Yoga for Addiction Treatment

Many resources can help during substance abuse treatment. From holistic interventions to therapy, the more you take advantage of the options available to you, the more likely it is that you’ll be successful. One of the most common resources used in substance abuse treatment programs is yoga.

Using yoga therapy to overcome the challenges associated with addiction has proven to be an effective approach. Yoga offers physical and mental health benefits that can positively impact your mental well-being.


Physical Health Benefits of Yoga

The physical benefits of yoga are many and promote the notion that physical exercise can provide recovering addicts an outlet for stress. Moreover, because substance abuse can take such a toll on the body, practicing yoga can help with the kind of restorative healing necessary to start learning to take care of yourself once again.

Additional beneficial physical aspects of practicing yoga include:

  • Blood pressure. A consistent yoga practice decreases blood pressure through better circulation and oxygenation of the body. These two exercises can help lower blood pressure.
  • Pulse rate. A slower pulse rate indicates your heart is strong enough to pump more blood with fewer beats. Regularly practicing yoga provides a lower pulse rate.
  • Circulation. Yoga improves blood circulation. By transporting nutrients and oxygen throughout your physical body, yoga practice provides healthier organs, skin and brain.
  • Respiratory. Like with the circulatory system, a lower respiratory rate indicates that the lungs are working more efficiently. Yoga decreases the respiratory rate through a combination of controlled breathing exercises and better fitness.
  • Cardiovascular endurance. A combination of lower heart rate and improved oxygenation to the body (both benefits of yoga) results in higher cardiovascular endurance.
  • Organs. Yoga practice massages internal organs, thus improving the ability of the body to prevent disease. Additionally, an experienced yoga practitioner becomes better attuned to their body to know at the first sign if something isn’t functioning properly, thereby allowing for quicker response to head off disease.
  • Gastrointestinal. Gastrointestinal functions have been shown to improve in both men and women who engage in yoga techniques.
  • Immunity. Yoga has frequently been correlated with a stronger immune system.
  • Pain. Pain tolerance is much higher among those who practice yoga regularly. In addition to pain tolerance, some instances of chronic pain, such as back pain, are lessened or eliminated through yoga (see below for more on back pain).
  • Metabolism. Having a balanced metabolism results in maintaining a healthy weight and controlling hunger. Taking a yoga class may help you find that balance and cultivate a more efficient metabolism.
yoga for addiction recovery

Mental Benefits of Yoga

While some people engage in yoga techniques to reap the physical benefits, others do it for the mental advantages. The mind and body connection is a strong one, so the more you can learn to support that connection in a positive way, the more beneficial it will be.

For instance, the breathing techniques that you learn in yoga have emotional benefits that help you to think before you act and control negative emotions. Breathing deeply gives you an injection of fresh oxygen so you can cultivate clarity in the moment and bring about self-awareness that prevents you from making poor decisions.

Some of the positions, such as downward dog or corpse pose, may help with stress relief. Others encourage the cultivation of a spiritual path. While you may want to engage in yoga to manage anxiety, many find that yoga is more than a health practice. For many, it becomes a way of life after dealing with a substance addiction. A yoga instructor can teach you some of the tenets of the practice that can make a difference in the way you relieve stress.

Addiction treatment found at rehab centers is challenging in many ways, and unlearning addictive behaviors requires a strong mental constitution. Seeking inner peace through yoga may help recovering addicts to create a calm mental state that allows them to resist urges to use. Other mental advantages of yoga for recovering addicts include:

  • Mental clarity: Using substances and even enduring withdrawal symptoms in the initial days of treatment can create mental fogginess that can feel frustrating and overwhelming. Yoga has been shown to promote mental clarity, providing the tools necessary to clear your mind.
  • Calmness: Where drug abuse is concerned, anxiety can easily manifest from post-traumatic stress disorder or untreated mental illness, both of which are contributing factors in substance use disorder. Yoga promotes internal calmness so you can rely on a healthier coping mechanism than substances.
  • Enhances concentration: Yoga classes can help you clear your mind, so you may also find you’re also able to concentrate more effectively. Better concentration can help with mental health care as well as understanding the impacts of drug addiction on your life. In turn, you may find you’re able to make different decisions than you have in the past.

Using Yoga in Addiction Treatment

The truth is that when you’re navigating substance abuse treatment, you need all the help you can get to bring mental and physical balance to your life. Treating addiction should always come from a holistic and full-bodied approach. It’s impossible to just focus on the toll substance abuse has taken on either the mind or the body. Both must be considered in treatment, which is an approach benefited by yoga.

Many treatment centers will enhance recovery with whatever tools may help you with stress relief and drug cravings, as these resources can help you long after treatment for substance use disorders is completed. Traditional treatment may have only emphasized therapy and detox, but modern approaches incorporate the idea that holistic resources have much to offer in treatment facilities.

Ranch Creek Recovery incorporates the practice of yoga for addiction recovery from drugs and alcohol. Learn more by calling our admissions team at 877-997-8931.