What You Need to Know About Yoga for Addiction Recovery


Yoga pose on mountain

Within the United States alone, an estimated 20.4 million people practice yoga, a comprehensive system for well-being that originated in ancient India. Specific body postures and breath exercises have helped Americans all over the country to feel more strong, flexible, and whole. More styles of yoga have become popular – some with oddities such as goat yoga have taken storm as a fun way to exercise in groups. One form of yoga, however, has made it to the world of recovery – and it’s for the better.

For many people who have struggled with addiction, depression and anxiety is pervasive. Self-medication has served as a way for some individuals to escape their pain and inner turmoil using alcohol and/or drugs, and depression may have existed either before or because of substance abuse. A study published in Procedia – Social and Behavioral Sciences assessed the use of yoga by individuals in a rehabilitation center for addiction. Three sessions per week at 60 minutes each, yoga was practiced for 5 weeks total by 12 participants, with another 12 people not receiving yoga to serve as a control group. Results from the study indicated that yoga exercises made a significant impact in reducing depression and anxiety levels of those who practiced it. Yoga has proven to provide many benefits to users, including improved respiration, maintained metabolism, weight reduction, protection from injury, and more.

For addiction recovery specifically, yoga has given individuals ethical principles and practices for living a meaningful, purposeful, driven and morally self-disciplined life. A study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine emphasized that through movements in yoga, people can learn to observe the physical sensations of moving and stretching while working through thoughts that can contribute to stress and relapse. For example, it is said that mindfulness and yoga practice can directly affect the brain’s amygdala and prefrontal cortex, both of which have also been impacted by addiction. Coping mechanisms supported through yoga practice help people to identify and skillfully change mental processes such as thought suppression, aversion, and attachment – all of which that have been connected to alcohol dependence and other forms of addiction.

If you are considering yoga as a complementary to your treatment program, speak with someone at a reputable treatment center today. Yoga has shown to benefit many people – with a high potential that it could change your life for better, too.

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.