Are you someone who has shrugged off yoga as an activity solely for other types of people? It’s time you reconsider the power of Om. Yoga packs a mighty punch when it comes to developing mind-body awareness, which is why yoga should be an integral part of your addiction treatment.
The Mind-Body Connection
Many people suffering from addiction began using or experimenting with drugs as a way to escape or relax from the stressors of everyday life. Maybe you’re in hot water financially, thinking about calling it quits on your marriage, or feeling like you can’t find your place in the world.
All of these pressures mount to push a casual drug user into one that has developed dependence on a given substance. Yoga can be a better, healthier alternative to escaping or relaxing from stress.
The asanas, or physical positions, of yoga can bring about a deeper connection between your body and mind, inviting you into an environment of peace and stability. Regular participation can provide you with incredible insight of your stress signals and offer a solution for coping with that stress.
Research has revealed that yoga helps the body regulate detrimental stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline. High levels of these hormones can swiftly throw one into a bout of depression or anxiety, and lead to substance abuse. Practicing yoga presents you with a unique opportunity to have your own form of stress-relief, reducing the likelihood that you’ll turn back to drugs.
Another aspect of yoga that can be wildly beneficial to individuals in recovery is the recitation of mantras. These are sounds, words, or groups of words that allow one to perform a transformative mental exercise.
Most mantras are recited during meditation, and while this practice is advantageous, there will be times when you do not have the time or ability to move into different asanas or engage in full-blown meditation. The mantras are the one thing you can take with you anywhere and they offer sacred power to calm both your mind and body.
Popular mantras for addicts in recovery include “Sa ta na ma” from the root “Sat Nam,” meaning “truth is my name,” and “Chatr Chakr Vartee,” a rejuvenating recitation that directs positive energy to your heart center. Take some time to adequately learn these mantras and put them into action when stressors are building to prevent relapse and preserve your mind-body awareness.
Yoga enables a person to visit the deepest wells of peace and tranquility, thereby, becoming not only a healing practice, but a spiritual one. If you have struggled with your spirituality before now, yoga is a great way to get in touch.
This does not mean worshiping a particular god. Instead, the significant mind-body awareness that develops through practice helps you to reach your own inner spirituality. The breaths, or pranayamas, involved in yoga cause enduring stillness and awareness of a higher consciousness.
Some believe this stillness is an energy that connects you with the entire universe. Finding that connection can strengthen your emotional and mental resolve to maintain recovery and strive for a healthier, whole existence.
Now that you know all the potential advantages of incorporating yoga into your substance abuse treatment, learn more about the holistic approach to recovery available at Avalon Malibu.
- Stutkin, S. & Cunningham, A. Yoga for addiction recovery. Yoga Journal. October 2012. http://www.yogajournal.com/article/practice-section/higher-ground/
- Jaffe, A. Addiction, exercise, recovery: Yoga practice and mindfulness in addiction recovery. Psychology Today. February 2010. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/all-about-addiction/201002/addiction-exercise-recovery-yoga-practice-and-mindfulness-in
- Baily, C. Yoga for addiction: Chanting mantras. Spirit Voyage. July 2012. http://www.spiritvoyage.com/blog/index.php/yoga-for-addiction-chanting-mantras/