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Yoga for Addiction Recovery: 5 Ways It Can Help

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Many addiction treatment programs provide holistic therapies and traditional practices such as reiki, tai chi, mindfulness meditation, and yoga. One of the many reasons why these services are so valuable is that their benefits don’t stop when a person’s time in treatment has ended. Yoga for addiction recovery can be beneficial for those who are either just starting their recovery journey, or who have been sober for an amount of time. 

At Nashville Treatment Solutions, we provide holistic therapy in Nashville, Tennessee as part of our mental health and addiction treatment options. Call us now at 615-234-9425 or verify your insurance now. 

Introduction to Yoga

Yoga is an ancient activity that encompasses elements of spirituality, mental wellness, and physical strength to promote balance and mind/body harmony. While there are many different schools of yoga, each with their own practices and purposes. In general, though, yoga incorporates a variety of asanas (poses) along with a focus on breathing and mindfulness. 

Though some forms of yoga can be strenuous, it is a highly adaptable endeavor that can be accessible to a wide range of people, regardless of their age, body size, strength, and mobility.

yoga for addiction recovery

Benefits of Yoga for Addiction Recovery

Yoga for addiction recovery offers an array of physical, psychological, and social benefits. It can help you embrace mindfulness, manage stress, improve your physical health, boost your confidence, and connect with others who can support your efforts to live healthier life.

1. Mindfulness

There’s a reason why “one day at a time” is such a common saying in the recovery community. When you’re faced with a lifelong challenge such as maintaining your sobriety, it can often be difficult to remain focused on the present moment. But failing to do so – for example, spending too much time worried about what the future might bring or lamenting the mistakes you made in the past – can undermine your recovery efforts. 

Yoga is an excellent way to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life. This practice encourages you to calm your mind, focus on your breath, and be fully present. 

2. Stress Management

Unmanaged stress can be a serious threat to your recovery. If you’re not able to deal with stress in a productive and healthy manner, you may be tempted to turn to alcohol or another drug in an attempt to temporarily escape the pressures that have been weighing on your mind.

Multiple studies indicate that yoga can be an ideal component of your stress management strategy: 

  • A February 2018 study in the International Journal of Preventive Medicine determined that yoga “has an effective role in reducing stress, anxiety, and depression.” 
  • An August 2020 research article in the journal Stress & Health found that yoga can lead to reductions in both perceived stress and stress reactivity.
  • A study in the September-October 2023 issue of the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine reported that yoga can increase the body’s production of dopamine, serotonin, and melatonin, which can contribute to improved mood and reduced stress.

3. Physical Health

Active addiction can wreak havoc on your body as well as your mind. As you work to build a brighter future in recovery, it’s important to focus on your physical health as well as your mental well-being. This is another area where yoga for addiction recovery can be quite beneficial: 

  • Johns Hopkins Medicine has reported that the physical health benefits of yoga include enhanced strength, balance, and flexibility; improved heart health; better sleep quality; and increased energy.
  • The American Osteopathic Association has cited increased muscle tone, better circulatory health, improved respiration, and more effective weight management as among the contributions that yoga can make to physical health.
  • An article on the Mayo Clinic website noted that yoga is associated with improved range of motion, better digestion, lower heart rate, and a stronger immune system. 

4. Improved Confidence

Many of the direct results of yoga – such as being present, managing your stress levels, and improving your physical health – can all do wonders for your confidence and self-esteem. Also, the practice itself can help you see yourself in a more positive light.

When you first try yoga, it’s common to be a bit unsure of yourself. Many of the poses can be challenging for a newcomer, and depending on how your first few sessions go, you may be tempted to give it up and try something new. But if you stay with it (and you absolutely should stay with it, even if you struggle at first) you will discover that you are capable of much more than you may have realized. 

5. Connection and Community

Addiction can isolate you from those who care the most about you, which is one of the reasons why connecting with others can be so important to your successful recovery. This may include repairing relationships that were damaged by your compulsive substance abuse, as well as replacing poor influences from your past with new friends who will support your healthier lifestyle.

Practicing yoga can help you find a positive, supportive community. Ideally, yoga classes should be safe spaces that emphasize compassion and mutual respect. Regardless of ability level, you and your classmates can share common goals, such as improving your technique, attaining a greater sense of inner peace, and living a more purposeful life.

Begin Addiction Treatment in Nashville Today

Yoga can be a vital component of both addiction treatment and a successful relapse-prevention plan. But if you are still engaging in compulsive substance abuse, yoga alone may not be enough to help you escape the clutches of active addiction.

Nashville Treatment Solutions is a premier source of personalized outpatient care for adults who have developed addictions to alcohol and other drugs. Treatment options at our rehab center in Nashville, Tennessee, include a Partial Hospitalization Program (PHP), an Intensive Outpatient Program (IOP), an Evening IOP, and a traditional Outpatient Program (OP).

Also, if you need to complete detox before starting one of our programs, we can refer you to a trusted and vetted detoxification center in the area.

To learn more about how we can help you or a loved one, please visit our Admissions page or call us today.