Yoga is a method of healing that has been used for hundreds of thousands of years throughout different cultures. With the mind, body and soul connection, the benefits of yoga are endless in improving your health and mental well-being. The growing practice of yoga is not just used for exercise but now is being implemented in many recovery centers for healing methods from addictions.
For the mind, yoga can improve mental calmness, reduce stress and improve body awareness. By concentrating so intently on what your body is doing, this brings a calmness to the mind. By introducing you to meditation techniques, breathing mechanisms and disengagement from your thoughts, yoga assists in calming the mind.
Concentrating on what your body is doing helps your daily troubles, both large and small, melt away during the time you are practicing yoga. This provides a much needed break from your stressors, as well as helping put things into perspective for you. Yoga also helps to let go of the past and look forward to the future, something a recovering addict desperately needs to do.
Being aware of your body can change the way to carry yourself overall. When called upon to make small, subtle movements during yoga class, these movements improve your alignment and over time will improve the level of comfort you have in your own body. This also leads to improved posture and greater self-confidence.
The long term effects of yoga are remarkable, including increased flexibility and stamina, bone and muscle strength, improved circulation and better coordination. For those recovering from an addiction, this practice creates a positive self-image and decreases the risks of abusing their bodies through drug or alcohol use in the future. Stretching your body in new ways and increasing your flexibility gives you a greater range of motion to muscles and joints.
Breathing exercises in yoga focus mainly on the breath and teach how to use your lungs, which benefits the entire body. There are also a variety of different breaths that can help to clear the nasal passages and even calm the central nervous system, having both physical and mental benefits.
Addicts who have abused prescription drugs in order to decrease their own chronic pain can also find benefits in practicing yoga. Studies have proven that yoga can help to improve the effectiveness of medical treatments used for chronic pain.
For those suffering from an addiction, yoga allows the addict to recover in a natural and healthy way, while overall improving their well-being. The methods of yoga can help to re-strengthen the body and will provide the recovering addict with coping mechanisms to diffuse the thoughts and situations which trigger addictive behaviors.
Research surrounding yoga has shown that the practice helps to lower blood pressure and heart rate, aid in weight loss for a healthier lifestyle and alleviate specific types of pain, including migraines, lower and upper back problems, arthritis and more. For recovering addicts, yoga allows an outlet to remove themselves from the everyday struggle they face. While the practice is growing in treatment centers, there’s still a long way to go. In the future, yoga has the potential to be one of the greatest and most effective healing methods.
Jessica Tanning is a freelance writer focusing on health and wellness. She works closely with recovering addicts, specifically with a family member who has been suffering from an addiction for nearly 10 years. Click here to learn more about her journey.