailored to those with no history of structured workouts and athletes who are extremely active. In short, there is something for everyone.  In recent years, individuals who are trying to become more mindful have begun to implement yoga into their daily routine to improve their mental health. 

The Many Benefits of Yoga

The American Osteopathic Association links practicing yoga with reduced stress. Unfortunately, stress can manifest itself in various ways, ranging from back pain, neck aches, trouble falling and staying asleep, inability to concentrate, and drug or alcohol abuse. Practicing yoga frequently can help address these issues, since it promotes healing the mind, body, and soul. Furthermore, yoga can help with the following:
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Decrease anxiety
  • Improve blood flow
  • Improve your lung’s functionality
  • Decrease the risk of heart disease
  • Aid with weight loss
  • Improve your memory
Although yoga is excellent, if you are a beginner, you likely will not be able to naturally get into the groove of it—and that is perfectly fine! Every seasoned yogi and instructor started somewhere. 

3 Things Every Yoga Beginner Needs to Know

  • Breathing Is Everything

Did you know that breathing is half of everyone’s yoga practice? You may be surprised to learn this, but yoga is all about finding a healthier, deeper harmony between your mind, body, and spirit; you cannot achieve this without focusing on your breath. If done properly, you are supposed to be breathing into your entire body as you do your poses while relaxing; yoga is not a competition, so there is no need to be stressed about it. 
  • Acknowledge Your Body’s Wisdom and Limitations

Never push yourself to practice poses that are pushing you to the limit or make you feel pain. Central to yoga is ahimsa, which is the practice of non-harm. Although we do not like to put limitations on ourselves, and we truly are capable of everything we put our minds to, sometimes, it is okay to not do something—especially if it is jeopardizing our physical health. Learn your body’s limitations and honor them. 
  • Never Compare Yourself with Anyone Else

It is bound to happen—you will be doing yoga poses and looking up and staring at your neighbors. Know that this is normal, especially among budding yogis; however, it is best to just pay attention to yourself and your instructor. There may be people around you who have been practicing yoga for years, decades, or have participated in other sports, such as gymnastics and cheerleading, that have taught them foundational moves that translate to the mat. We believe that the best part about yoga comes from the inside: the healing awareness you gain and the unity of your mind, body, and soul.  As you can see, yoga is all about focusing on your entire persona. It takes a holistic approach that encompasses various methods and tools to help you achieve a state of mindfulness. For these reasons and more, yoga serves as the perfect addiction treatment for individuals recovering from drug or alcohol addiction. 

The Role of Yoga in Addiction Treatment

Yoga is fashionable right now, and it can play a significant role in addiction treatment. When it is offered at drug and alcohol treatment centers, it is either an optional service that residents can participate in on their free time, or it is directly incorporated into the treatment curriculum. Addiction recovery is both a science and an art, and medication and therapy are effective treatment modalities.  However, beyond these two approaches, rehab centers can incorporate alternative treatment modalities, such as yoga. Complementary therapies are soothing, particularly for newcomers in rehab; at the same time, they cannot supplement traditional treatment approaches. We do not advise treating addiction exclusively through yoga or other complementary treatments, such as meditation, reiki, or acupuncture. Medication, different types of therapy, and support at a supervised treatment center will always be the best way to overcome an addiction.

Ardu Recovery Center Can Help

To fully recover from drug or alcohol addiction, it is simply not enough to practice alternative treatment modalities. It is also certainly not enough to try practicing addiction treatment at home, as this is a bandaid solution. If you or a loved one are struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, you can turn to Ardu Recovery Center. We will welcome you with open arms. Our treatment programs include talk therapy, exercise therapy, mindfulness-based treatment, including yoga, and more. Whatever your needs are, we will be sure to meet them.  Please do not hesitate to reach out to us with any questions you may have about our programs and how we can best serve you. We are located in scenic Provo, Utah.