Yoga for Addiction
According to a report published by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSUDH) in 2014, “An estimated 21.4 million people in the United States who were 12 years old or older battled a substance use disorder, which equates to about 1 in every 12 American adults.”
To counter this menace, various addiction treatment centers have developed programs to help individuals recover from substance abuse or addiction. Today, a majority of the treatment centers focus on the holistic approach that includes a variety of methods to help attain sobriety and maintain it.
Yoga, as described by the Yoga Journal1, entails the use of physical postures to help connect mind with body. It also helps an individual to gain self-awareness and focus on their breathing. It is a complementary exercise that is widely practiced for health and relaxation. It is also considered a natural form of medicine. Yoga is often beneficial when coupled with other traditional treatment methods.
Benefits of yoga
Yoga has many benefits! One advantage is that it doesn’t require any expensive equipment or special location. The time and location of practice can be adjusted according to one’s needs. Yoga is an ancient technique which helps bring the mind and body together. Other benefits are:
- Stress relief
- Increased physical stamina and strength
- Self-reflection and increased self-awareness
- Healthier exercise and eating habits
- Heightened self-confidence and improved self-image
- Pain relief
- Better sleep
- Increased energy levels
- Reduction in fatigue
- Emotional healing
- Overall health and wellness improvement
It is best to join a class or find a trained instructor while learning yoga. The main focus should be on achieving certain body postures while controlling breathing in specific ways. The postures help to allow the flow of energy within one’s body permitting the mind to open. This connectivity between mind and body helps increase awareness and self-control.
Effect of yoga on mind and body
Regular abuse of alcohol or drugs tends to affect the functionality of the brain. The pathways related to feeling pleasure, regulating emotions, making sound decisions and controlling impulses might be negatively affected. These negative impacts can be reversed and the brain may heal and rebuild itself in the absence of the substance or alcohol. Yoga may be helpful in this recovery.
Yoga has been known to work as a stress buster by lowering the heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, and body temperature. According to a study published by Harvard Health2; a group of women who reported they were “emotionally distressed” practiced yoga for 1.5 hours twice a week. At the end of three months, half reported less depression, a third cited fewer anxiety symptoms, and 65 percent claimed an increase in overall wellbeing.
Also, The Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine3 reported a study that showed an increase in the levels of gamma-amino butyric acid (GABA) with the practice of yoga techniques. GABA is a type of natural tranquilizer produced by the brain that helps manage stress and anxiety levels.
Stress, anxiety, and depression are commonly associated with drug withdrawal, and practicing yoga may help an individual in controlling these withdrawal symptoms.
Regular practice of yoga may help to reverse the negative effects of drug or alcohol addiction on an individual’s health in a natural way. Additionally, it may also prove beneficial in the emotional growth of an individual.
Yoga practice helps an individual learn more about his/her body, and also helps to create self-awareness thereby increasing self-control. By focusing inward, individuals can learn to take ownership in the way they feel and gain control over themselves and their actions.
Yoga can be beneficial as part of a substance abuse treatment program and can be practiced independently as well. Yoga, when combined with traditional therapy practices, may help a person to attain sobriety and maintain it throughout their life.