We’ve all at some point had yoga recommended to us, but what makes it especially beneficial for recovery? Yoga is a mindful physical activity that connects the body, breath, and mind to reduce anxiety, and perceived stress, and improve physical and mental health. It restores the connection between the mind and body and is considered a holistic treatment.
Recovery takes a lot of persistence, strength, and determination that isn’t always easily maintained. Yoga helps you be present and cope with difficult emotions that can come with recovery. The benefits of yoga range from physical, mental, and even spiritual. The practice is grounding and can help you focus on the present moment, helping you take recovery one day at a time.
5 Benefits of Yoga
Yoga is an amazing coping mechanism for those in recovery. There are numerous benefits of incorporating yoga into your recovery, including:
#1. Improved Physical Health
After every yoga session, you will feel stronger and more flexible. This can help with any aches and pains you may feel due to withdrawal. Yoga can also help improve your overall physical health. Yoga can be a valuable tool for people in recovery who are trying to heal from years of substance abuse and have likely neglected their physical health. Research suggests that yoga can improve cardiovascular and respiratory performance and overall health.
#2. Stress Reduction
Recovery from addiction can be stressful. However, the calm breathing exercises, gentle motions, and meditative benefits of yoga can help calm your nerves, reduce cravings, and help treat any psychological distress or trauma you may have.
#3. Improved Circulation
Many people struggling with addiction neglect their bodies. Yoga can help combat physical ailments, including the improvement of circulation. According to Henry Ford Health System’s article “How to Boost Your Circulation (And Why It’s Important!),” better circulation can lower your blood pressure and your risk of heart disease. It also increases oxygen flow to your brain, improves your mood, and helps you think more clearly.
#4. Better Control of Emotions
Yoga can help you cultivate a greater peace of mind, helping you gain new and healthier coping mechanisms. Instead of turning to drugs or alcohol to relieve emotional distress, you can turn to the calm breathing exercises commonly taught in yoga. Yoga has been shown to decrease anxiety and depression while improving a person’s overall well-being.
#5. Better Sleep
Many people in recovery struggle to get good sleep as their body adjusts to life without drugs and alcohol. One of the ways you can improve sleep in recovery is to practice yoga. In a study published by the Journal of Ayurveda and Integrative Medicine, daily yoga was shown to improve sleep quality. Another study published by BMC Psychiatry found that yoga intervention helped individuals manage their problems and improve their overall quality of sleep.
Getting Started With Yoga in Recovery
Since yoga is a personalized practice, it can easily be incorporated into your daily routine. It doesn’t require any fancy equipment to get started. At most, you’ll need a mat. You decide how much time to spend on it per day; even five minutes can be a good starting point. You can modify the poses to accommodate your ability and comfort level. If you don’t feel comfortable joining a class, you can start with short online videos.
You can start practicing yoga at home at any time to boost your recovery. Although any yoga poses are beneficial to your recovery, some good pose options for beginners include:
- Mountain pose: Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and press your palms together in front of your chest. Close your eyes and breathe slowly. This will help calm your mind before you move into the next pose.
- Triangle pose: Slowly move your legs apart until they are in a reverse V-shape. Pull your arms up parallel to the ground and turn your head to look out past your fingertips on your right hand. Bend right at your waist and draw your right hand down while twisting your waist forward. Pull your left hand in the air and hold it in a “triangle” shape for 15 to 30 seconds. Release, return to the original pose, switch to the left, and repeat.
- Leg wall pose: Move from a standing position to sitting and lie back with your legs pressed against the wall. Pull up so that your butt touches the wall and let your legs relax. Then, straighten your legs.
- Spinal twist: Lay on your back and pull your knees close to your chest. Put your arms to your side, palms up, and move your knees left as far as possible, hold for five seconds, return to center, and go to the left.
- Corpse pose: Lie down on your back with your feet and legs apart, close your eyes and gently breathe.
Using Yoga to Complement Traditional Treatment Methods
Yoga is a great tool to use at home to cope. However, it should not be the only option for your recovery. Yoga is best used in conjunction with other treatment modalities, such as cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT).
Recovery can be a time of immense emotional turmoil as you navigate building a new life for yourself. However, yoga can help you move through this season of life by recentering you. It is one of many tools that you can incorporate into your recovery. There are many benefits to yoga, including improved physical health, stress reduction, improved circulation, better emotional regulation, and better quality of sleep. At Dream Recovery, we help you gain the tools and coping skills you need to create change in your life in order to move past addiction. We treat our clients holistically and create an individualized treatment program for each client. We offer comprehensive treatment programs that can be flexible to your schedule. Our goal is to work with you to ensure you find lasting recovery. Call us today at (949) 732-1960 to learn more about our program and create a unique plan that addresses your needs.