Whether you’re experiencing physical or mental ailments, yoga has many benefits. It can increase physical stamina, strength, and flexibility, boost self-esteem, and promote self-reflection. Additionally, yoga can also encourage healthier exercise and eating habits, relieve pain, and reduce fatigue. The benefits of yoga are seen two-fold when used in conjunction with things like medication, therapy, or other traditional methods…. And this can be seen specifically with substance abuse treatment programs where yoga is used as an added form of relief. In fact, there are many ways in which yoga can aid in recovery.
Research has proven that yoga “can prevent relapse, reduce withdrawal symptoms and cravings, and provide a healthy outlet to cope with potential triggers and daily life stressors.”
Yoga Reduces Cravings
The best thing a person in recovery can do is learn how to negate negative impulses and realign these feelings with positive action. In yoga, it is pertinent that practitioners direct their emotions into their actions as they breathe into each pose. This encourages both mental and physical self-discipline. Gaining control of your thoughts and emotions provides mental clarity and focus that can in turn aid in the recovery process. This practice of mindfulness has been proven to reduce cravings, which are a strong prediction of relapses.
Yoga Provides a Healthy Outlet To Cope
Negative moods play a key role in relapse and different forms of yoga improve one’s mental state. Negative feelings and emotions like fear, anxiety, guilt, jealousy, and loneliness can be triggers for people in recovery. These triggers can easily be amplified by stress. By modulating the physical response to stress, stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline regulate through regular yoga practice. The physical symptoms of stress like increased heart rate, raised blood pressure, respiration, and body temperature become balanced. Additionally, you’re moving around and being active, which promotes a healthy lifestyle.
Yoga Prevents Relapse
Did you know that relapse rates are higher than 40%? This is why addiction specialists are looking to more homeopathic remedies as a way to supplement traditional recovery programs. Yoga is based on mindfulness, which is the practice of working through difficult emotions and feelings. In a trial done on Mindfulness-Based Relapse Prevention, researchers found that mindfulness prevents relapse. It aids those recovering in their mission to avoid substance abuse by disconnecting negative feelings from cravings. In this trial, they found that those who practiced mindful movement coupled with a traditional treatment program had significantly lower rates of substance use at a 2-month follow-up. The control group, who continued with treatment as normal, experienced relapse in addictive behavior.
Yoga Reduces Symptoms of Withdrawl
We’ve already discussed that yoga can reduce anxiety, agitation, and depression, which are typical withdrawal symptoms. It’s also the case that yoga can relieve symptoms like indigestion and gastrointestinal disturbances, back pain, and muscle and joint pain. In a study of 34 women diagnosed with an anxiety disorder, researchers found that those who practiced yoga twice a week for two months had significantly lower levels of anxiety than the control group. Plus, researchers also found that individuals with carpal tunnel syndrome found more relief from practicing yoga than from wrist splinting.
Yoga Discourages Judgement
Finally, one of the main tenants of mindfulness is having a nonjudgemental, kind attitude toward oneself and others. This promotes healing and recovery through means of setting an intention. You will learn to accept who you are without self-criticism or blame. Similarly, fostering a compassionate attitude toward one’s self is a great way to let go of your past mistakes so that you can move forward without being concerned about the perceptions of other people.
For some, yoga practice in conjunction with traditional methods of detoxification and auxiliary treatment has positive results. Of course, one should speak to a medical professional before seeking any sort of treatment for substance abuse disorders and other mental and physical illnesses. This way, you can make sure that you are receiving the utmost care and being monitored to determine what works best for you.