Kiara Anthony sent me an article recently on my favorite topic: Yoga and Recovery. She is a regular blogger at Drugrehab.com and kindly lent her writing skill at sharing a piece here. I am passionate about the importance of adding yoga, all yoga practices, to recovery.
The asana (physical) practice, the pranayama (breath) practices, meditation and the philosophy. It helped divert me from relapse and has made my recovery far more rich. The benefits are documented. Talk therapy has been expanding to include yoga to help clients embody the benefits.
Yoga has been my companion as I delved down deep to remediate my habits of co-dependency. Read on to see what Kiara has to say.
(For more about what my “take on the topics” are you can read my book “Yoga and the Twelve Step Path” and more in my upcoming book “A Guide For Working The Twelve Steps; Yogic Tools For Recovery” (CRP November 2017).
It is entirely possible to remain sober and coast through recovery without yoga. It is also possible to avoid relapse without implementing meditation and centered breathing. But if you want to maintain peace of mind, ease stress levels and enhance your recovery, yoga may be the way to go.
By itself, yoga has so many benefits. In addition to providing a satisfying workout, yoga is great for:
Implementing yoga into your daily routine doesn’t have to be an overwhelming commitment. In fact, don’t think of yoga as an obligation. Instead, view it as a supplement to a traditional addiction treatment plan. Not only will you become stronger physically and more disciplined from yoga, you’ll soon discover you’ve developed a stronger sense of self and a peace within, making it easier to overcome the everyday stressors of life during recovery.
Yoga can be a significant part of a more holistic approach to addiction treatment. The key to recovery is learning to cope with cravings healthfully. Yoga can help to take the edge off after a long day. It can be the escape you’re looking for from unhealthy cravings.
The same high you used to look for in other things — drugs, food, alcohol, cigarettes — can be found through linking the spirit, mind and body in meditation. Yoga can provide that desired feeling of bliss once you learn to connect and focus all energy inward. The deeper your connection with self, the more aware you are of your feelings, cravings and decisions. A stronger self-awareness can help a person gain control over their actions, increase their self-confidence and limit the need to search for external highs and pleasures.
Yoga also helps to provide an extended community of like-minded individuals. Recovery is tough to go through alone, which is why Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous group meetings are typically part of treatment plans. Similar to these meetings, yoga practice can allow you to build a tribe of friends and supporters that share the same struggles and outlook on life. Through regular attendance to classes and workshops, your circle will grow in no time.
Above all other perks of yoga, the most important benefit is knowing it is good for you. Yoga reinforces the idea of “self-care,” emphasizing that a healthier you is the best you. It’s important to be at your best not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally. When you’re at your best you can minimize your worries, encourage others to seek a higher quality of life, and maybe even recruit them to be a part of your yoga journey. The less you have to worry about, the more energy you can put forth in your recovery.
Rosen, T. (2013, September 8). Recovery 2.0: Yoga and Meditation for People in Recovery From Addiction. The Huffington Post. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/tommy-rosen/yoga-for-addiction_b_3523111.html
Woodyard, C. (2011). Exploring the Therapeutic Effects of Yoga and its Ability to Increase Quality of Life. Retrieved from https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3193654/
Yoga. (2015, March 24). University of Maryland Medical Center. Retrieved from http://www.umm.edu/health/medical/altmed/treatment/yoga
Whitaker, H. G. (2015, June 20). 9 Ways Yoga Helped Me Recover From Addiction. Hip Sobriety. Retrieved from http://www.hipsobriety.com/home/2015/6/20/9-ways-yoga-helped-me-recover-from-addiction
Kiara Anthony regularly contributes to DrugRehab.com, along with other publications. She earned her undergraduate degree in Mass Communications from Towson University, and her graduate degree in Communications from Trinity Washington University.