There are a number of options in addiction recovery today, allowing those in recovery to select the tools that most effectively help them achieve and maintain sobriety. One of those popular tools is yoga, an ancient Indian practice that has become a prominent way to achieve a higher state of health and fitness in Western countries. Yoga is a successful recovery tool because it addresses the three aspects of addiction and recovery outlined in a 12-step program; mental, physical and spiritual health.
Mental Health Benefits
Yoga is one of the most effective disciplines for effectively managing and reducing stress. Because stress is one of the top reasons people begin to abuse substances, it stands to reason it plays a major role in both the addiction and recovery processes. Yoga teaches one to combat stress and regain the self-control necessary to remain sober.
Yoga also affects the body’s release of dopamine, which can be critical for a successful recovery from addiction. Use of most substances leads to a temporary surge of dopamine in the body, referred to as a “rush” or “high.” Over time however, regular use of drugs or alcohol can decrease the amount of dopamine released by the brain. Yoga has been shown to increase dopamine release, which can help those in recovery stay on a sober track.
Self-care is an important component to a successful recovery and yoga brings your body to an optimal state of health and fitness. In addition to improving flexibility and strength, yoga is effective in weight maintenance and detoxification of the body. The discipline also encourages healthy sleep and relaxation.
Yoga can be performed by people of any fitness level. The exercises are not high impact, so there is less risk of injury to disrupt your program. There is also little equipment required, so you can practice yoga nearly anywhere and at any time.
Many people in recovery feel a spiritual void, which is why attention to the spiritual aspect of healing and health is so important in maintaining sobriety. Yoga provides that spiritual element, by teaching mindfulness and acceptance. Joining yoga classes also gives you a spiritual community where you can connect with others looking to fill that void.
No matter what spiritual track you are on, yoga can help you meet your needs. The development of inner peace and harmony, which is common for regular yoga practitioners is essential for spiritual health, no matter what religion you practice. By tuning into your spiritual needs, you enhance your odds of long-term recovery.
At West Coast Recovery Centers, we understand the importance of incorporating different elements into our recovery programs that will reach all of our patients in a positive way. Yoga is just one method of connecting patients with holistic health and healing that will put them on the right path to recovery and help them stay there. To learn more about our treatment programs, contact West Coast Recovery Centers or Call Us 855-927-2687.