Yoga, which was once on the fringes of alternative medicine, is now considered a mainstream therapy in the treatment of addiction, mental health, and even chronic pain and disease management. Most detox and rehabilitation programs offer yoga to work in conjunction with individual and group counseling.
One of yoga’s attractive qualities is that the barrier to entry is relatively low. Even life-long yoga practitioners agree that yoga is a process through which we can all aim for perfect poses and better breathing techniques. Someone who has never previously been exposed to yoga or even exercised regularly can find the slow lengthening and stretching involved in yoga exercises beneficial.
Yoga is also highly adaptive. Unlike other workout routines that require a particular level of fitness before beginning, yoga poses can be adapted so that yoga can benefit just about anyone who is willing to try, regardless of their physical ability or fitness level.
In rehabilitation therapy, we often come across the concept of mindfulness. Mindfulness is basically the deliberate concentration and focus of where we are in any given moment. Through mindfulness, we accept ourselves, lift self-consciousness away from ourselves, slow down racing thoughts, and focus on one thing at a time.
Yoga is an activity that can be incorporated into a mindfulness program. Breathing through the slow movement into poses compels us to focus on the “here and now.” The attitude of embracing the process rather than perfection encourages us to accept who we are and where we are in any given moment. It is not about running ten miles or fitting into a certain pair of jeans.
How Does It Help?
Yoga can help in the following three ways:
- Stress Reduction: Yoga gives you the ability to observe stressful situations. This mindfulness helps you notice your emotions while observing your reactions to them. This removes the pressure to act out or react suddenly, which is similar to a mindset that can lead to a relapse. Essentially, you develop an awareness of uncomfortable feelings without feeling compelled to escape through substances.
- Improved Mood: The desire to avoid negative feelings can play a significant role in relapsing behavior. Regular breathing exercises held during yoga sessions help improve your mood during addiction recovery. This is possible because the conscious breathing techniques force you to slow everything down and develop a deeper awareness of how you feel. When you feel in control of your thoughts and your reactions to them, you may be more willing to embrace uncomfortable memories realizing you can control the outcome going forward.
- Self-Compassion: Yoga’s ability to help you learn self-compassion through self-acceptance allows you to exist in the moment without self-hatred from past behaviors or others’ perceptions. In this way, it allows you to focus on the recovery and not on the past.
Most detox and rehabilitation programs offer yoga to work in conjunction with individual and group counseling. Yoga is also highly adaptive. Unlike other workout routines that require a particular level of fitness, yoga poses can be adapted so that regardless of physical ability, agility, or fitness level, yoga can benefit just about anyone who is willing to try. Surrounded by the Rocky Mountains’ inspiring landscape, the Detox Center of Colorado offers a solution-based transitional residence program aimed at accountability and recovery. No matter how far you’ve come on your journey to substance abuse or mental health recovery, we look forward to helping you explore the range of supportive treatment and aftercare options available to you. Call the Detox Center of Colorado at (303) 952-5035 today!