Almost everyone is at least somewhat aware of yoga. You often see it in movies, TV shows, and ads. There are many different yoga varieties and ways of using the related philosophy to increase your mental or physical health. Most people do not know that yoga is a helpful method for managing substance use and mental health disorders. Controlled breathing and mindfulness are built into standardized yoga exercises, making them ideal for anyone with high stress or anxiety levels. 

A 2018 review of the research by the National Drug Dependence Treatment Centre in India looked at over three hundred separate studies into the connection between yoga and managing substance use disorders (SUD). They found that “yoga and related therapies appear to be an effective tool” in treating various addictions and co-occurring chronic conditions. 

More About Yoga

Is Yoga a Religion?

Yoga originated in India and has been used for thousands of years to improve mental, physical, and spiritual well-being. Some people believe yoga originated in religious sectors, but this is not the case, and the practice of yoga has been around for much longer than any religious system. In India, the Ministry of External Affairs addressed the popular misconception by saying, “yoga does not adhere to any particular religion, belief system or community; it has always been approached as a technology for inner well-being. Anyone who practices yoga with involvement can reap its benefits, irrespective of one’s faith, ethnicity or culture.”

The Eight Components of Yoga

  1. Yama (abstinences): These are ethical rules that people who practice yoga as a way of life follow, including truthfulness, nonviolence, and moderation.
  2. Niyama (observances): Niyama refers to self-disciplines that include routine, finding contentment in all aspects of life, acting in a pure way, introspection, and dedication to a larger purpose.
  3. Asana (yoga postures): There are many yoga postures, but some of the most popularly seen in yoga depictions are backbends, standing and seated poses, forward folds, and inversions.
  4. Pranayama (breath control): These breathing exercises are meant to connect mind and body and include breath retention, balancing your breathing, natural breathing, and victorious breathing, among others.
  5. Pratyahara (withdrawal of the senses): The exercises related to pratyahara involve looking inward by meditating on the self and concentrating on internal rather than external stimuli.
  6. Dharana (concentration): Concentration is a feature of multiple aspects of yoga, but it is crucial for Dharana to use a single focal point to center yourself and concentrate on cultivating further self-awareness.
  7. Dhyana (meditation): Dhyana releases tension and relieves stress by clearing your mind using meditation and mindfulness so that you can exist at the moment.
  8. Samadhi (absorption): Samadhi means recognizing how all things are interconnected and understanding that you are part of that unity. You will experience being part of the singularity that makes up all of existence.

You can learn more detailed information about each from an article written by researchers at the Pacific University in Oregon

How Yoga Can Support Your Recovery 

Definitive data shows that yoga can be beneficial in the following areas for people recovering from substance use disorder:

  • Physical exercise improves moods and lowers anxiety. 
  • Meditation can focus the mind and decrease stress.
  • Breathwork used in yoga can improve focus and help with relaxation.
  • Concentrating on the moment can help you learn mindfulness.
  • You can use the exercises as a distraction from intrusive thoughts or cravings.

Is Yoga Right For You? 

Yoga is easy to learn, does not take a lot of skill or physical fitness, and can provide a whole host of health benefits. However, not everyone enjoys yoga or is physically capable of practicing the different postures. If you have questions or concerns, you can always reach out to a trained yoga instructor to find out more about the specific physical requirements, and you can speak with your doctor to get their advice. 

Some studies indicate that if you have pre-existing conditions that cause chronic pain in your arms or upper body, you may want to avoid using yoga. You could also take part in yoga but severely limit the amount of time you spend doing certain poses that may exacerbate your pain. 

Equipment You Might Want to Practice Yoga

Yoga does not require any tools to get started. All you need is some open space. However, you may want to use some equipment to make the exercises more comfortable and easier to complete. There are accessories like foam blocks for people with disabilities, injuries, or trouble with mobility to help them achieve more advanced postures. Some tools you might want include the following:

  • Yoga mat
  • Elastic straps
  • Blocks and bolsters
  • Meditation cushions
  • A chair

We are here for you

Lifestyle changes that support your physical fitness while clearing your mind are helpful in recovery. Many people choose low-impact types of workouts like yoga so that they can get started right away. At White House Recovery and Detox, we encourage you to use activities like yoga to improve your focus and lower stress. One of the advantages of yoga is how quickly anyone can pick it up. There is no need for long classes or in-depth education before you can start seeing benefits in your life. Our staff can help you learn how to use yoga and other methods to build a new healthy routine.