Addictions manifest mostly as a need to fill a void or even as a coping mechanism. It is important for recovering addicts to find a way to deal with their problems and emotions in a healthy way. This is where holistic and alternative methods of addiction recovery come into play. The goal is to help patients to find alternative ways to achieve addiction recovery without turning to drugs. While therapy and counseling are successful techniques, other forms of coping mechanisms such as exercise and yoga are extremely effective.
Yoga is an excellent alternative to conventional chemical dependency treatment. It is a form of physical as well as mental and spiritual exercise that emphasizes on meditation and most importantly, surrendering to a higher power. It aids in developing self-awareness and promoting overall healing of the mind, body and spirit.
Why Yoga is Helpful for Recovering Addicts
The beauty of yoga is that anyone can do it regardless of their physical fitness level, age, or gender. A ready body, a mat, and a willing mind are all that you need. When people think of yoga, they imagine difficult poses that only the experienced lot can perform. However, everyone starts off from somewhere then works their way up. Yoga is non-competitive. The yoga room is also a sacred, non-judgmental room. Your mat is your sanctuary. The most important thing in yoga is not whether or not you can do the poses. It is not about how bendy you are. It is about your breath and relying on it for calmness and salvation.
There are no specifications to starting yoga. It does not matter what shape you are in. With the right teacher, it is only a matter of time before you master the poses and start reaping the benefits of yoga. It helps to balance out the mind which is an important part of addiction recovery.
Although yoga is a means of working out the body, studies show that it is just as effective in healing the mind as well as the spirit. Those in recovery will be able to find a way to take charge of their thoughts and feelings. They will be able to stabilize them without necessarily turning to drugs and alcohol. In the process, they will feel in charge and gain the confidence that will help them abstain from substance abuse.
Benefits of Yoga for Addiction Recovery
Yoga strengthens the physical body. Truth be told, many recovering substance abusers are not in great physical shape. There are some drugs that lead to weight gain while others are known to cause muscle loss. Either way, they interfere with your physical appearance and fitness level. The long term chemical imbalance caused by these drugs will begin to manifest in the outside and continue doing so as long as the abuse continues. Yoga is a mild form of exercise that will see you shedding off the pounds without necessarily getting out of breath.
Yoga has been introduced to rehabilitation facilities as an effective means of weight loss, muscle toning and increased mobility and flexibility, especially on joints and limbs. It may appear difficult at first but allow your body to integrate at its own pace. Soon it will be flexible enough to perform the poses with ease.
Yoga improves mental health. Meditation is an aspect of yoga and it is widely known to help stabilize your mental health. It also creates awareness whereby you will be in control of your thoughts and decisions. As a result, you will benefit from mental relaxation, productive thoughts and a sense of self awareness. This will prevent unnecessary drug usage and the need to turn to them whenever one feels like they have a lot on their plate. Yoga will enable you to gain control over your thoughts and stay in charge. You will find yourself making better decisions regardless of their nature and urgency.
Yoga Can Replace the Artificial Highs
One thing that makes yoga an important part of rehabilitation is the fact that it is effective in replacing the highs brought about by drugs. It has been proven that holding yoga poses result in a release of dopamine and endorphins into your body. These are the same feel-good chemicals that are released when drugs or alcohol are used. These are the hormones responsible for the temporary feeling of happiness and enjoyment when hard drugs and alcohol are used. Yoga can replace the substance.
The benefit of yoga in this case is to maintain the release of these chemicals without the need for drug use. The euphoria experienced during yoga will help the recovering addicts to opt to turn to yoga instead of drugs whenever they need to experience these fun and relaxing emotions. The yoga teacher will teach the specific poses for this.
Idleness should be highly discouraged in recovering addicts. In fact, this is one of the leading factors of drug and substance abuse. If idleness continues even during treatment, the patient is more likely to relapse and fall back into their old habits. The beauty of yoga is that it can be performed anywhere and at any time. You can also do it as many times as you wish in a day. There are many people who love yoga so much that they integrate it into their lifestyles. As long as the patient’s mind is occupied, one can be assured that drug reliance is minimized and even eliminated. This results in an increased chance of successful addiction recovery.
Yoga Can Be Taught to Others in Recovery
It is known that some patients gain so much interest in yoga that they pursue teaching it after rehabilitation as a means of giving back to the society. All that they need is a willing teacher to guide them. In fact, they can be the best candidates to teach their fellow patients while undergoing recovery. Certification is usually necessary to teach yoga in an official capacity. But generally speaking, yoga can be taught to anyone, anywhere, by anyone. All that is needed is a mat and an open mind!