Posted by Steps to Recovery on January 23, 2013

I love yoga. I have loved yoga for many years. I practiced long before I began my recovery journey, I even practiced when I was using, although not as much as I should have. So when I decided to get help, I was really excited to find a program that offered yoga as one of it’s included movement classes.

Although yoga has been around for over 5,000 years, it has only been utilized in drug and alcohol recovery for 10-ish years. Yoga is an amazing tool in recovery; it is very powerful for healing oneself mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. It is a highly effective way to connect all of the parts of yourself and get in touch with the energy of the universe. Here are 5 ways yoga helps with recovery.

1) Yoga is cleansing – Many yoga poses can aid in detoxifying and cleansing the body of toxins that have built up due to drug and alcohol use. For example, the supported headstand stimulates the pituitary and pineal glands, which aids in helping the body rid itself of toxins more effectively, and the half lord of the fishes pose stimulates the liver and kidneys.

2) Impulse control – Yoga promotes impulse control, attentiveness and concentration. This is important because many people who use drugs and alcohol feel a compulsion to follow through with their cravings to use. In addition, they are more likely than others to allow their thoughts and emotions rule them and how they react to life.

3) Yoga promotes inner peace – The practice of yoga offers both a mind and body experience at the same time unlike regular cardiovascular exercise or talk therapy which only offer one or the other. Yoga poses (asanas) mixed with deep breathing can bring about inner harmony.

4) Deep breathing – Coping skills are needed for those seeking recovery, and yoga helps by teaching deep breathing, which is a highly effective and useful coping tool.

5) Connection with a higher power – Yoga incorporates meditation which can help one connect with their higher power. Like prayer, meditation helps one to feel closer to their higher power. During mediation, you can softly close your eyes and create your own place of safety and tranquility. It can be a forest, a mountain stream, wherever you feel most at ease. Conversation with your higher power and giving your worries over to the God of your understanding are both powerful tools that can be incorporated into your chosen place.

Yoga is a powerful tool that helped me get on the right path in early recovery and stay there. How has yoga helped your recovery?