Channeling yoga for addiction and healing

Channeling Yoga for Addiction and Healing

Reports show yoga is popular in America. The most common reasons for practicing yoga are stress, trauma relief, and becoming more flexible. Alternatively, yoga for addiction is used as a treatment option for those suffering from an alcohol disorder or drug misuse. Currently, there are 36 million Americans practicing yoga and 100,000 registered yoga teachers.

As yoga’s popularity continues to rise, it is apparent people are searching for a way to feel better mentally and physically. Yoga improves overall health and healing by connecting the mind, body, and spirit for overall healing. This is one reason it is incorporated into substance use disorder treatment plans.

Does Yoga Work?

According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), research studies show yoga is effective for stress management and improves mental well-being. They also report yoga promotes healthy eating, physical activity, sleep, and balance.

There is plenty of science to back up the benefit claims of yoga for people of all ages. Studies show that kindergarteners who practiced yoga twice a week in school had fewer attention problems, hyperactivity, and anxiety. Yoga has also been found to relieve pain in adults, including fibromyalgia, back pain, arthritis, and neck pain.

NCCIH further reports yoga aids in relief from depression, anxiety, and sleep disturbances. Evidence shows it can lower blood sugar levels and other risk factors for cardiovascular disease.

It’s no wonder yoga plays a positive role in treating substance use disorders. It is used as an intervention tool for treating addiction, a form of holistic treatment to reduce the stressors associated with recovery.

What Are Holistic Therapies?

Finding new ways to treat drug and alcohol use disorders is an ever-evolving process. Because there is no one-size-fits-all program, providing alternative treatment methods is essential.

Holistic therapies are based on the idea that a whole person is made of different parts, such as mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual. When all of the parts are healthy, and in balance, you are at your optimal health level. When one or more parts are unhealthy, it can throw all the other parts out of balance.

When given the right kind of support, your body and mind can heal independently, and the process can feel gentler than some of the manufactured options available.

Misusing drugs and alcohol damages the body and brain, creating a disconnect between all the parts of the whole person. Holistic therapies help heal, rebalance, and reconnect all the parts.

Yoga as a Holistic Therapy

Yoga is a holistic practice that has been around for ages. It is based on five foundations, including

  • Breathing
  • Relaxation
  • Exercise
  • Nutrition and fitness
  • Thoughts and meditation

When you have a thought or feeling, it gets stored in the brain in parts like the amygdala, hippocampus, and prefrontal cortex. These parts of the brain send signals to the central nervous system through the hypothalamus. When you experience emotions, positive or negative, a process occurs in which your central nervous system is triggered to respond. How it responds can affect different parts of the body.

For example, a fight or flight response occurs when you feel fear. Your muscles tense, your heart starts racing, and your breaths become short and rapid. When the fearful situation subsides, the effects do not automatically leave the body. Some effects, like muscle tension, can get stored in the body, leading to back pain, sore muscles, and tension headaches longer after the event.

Yoga aids in releasing these lingering effects so your body can return to its optimal state. The longer you avoid returning your body to its optimal state, the more physical and mental health problems you can experience.

How Yoga for Addiction Recovery Works

Substance use disorders involve a combination of risk factors, including genetics, mental health, brain biology, and the environment in which you live. As you enter recovery, you are flooded with thoughts and feelings that can be stressful. If you do not know how to cope with withdrawal symptoms, cravings, and triggers properly, your body will stay in a constant state of stress. This can lead to a relapse.

Traditional behavioral therapies are a necessary part of recovery. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, contingency management, and the Matrix Model are evidence-based therapies that improve recovery outcomes. Dialectical behavioral therapy is a traditional method combined with mindfulness, a holistic technique. It, too, has proven to benefit people in recovery.

Yoga can enhance all other therapies in the following ways:

  • Helping you become more self-aware and present at the moment
  • Regulating stress hormones
  • Increasing the production of GABA, a neurotransmitter in the brain that reduces anxiety
  • Reducing physical pain
  • Learning coping skills, such as deep breathing, to overcome triggers
  • Feeling the natural high of physical activity
  • Helping you find purpose and fulfillment to counteract the lies of drugs and alcohol
  • Building confidence and self-esteem

Yoga Prescription for Healing

Many treatment providers are prescribing yoga as part of a treatment plan, including providers for addiction recovery.

Breathing techniques are typically the first yoga poses to learn because they are beneficial to healing. They help you relax, calm the nervous system, aid digestion, etc.

Pranayama techniques improve breathing. You learn to make your exhalations longer than your inhalations and how to utilize each nostril for improved breathing. Methods include the ocean, cooling, hissing breath, humming, solar, bellows, lunar, and yogic breaths.

Yoga techniques that incorporate various breaths improve recovery outcomes. For example, Vajrasana, also called the sitting mountain, focuses on being still and finding serenity.

Balasana, or a child’s pose, releases tension.

Apanasana, little boat hugging knees, is where you wrap your arms around your knees and hug yourself while breathing. This gives you a sense of comfort and safety while also lengthening your spine and releasing your lower back.

The Savasana pose is typically done at the end of yoga sessions. It is a relaxation pose representing letting go and surrendering, as you would to your Higher Power.

Channel Yoga for Addiction at the Heights Treatment

In conclusion, channeling yoga for addiction and healing is an evidence-based practice aiding many people in recovery. If you are interested in learning how yoga for addiction at the Heights Treatment can benefit you, contact our support team. You deserve to experience overall well-being.