Yoga has become increasingly popular in the past years.
With various types and methods that have grown in recognition, these practices have become renowned for their restorative and healing properties. The many physical and mental health benefits associated with yoga are undeniable, especially considering the countless cultures and people that have experienced these improvements firsthand. This is also why Banyan’s Pompano Beach Treatment Center uses yoga for addiction recovery, and we hope that our patients can both enjoy the experience and discover the many benefits of yoga in their own sobriety journey.
Benefits of Yoga for Recovery
Yoga and meditation focus on connecting the mind, body, and soul. Because people with addiction tend to have many physical and mental health issues from their dependence, yoga can be useful in many ways, including stress relief, improved overall mental health, increased self-awareness, and improved physical health in various aspects.
Unfortunately, addiction recovery can be stressful for patients as they attempt to improve their approach to life while battling against drug cravings and withdrawal symptoms. A study of women who participated in 3 months of yoga classes had significantly decreased cortisol levels, the primary stress hormone, compared to the control group.
For those struggling with feelings of anxiety, Hatha yoga is shown to be a promising method for treating it. By placing emphasis on looking inward, with Hatha yoga, we are able to feel more in control of the feelings and thought patterns that try to convince us otherwise. This sense of stability is something that many people with addiction struggle to identify with, which means that consistent practice is important to help maintain the benefits of this practice.
Improved Overall Mental Health
Many addiction patients struggle with mental health disorders in addition to their substance abuse problems. Our Pompano Beach drug rehab programs are designed to help addicts attack both of these problems, and yoga is typically part of their treatment plan. Numerous research studies have shown the beneficial effects of yoga for reducing anxiety and depression, but often only to the same extent as setting time aside for relaxation; however, overall mental health improved more with yoga than just relaxation, and the results also lasted longer.
Therefore, practicing yoga as a part of one’s daily routine can give people in recovery an additional tool that they can utilize to maintain sobriety and mental well-being. It can give them something to look forward to while taking comfort in the fact that this activity has a genuinely positive effect on them simply by partaking in it.
All too often, people with addiction lose parts of their identity to their disease and let it control them, almost like they are a puppet on a string. Because they are so consumed with getting their next high, they sometimes lack the proper self-awareness to see how their actions are affecting others as well as themselves. Yoga allows people to focus their attention inward and promotes mindfulness. They are able to examine themselves more clearly, making it that much easier to begin identifying the scope of how much damage their habits have caused.
If we can’t acknowledge that a problem is present, it becomes nearly impossible to overcome it. It can be understandably overwhelming to come to terms with one’s situation, especially when substance abuse is involved. By employing the grounding and relaxing effects of recovery yoga, participants are gifted with an additional coping mechanism that can be extremely useful when negative emotions can feel too intense. Even practicing steady breathing can aid a person in regulating whatever it is they are experiencing and addressing the situation at hand with a clearer mind.
Improved Physical Health
Yoga also has great physical health benefits. For addicted individuals who have been pumping their bodies with heavy toxins, getting their physical health back in check is important. Yoga has been proven to help coordination, muscle strength, cardiovascular endurance, lung function, and lower blood pressure.4 It is also believed to increase overall energy levels, promote more positive eating habits, and even improve a person’s sleep cycle. This is crucial because when people feel better physically, they are far more successful in managing unexpected stressors throughout their day. For a patient that is undergoing consistent addiction recovery therapies, such as our cognitive behavioral option, this can be especially useful when confronting the often difficult and traumatic experiences that have led to a substance use disorder in the first place.
Yoga for Beginners in Recovery
Now that you understand the benefits of yoga, it’s time to get started with this therapeutic and beneficial exercise. Here are some tips on yoga for beginners, with a focus on yoga for sobriety:
- Start simple. Begin with positions such as Child’s Pose and Upward Hand Pose. These are simpler poses that are easy to achieve and bring calming benefits.
- Enroll in a local yoga class for beginners so you will be with others within your skillset.
- Start small. Practice yoga for half an hour when beginning and gradually increase the time spent.
- Consider meditation as well. This can improve the effects of yoga for sobriety.
Ultimately, the many tools for yoga can be useful for maintaining sobriety as well. We understand that addiction is not the same for everyone and that healing will look different to each person that experiences it. By using yoga for addiction recovery, patients are given the best possible chance of having long-term sobriety success.
If you’re new to addiction recovery, yoga can not only help with healing but can also fill the gaps in your day that may otherwise lead to boredom or loneliness. Yoga is also a practice that can be done in a group setting, which gives you the opportunity to make new friends. If you’ve been sober for a few years, yoga is just another helpful tool you can incorporate into your routine to keep you on the right track.
If you are looking for a comprehensive approach to addiction recovery, our Pompano rehabilitation center is here to help. With a variety of treatment programs and unique therapies, we provide our patients with all of the tools they need to make a full recovery.
Get started on your path to sobriety today by contacting Banyan Heartland at 888-280-4763.
- NCBI – Rapid stress reduction and anxiolysis among distressed women as a consequence of a three-month intensive yoga program.
- NCBI - Effect of Hatha Yoga on Anxiety: A Meta-Analysis
- NCBI – A randomised comparative trial of yoga and relaxation to reduce stress and anxiety.
- NCBI – Effects of Yoga on Mental and Physical Health: A Short Summary of Reviews