Long-term drug or alcohol use can destroy someone’s physical health, mental health, and overall well-being. While getting professional care at a substance use treatment center is the most effective way to get started on the road to recovery, healing completely takes time. Yoga may be a good outlet for some people in recovery and aid in this healing process.
The Benefits of Doing Yoga in Addiction Recovery
From hot yoga to yoga with baby goats, the practice has taken many new turns in recent years. While trendy, yoga can be a powerful tool for many people, including people healing from substance use. In fact, there may be several benefits of yoga in recovery for some people.
Improve Physical Health
Although yoga may be a low intensity exercise, it can still be good for someone’s physical health. Especially for people in recovery who are trying to heal from years of substance use and have likely neglected their physical health for just as long, there are several potential benefits of yoga on the body in recovery. Research suggests that yoga can improve cardiovascular as well as respiratory performance and overall health.1
Early recovery from addiction can be stressful. You are attempting to change your entire lifestyle while combating drug cravings and battling withdrawal symptoms from a drug detox. Not only is this stress harmful to your physical and mental health, but also it can lead to relapse. Fortunately, yoga has been shown to significantly decrease stress when practiced regularly.2
Part of successful long-term addiction recovery is developing better self-awareness. This self-awareness helps people understand what triggers cravings as well as how to deal with them in a way other than turning to drugs or alcohol. Some evidence suggests that yoga can improve a person’s self-awareness and alter their perception.1
Promotes Better Sleep
Many people in early recovery struggle to get good sleep as their body adjusts to life without the substance it became so dependent on. One of the ways to improve sleep in recovery may be to practice yoga. In a study of the elderly, daily yoga was shown to improve the quality of sleep.3 Another study of women with sleep problems found that yoga intervention helped manage their problems and improve their overall quality of sleep.4
Pain Management & Relief
Another one of the benefits of yoga in addiction recovery is that it can help with the management of chronic pain. For someone who went through opioid addiction treatment, painkillers are not a viable option to help with any chronic pain problems. Instead, yoga may help. A weekly yoga class for people with chronic lower back pain was found to increase mobility more than standard medical care. Yoga has also been found to help with fibromyalgia, arthritis, migraines, and other chronic pain conditions.5
Improve Mental Health
There may also be several mental health benefits of yoga in recovery. Because mental health is often tied to substance use, the journey to lasting recovery can be a mental struggle. Yoga has been shown time and time again to decrease anxiety and depression while also improving a person’s overall well-being.1 While it can be hard to get started, there may be so many benefits of yoga in recovery that you could be missing out on. Daniel Sernicola of Danja Yoga explains, “Yoga is wonderful for refocusing the mind, calming the chaos of difficult emotions, and working stress and tension out of the body. Yoga brings ease to the body and mind. Addiction often causes one to feel great disconnection from the rest of the world and yoga promotes reconnection and union with all.” At The Bluffs, we focus on evidence-based treatment modalities but also incorporate ancillary programming such as yoga or meditation into our treatment programs to help people in their journey to comprehensive healing. To get started today on your path to recovery, contact us now.