The Benefits of Yoga Therapy for Substance Abuse Recovery

There’s been growing interest in using yoga therapy for substance abuse treatment and recovery. When done properly, yoga has the ability to help break the cycles of cravings and dependency. As such, many substance abuse recovery treatment centers—including Retreat Behavioral Health—offer yoga as a holistic therapy, and encourage patients to continue practicing  throughout their recovery journey.

If you’re wondering why so many people are turning to yoga therapy for substance abuse recovery, let us help you understand more about the connections that exist between exercise, mental health and substance abuse recovery. Here’s what you should know, and why you might want to consider incorporating more yoga into your own wellness routine.

Exercise and Your Wellbeing

Before we talk yoga, let’s talk exercise in general, which has been shown again and again to offer a huge range of benefits for both your physical and mental health.

In this study, just thirty minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week (think one thirty minute brisk walk, or even three ten minute jogs) is associated with everything from improved sleep and reduced stress to better moods, increased energy and heightened mental alertness. Another study examined how exercise provides unique positive effects on mood states. Many individuals have reported exercise helps them better overcome anxiety, stress, and depression, in addition to improving overall health conditions.

Incorporating exercise into recovery treatment isn’t anything new. And, based on the outcomes above, it’s easy to see why. So what about yoga therapy for substance abuse in particular? It turns out that it offers all of these benefits—and then some.

Mental Health Benefits of Yoga

Yoga and mental health are closely linked. In fact, yoga is an inherently mindful practice that promotes self-reflection and self-appreciation. When combined with the holistic benefits of exercise, these qualities make yoga a popular choice for those in need of a mental health boost.

When used in conjunction with traditional therapies like talk therapy and medication, yoga therapy for substance abuse can also enhance the recovery process and help reduce withdrawal symptoms, curb cravings, and reduce the chance of relapse.

“Current theoretical models suggest that the skills, insights, and self-awareness learned through yoga and mindfulness practice can target multiple psychological, neural, physiological, and behavioral processes implicated in addiction and relapse,” report the researchers in this narrative review, which examined the potential benefits of using yoga for substance abuse treatment.

The key here is that yoga is most useful as an adjunct therapy, meaning its benefits are most pronounced when used in conjunction with other types of substance abuse treatments. By centering both mind and body during the recovery process, it’s possible to heighten both your sense of confidence in your ability to be successful and your ability to disqualify triggering thoughts. Both of these things can be instrumental in sustaining sobriety in the long term.

Relapse Prevention is Possible

Overcoming substance abuse requires a multi-faceted plan of action, of which yoga and other forms of exercise are just one part. Learn about other types of relapse prevention programs and, whether you’re just starting recovery or are looking for ongoing ways to support yourself in your efforts, we recommend putting a plan into place for maintaining sobriety both now and in the future.

We’re here to help. If you or a loved one are in need of specialized care, please contact us and discover what options are available to you.