Regular yoga practice teaches practitioners to be mindful of the present moment. Novice yoga practitioners will frequently exhibit skepticism or defensiveness when they are instructed to be “mindful” of their surroundings and circumstances. The challenge of getting past this skepticism can be even more difficult for an addict whose addiction has fostered an ingrained negativity. Overcoming this initial negativity is the first step that an addict needs to take in order to realize benefits from yoga and apply the practice of mindfulness in all areas of life.
In its most basic form, yoga instructs individuals to hold certain physical poses and to marry their breathing with those poses. These poses will increase in difficulty as a practitioner gains experience and confidence and learns how to maintain balance between his core and limbs while holding those poses. Breathing alone can make a person feel physically more at ease as oxygen permeates metabolic systems that might have been starved of oxygen and nutrients while the addict used drugs or alcohol.
With regular practice, the calmness that can be achieved with yoga poses and breathing will begin to replace the artificial highs that an addict might have pursued with drugs, alcohol, or destructive behaviors. That calmness will also help an addict to act affirmatively, rather than to react to a difficult situation by using drugs or alcohol to alleviate the difficulty.
Addiction is a disease that takes control of an addict’s mind. Yoga is a remedy that helps the addict regain that control. Yoga practitioners report that they are better able to handle external stresses and anxieties without resorting to drugs or alcohol as a numbing agent. In this sense, yoga can become the coping mechanism that an addict can turn to instead of drugs or alcohol. Addicts who started using drugs to help them sleep or to get through particularly difficult days will find that they are sleeping better and reacting to stress without losing control of their thought processes.
Cottonwood Tucson believes that the journey of addiction treatment and recovery should be one of mind, body, and spirit. Our offering of an integrative approach to the treatment of co-occurring disorders is internationally recognized and has gained critical renown. For information on our residential treatment programs for addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders, call us today: (800) 877-4520