Yoga And Addiction Recovery

Whether you’re recovering from an addiction to alcohol, drugs, or a bit of both, you may benefit from learning more about how yoga can help you in your recovery.

What Is Yoga?

Yoga is a form of exercise and meditation that is proven to help calm and relax you, along with strengthening your muscles. It is simply a stretching and deep breathing technique that works your muscles and mind. By breathing deeply, you relax your body, and by stretching your muscles and holding yoga poses, you strengthen your frame. There are certain yoga techniques you can perform while you are work or at home. They require very little time and can relax you and help you experience more peace, joy, and perhaps even less cravings for substances.

In fact, yoga has been studied for many years by researchers and is found to reduce anxiety, stress, chronic pain, cravings for substance, and feelings of sadness. It also helps people rest better at night. For the recovering alcoholic or addict, yoga can help reduce the anxiety surrounding recovery in general, as well as reduce the intensity of withdrawal symptoms or cravings.

Do You Have Chronic Pain?

Yoga is especially helpful for those who experience chronic pain. Some chronic pain patients end up addicted to pain pills, and during recovery they choose to take methadone or suboxone to get off the pain pills. No drug comparison here, and if a drug can help someone get free from addiction, that’s wonderful. But what if yoga can also help? It may not remove the pain completely, but yoga participants report that the intensity of their pain decreases when they practice yoga regularly.

Chronic pain sufferers end up experiencing emotional or mental stress due to the pain. It can wear on them and make them feel quite miserable all the way around. As you can probably relate, when you’re feeling awful, cravings for substances to numb the pain can increase. This is one reason yoga is so beneficial. When you practice yoga regularly, your pain level comes down some and your emotional well-being increases some.

Do You Have Trouble Sleeping?

For those of you that have trouble sleeping, yoga can greatly improve your sleep. It’s best if you practice yoga regularly for several months, as just doing it every once in a while may not be that beneficial.

How can yoga help you sleep better? It can reduce anxious thoughts and feelings, which oftentimes are what keep you awake, and it can increase the blood flow through your body. Plenty of people struggle with sleep issues in early recovery, especially during the detox period. If you’re struggling to get some shut-eye, why not start yoga regularly?

The statistics are out there stating that yoga can be beneficial for those in recovery.  In fact, various treatment centers for addiction now offer regular yoga classes. Other benefits include better flexibility, better self-esteem, blood flow, muscle relaxation, and perhaps even lower blood pressure.

Are you ready to give yoga a try?

If so, consider taking a yoga class to try it out. If you cannot get to a yoga class, there are valuable yoga classes and tutorials on YouTube you can check out. Here are a few valuable yoga stretches that you can try out on your own.

Downward-Facing Dog. The downward-facing dog is a great yoga pose for helping you to feel stronger because it targets your lower back muscles that make standing and lifting much easier. Start by standing shoulder width apart and slowly putting your arms in the air. Then, bend down without bending your knees too much until your hands are on the floor. Your hands and feet should both be on the floor and your knees and back should be straight, if possible. This will definitely strengthen your back muscles, making it easier to stand for long periods of time.

Child’s pose. A child’s pose may seem like it will not do anything for helping to strengthen your back, but it has done wonders for those who allowed themselves to hold the position for enough time every day. Start on your hands and knees and slowly start leaning back until your butt muscles are just above your heels – like you’re kneeling down. Then, slowly extend your arms further away on the floor until your back is straight and your legs are the same. You’ll be in a bowing position. The Child’s Pose is a great way to stretch those back and buttock muscles, which can especially help you if you have back issues.

Neck roll.  The neck can carry some stress throughout the day, so it is important to work this area daily. Perform 3 to 5 neck rolls per day. Simply close those eyes, move your chin down toward the chest, roll your neck around slowly, while relaxing your shoulder muscles. You should feel your neck muscles stretching and relaxing at the same time.

Forward bend. For this stretch, simply sit in a chair facing away from your desk or table. Clasp your hands together behind your back by interlacing your fingers. As you bend forward, bring your arms upward so that you feel your back muscles being stretched. Take a deep breath as you do this. Repeat several times.

Spine twist. For this stretch, you will be twisting and stretching your back muscles. Sit sideways in your chair and with both hands grab hold of the back of the chair. Twist your waist to the right and then to the left, stretching both sides of your back. Repeat a few times.

Rub your temples. We tend to carry stress around our temples as well. For this technique, simply place the palm of your hands on your temples and gently massage them in circles. As you do, take several deep breaths. This will help relieve tension that you have been carrying in your head.

The benefits are wonderful when you commit to a life of yoga practice, so why not make a commitment to give it a try? Find yourself a good yoga class or start doing it regularly in your living room. You’ll be glad you did.