Yoga is a popular form of exercise that can be practiced in a variety of ways. From a meditative, slow flow to an intense, sweat-inducing workout, there is a practice that can work for everyone. There are countless benefits associated with doing yoga and it works especially well for those in addiction treatment or in sober living and aftercare. Because it can be performed virtually anywhere at any time, it is easily accessible and can be incorporated seamlessly into your daily routine.
In addiction treatment, yoga is primarily used to help stabilize mood, encourage physical activity, and connect the mind to the body. Substance abuse can take its toll on a person’s physical health and rewires the brain in a way that makes it difficult to regulate emotions. Using yoga in addiction treatment is a way to help rebuild those connections and improve physical health. Best of all, yoga is a practice that can be continued throughout life due to its numerous benefits and ability to help people feel grounded.
Yoga for the Mind
Despite the fact that yoga is a physical practice, it can be equally beneficial for mental health as well. Yoga encourages participants to clear their minds and focus on the present. The practice concentrates heavily on meditation and relaxation which can help a person develop methods of calming their mind when dealing with difficult emotions. There is a plethora of benefits for mental health when engaging in the practice and many find that the techniques learned can be applied to everyday life as well.
- Decreases stress: Studies show that yoga can lower rates of stress. Because of its focus on breathing techniques and relaxation, those who practice regularly are shown to have lower levels of stress and anxiety as compared to those who do not.
- Relieves anxiety: Much like stress, symptoms of anxiety can also be reduced by yoga. Yoga’s emphasis on being present and clearing one’s mind from all other thoughts contributes greatly to lowered levels of anxiety.
- Helps combat depression: Depression, anxiety, and stress are often linked to one another. Yoga has the ability to reduce the impact of depression and, in some cases, can act as a natural anti-depressant.
- Improves quality of sleep: Stress, anxiety, and depression can all significantly impact quality of sleep. Because of its ability to reduce the impact of symptoms of these conditions, sleep is also improved through regular practice. Yoga promotes relaxation and its ability to minimize the impact of other factors that affect sleep can help many feel more well-rested.
- Strengthens mindfulness: Yoga encourages participants to let go of distractions and focus on present experiences. Actively focusing their attention on the present also requires a person to accept their current thoughts, feelings, and physical state of being. This improves mindfulness and helps reduce the impact of otherwise intrusive thoughts.
Yoga for the Body
Yoga is a form of exercise that almost anyone can participate in. Because there are variety of approaches to it, nearly anyone can engage in the practice regardless of their level of fitness. Many of the poses can help stretch muscles and improve range of motion which leads to improved physical health. Regardless of the intensity level a person chooses to practice, yoga is an activity that provides numerous physical benefits.
- Improves heart health: Yoga can improve your heart health by lowering blood pressure and your heart rate. This can be especially beneficial for those who have struggled with heart-related health issues, such as having a stroke, in the past.
- Reduces chronic pain: Yoga can help reduce chronic pain by helping people develop better posture and increased mobility. Many people struggle with pain from past injuries, inflammation, and other ailments that can make day-to-day experiences a struggle. Because yoga improves range of motion and increases strength, some symptoms of chronic pain can be minimized.
- Increases flexibility: Yoga focuses on stretching to hold poses. This can help alleviate stiffness or soreness in the body. With regular practice, many people find they have increased flexibility and range of motion.
- Increases strength: In addition to flexibility, many yoga poses require strength to execute properly. Many poses build strength as you hold them through several breaths before moving into the next position. When positions are done correctly, strength and endurance often grow over time.
- Improves breathing: Yoga focuses on controlling your breath through various movements. Learning how to breathe deeply and control breath can improve symptoms of lung-related conditions such as asthma. It can also help increase endurance which can contribute to improved physical health.
While yoga alone is not enough to address a person’s needs in addiction treatment, in conjunction with other forms of care, it can be a vital tool in a person’s recovery. Yoga is a healing practice that can help a person strengthen their physical and mental health. Best of all, yoga is a practice that can be used throughout life to help regulate emotions and improve physical health.
If you or someone you know is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, we are here to help. Give us a call at 310.403.1032 or send us a message below and one of our admissions counselors will do their best to get you the help you need.