When you think of yoga, does yoga therapy for addiction come to mind? Most people think of a difficult practice of touching your toes and twisting yourself into challenging shapes. It might not seem like a great fit for someone who just stopped drinking or using drugs.
But you would be surprised.
Yoga therapy for addiction is an incredible practice, whether someone is newly sober or has been clean for years. It’s a beneficial practice for anybody to take up but there are a few reasons yoga is an excellent option for people in recovery.
Many addiction treatment facilities incorporate yoga therapy into their treatment programs. Why is yoga such a positive practice when you’re trying to get sober? There is a lasting impact when you build a yoga practice during the first few weeks of recovery.
Yoga Therapy for Addiction Treatment
People who struggle with substance or alcohol use disorder often use or drink as a way to escape. Drugs and alcohol relieve their worries and give them a way to escape their usual mental state.
Addicts and alcoholics spend years numbing themselves with substances. Once they get sober, they’re overwhelmed by the sudden ability to feel things. They can’t turn to the coping mechanism they used for so long. Now they need something new to replace it.
This is where yoga therapy for addiction treatment comes into play.
How Can Yoga Help People in Recovery?
Developing a yoga practice gives addicts and alcoholics a new, healthier alternative to their old way of life. They no longer have the ability to cope with drugs and alcohol but they can use the yoga mat as a coping mechanism instead. Where substances used to provide an escape, or rather a mind-numbing relief, yoga steps in to take their place.
Meditation is a common suggestion when learning to cultivate mindfulness. It’s difficult to sink straight into sitting still for minutes of meditation. The misunderstandings of mindfulness and meditation make people want to quit before they even begin.
It’s difficult for many addicts and alcoholics to sit still for periods of time without their minds wandering. If this is the case for you, yoga provides a gentle introduction to the practice of cultivating mindfulness.
Mindfulness is all about living in the present moment exactly the way it is. Yoga requires you to live in the moment as you move through the session’s poses. It gently guides you into practicing mindfulness without even realizing that you are.
Connection With Self
Using drugs and alcohol for months or years separates you from yourself physically, psychologically, and spiritually. It often feels like there is a disconnect between your mind and your body that drugs and alcohol both made worse and helped you avoid.
Yoga offers the opposite effect. It is a practice centered around cultivating a quiet, calm, peaceful connection with your body. You receive the opportunity to integrate your mind, body, and spirit to restore or develop a sense of inner peace.
Additionally, there are numerous health benefits to yoga that help during early recovery. Withdrawal symptoms are a painful part of the detox process. Starting a yoga practice early on can offer some relief from the pain caused by substances leaving your body.
Dedication to Practice and Ritual
Some people report their favorite part of drinking or using was the ritualistic aspect of their process. They have a certain way they like their fix or their drink prepared, and carrying out the ritual of preparing it provided a sense of calm and ease.
Yoga is a healthier ritual that can replace old habits. It also requires dedication, consistency, and practice, three helpful things to work on during early recovery. Facilities that offer yoga therapy for addiction as a part of their treatment program give their patients a great opportunity.
There is a spiritual aspect to the practice and ritual of yoga as well. This aligns with the search for a spiritual approach to life that some seek once they get sober. They can find their unique path to spirituality on the yoga mat.