Yoga is a mindfulness-based practice that incorporates physical and mental techniques such as body postures, breathing exercises, and meditation to promote relaxation, flexibility, and strength. If you’re seeking a complementary form of treatment to begin taking better care of your mind, body, and spirit in addiction recovery, the following poses are wonderful places to begin:
- Spinal Breathing Pranayama – Sit in a comfortable position. Rest your hands on your knees with your eyes closed. Close your eyes, and inhale while imagining a white light starting at the base of your spine and working its way up. When you exhale, imagine the white light going back down towards your tailbone. Repeat.
- Yogi Bicycles – Lay down on your back, and intertwine your fingers behind your head, with your elbows out. Keep your left leg out on the mat and bend your right leg and bring it to your chest. Lift your head, shoulders, and chest off the ground, and focus on your core to bring your left elbow to your right knee. As you inhale, bring your leg back down to the mat and bring your left knee up to your chest. Use your right elbow to meet it; repeat this slowly.
- Downward Facing Dog – Get on all hands and knees on the ground, forming a table. Move your hands about 6 inches in front of you; plant your hands and lift your hips while tucking in your toes to create a “V” position with your body. Press through your index fingers to take some pressure off your wrists and bring your shoulder blades back. Gently relax your heels towards the ground, stretching your ankles, hamstrings, and calves. Relax your head and hold for 10-15 breaths.
Yoga has become more mainstream in the United States and has provided many benefits to addiction recovery; previous studies have shown that yoga can decrease pain, depression, anxiety, and lower resting heart rate, while improving balance, bone density, and increasing immunity. Additionally, yoga can increase one’s self-awareness, self-control, and self-realization, all of which are critical to one’s growth in recovery.
As emphasized by a study titled, “A Narrative Review of Yoga and Mindfulness as Complementary Therapies for Addiction” published in the journal Complementary Therapies of Medicine, addictions are based on a state of “mindlessness” – involving escapist attitudes, automatic thinking, emotional reactivity, and social isolation. The best way to jumpstart your recovery is to begin doing the very opposite of this – cultivating mindfulness and purposeful action into your life.
Simple Recovery is a world-renowned, California state-licensed substance abuse recovery center. We offer dual diagnosis treatment, so if you are experiencing both substance abuse and symptoms of a mental disorder, call us today at 888-743-0490 so that we can work with you to restore your happiness, health, and well-being. You do not have to continue living this way; there are many people here ready to help you.