Chronic substance abuse impacts how people cope with everyday stressors. Most individuals with substance use disorder (SUD) have a lower stress threshold due to changes in the brain caused by substance abuse. According to the Journal of Neuroscience in Rural Practice, “Yoga, which is a form of mind–body practice, draws its roots to India and it has been proven to reduce perceived stress, anxiety, improve physical and mental health.” Exclusive Hawaii Rehab offers yoga as an alternative holistic therapy for individuals recovering from SUD.

What Is Yoga?

Traditional yoga is a practice originating from Indian philosophy. However, yoga used to complement treatments in American recovery programs often focuses less on the philosophical aspects of yoga and more on the physical sensations and poses. According to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH), “[Y]oga as practiced in the United States typically emphasizes physical postures (asanas), breathing techniques (pranayama), and meditation (dyana).” Research has shown clients in treatment significantly benefit from spending several hours each week engaging in low-stress yoga exercises.

Some of the most common reasons people practice yoga include:

  • Managing anxiety
  • A desire for a more holistic approach to healing
  • Managing chronic pain or physical discomfort
  • Improving sleep by promoting relaxation
  • Exploring spiritual or philosophical beliefs
  • Engaging with a group and building healthy social connections
  • Practicing mindfulness
  • Emotion regulation
  • Mental clarity and focus
  • A deeper mind-body connection
  • Stress management

Some clients respond more positively to individual or group therapy after participating in alternative holistic therapies, including yoga. Many clients use yoga to calm their thoughts and balance emotions before or after psychotherapy sessions. Other individuals use yoga to stay physically active and help their bodies recover more quickly from the damage caused by chronic substance abuse. Yoga also reduces cravings for some people and draws the focus away from intrusive thoughts or compulsions related to SUD.

Experience True Healing

Our deeply-caring staff and the surrounding natural beauty offer an unparalleled healing experience.

How Does Yoga Help People Recover From Substance Abuse?

Yoga reduces stress and helps people manage a wide range of mental and physical health symptoms and side effects. According to MedlinePlus, yoga “uses physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation to improve overall health.” People recovering from chronic substance abuse have an easier time managing symptoms of SUD and co-occurring mental health disorders if they have better overall health.

Yoga helps people recover from substance abuse by allowing them to focus more fully on their treatment. Being mindful is an important part of healing from emotional distress and avoiding relapse. Yoga trains the mind and body to stay aware of the moment without judgment.

What Symptoms Are Treated Using Alternative Therapies?

Most people with SUD have more than one mental or physical health issue. If left untreated, co-occurring conditions may complicate recovery and cause significant emotional distress. Yoga helps people manage their conditions and reduces the risk of co-occurring health issues or complications during long-term recovery.

Science has shown yoga helps manage the following:

  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia

Research indicates yoga may supplement medication-assisted treatment (MAT) and other services. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), a recent “pilot study indicated strong evidence for Yoga being an effective adjunctive treatment to MAT . . . in reducing perceived stress.” Yoga is also helpful for addressing a wide range of other mental health symptoms and side effects, including cravings and intrusive thoughts.

Experience True Healing

Our deeply-caring staff and the surrounding natural beauty offer an unparalleled healing experience.

What Are the Health Benefits?

Traditional yoga has been used for thousands of years around the world to improve overall health and wellness. More modern versions of the practice have grown from a combination of Eastern and Western techniques. Exclusive Hawaii Rehab tailors yoga sessions to the needs and preferences of clients to ensure they experience the most health benefits.

Mindfulness and meditation provide significant physical and social benefits. Yoga helps people heal from SUD by doing the following:

  • Lowering blood pressure and heart rate
  • Increases strength, flexibility, and endurance
  • Decreases the side effects of withdrawal and detox

Most people recovering from SUD experience mild to severe pain and discomfort for the first few weeks. Yoga helps the body relax and heal more effectively from the physical side effects of substance abuse.

Social Benefits of Yoga

Many people with SUD feel socially isolated and lonely. Social isolation increases symptoms of anxiety, depression, SUD, and other conditions. Yoga offers social support and a sense of belonging during recovery. Classes allow peers to learn together and interact with one another in a low-stress environment.

Increasing Mindfulness and Strengthening the Mind-Body Connection

According to Frontiers in Pharmacology, “It has long been established in traditional forms of medicine and in anecdotal knowledge that the health of the body and the mind are inextricably linked.” Focusing on the mind-body connection is essential during recovery from substance abuse. Recognizing the relationship between physical reactions and emotions helps clients reduce mood swings and achieve emotional stability.

Exclusive Hawaii Rehab uses yoga to improve overall health by strengthening the mind-body connection. People often feel more confident about their ability to manage the physical aspects of recovery when they have less emotional stress. Clinicians encourage clients to take advantage of tools like yoga to reduce stress, improve self-awareness, and build routines for a healthier future.