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The Power of Yoga in
Addiction Treatment and Recovery

Learn more about how incorporating yoga in addiction treatment can aid in recovery at New Choices Treatment Center.


Find Sustainable Healing With New Choices

The journey to recovery is often filled with challenges and uncertainty. However, at New Choices Treatment Center (NCTC), we believe that finding the right support can make all the difference. One powerful tool that has been gaining recognition for its benefits is yoga in addiction treatment.

Integrating yoga in addiction treatment can provide holistic healing. This, in turn, helps people achieve a balanced state of physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

In this article, we will explore yoga’s healing potential in recovery. At NCTC, we incorporate yoga into our comprehensive treatment plans to support our clients in their quest for sobriety. By understanding how yoga can aid in addiction recovery, you’ll discover new pathways to health and resilience.

yoga in addiction

Understanding the Role of Yoga in Addiction Recovery

Yoga is an ancient practice that encompasses a wide range of physical, mental, and spiritual disciplines. This unique wellness approach aims to achieve harmony between the body and mind.1
Yoga in addiction treatment is a holistic practice that supports the healing process on multiple levels. It provides physical benefits through exercise and mental benefits through mindfulness and meditation. It also provides emotional benefits through self-reflection and stress reduction.
By integrating these various elements, yoga can be a powerful tool for people seeking to overcome addiction and rebuild their lives.

Holistic Healing Through Yoga in Addiction Treatment

Yoga in addiction recovery is much more than a physical exercise. It is a holistic treatment practice that offers a unique way to heal on multiple levels.
Let’s consider the different areas yoga helps improve in addiction recovery:

Physical Benefits of Yoga in Addiction Treatment

Physically, yoga helps to improve strength, flexibility, and general health. Many people in recovery face physical challenges like muscle weakness due to prolonged substance misuse. Through regular yoga practice, they can rebuild their physical strength and stamina.2
Additionally, yoga can help with the detoxification process. This is because it enhances the body’s ability to cleanse itself of toxins accumulated from substance abuse.

Mental Benefits of Yoga in Addiction

Mentally, yoga in addiction recovery promotes mindfulness and stress reduction. Both of these benefits are crucial in managing cravings and avoiding relapse. The various breathing techniques and meditation practices in yoga help calm the mind and reduce anxiety.
This mental clarity is vital as people navigate the complex emotions and thoughts that often accompany recovery. By focusing on the present moment, clients can better manage their thoughts and emotions, reducing the risk of relapse.

Emotional Benefits of Yoga in Addiction

Addiction often causes a disconnection from one’s emotions and a loss of self-worth. Yoga helps people reconnect with their inner selves, fostering a sense of peace and self-acceptance.
By engaging in yoga, clients can begin to rebuild their emotional resilience, learning to process their feelings healthily. This emotional healing is a key component of holistic recovery because it helps people develop a more positive sense of self.

Yoga in Addiction Treatment: Cultivating Present-Moment Awareness and Insight

One of the core components of yoga in addiction recovery is mindfulness. Mindfulness is the practice of staying present and fully engaging with the current moment.3
Mindfulness helps people develop insights into their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. Mindfulness practices in yoga also encourage people to observe their experiences without judgment. This, in turn, creates a perfect space for reflection and understanding.
By practicing mindfulness through yoga in addiction recovery, people learn to observe their cravings and emotional triggers without reacting impulsively. This increased awareness also allows them to develop healthier coping strategies.
For example, they learn to use yoga and mindfulness techniques to calm their minds and bodies instead of turning to substances when stressed.

Gratitude and Contentment

Mindfulness in yoga also helps people cultivate a deeper sense of gratitude and contentment. By focusing on the present moment, they can appreciate the progress they have made in their recovery journey. This helps them stay motivated to continue their path toward sobriety.

Our Comprehensive Treatment Approach

At New Choices Treatment Center, we believe in an integrative approach to addiction recovery. Traditional therapies like cognitive-behavioral therapy (CBT) are crucial in our treatment programs.
However, incorporating complementary practices like yoga enhances the effectiveness of the treatment plan.
Yoga in addiction recovery supports the therapeutic process by:
  • Promoting relaxation
  • Reducing stress
  • And enhancing emotional regulation

Balanced Approach to Recovery

Integrating yoga into traditional addiction treatment modalities offers a balanced approach that addresses the multifaceted nature of recovery. For example, yoga sessions can be scheduled alongside individual therapy sessions during residential programs.

This combination allows patients to process their emotions and experiences in therapy and then release physical and mental tension through yoga practice. The synergy between yoga and traditional therapies helps create a more holistic treatment experience.

Support Networks

Additionally, yoga in addiction recovery can help people build a supportive community. Group yoga classes provide a sense of camaraderie and shared experience, which can be incredibly empowering.
Participants find encouragement and motivation from practicing alongside others who are also on their recovery journey. This helps maintain sobriety and foster a positive recovery environment.

Beginner-Friendly Approach to Practicing Yoga in Addiction Recovery

Yoga in addiction recovery is designed to be accessible to everyone, regardless of their experience or physical fitness level. At New Choices Treatment Center, we emphasize a beginner-friendly approach to ensure that everyone can participate and benefit from the practice.
This includes teaching:
  • Accessible poses
  • Simple breathing techniques
  • Basic mindfulness practices

Accessible Poses

For those new to yoga, starting with basic poses is essential. These poses are easy to learn and can be modified to accommodate different fitness levels and physical conditions.
Some of the beginner-friendly poses include:
  • Mountain Pose (Tadasana): This is a foundational pose that helps improve posture and balance.
  • Child’s Pose (Balasana): This is a gentle stretch that promotes relaxation and relieves tension in the back.
  • Cat-Cow Pose (Marjaryasana-Bitilasana): This flowing sequence warms up the spine and increases flexibility.
  • Tree Pose (Vrksasana): This balancing pose enhances focus and stability.4
These simple yet effective poses help people build confidence and become more comfortable with their bodies. Over time, as their strength and flexibility improve, they can gradually progress to more advanced poses.

Breathing Techniques

Breathing techniques, or pranayama, are integral to yoga in addiction recovery. These techniques help calm the mind, reduce stress, and improve well-being.
Some beginner-friendly breathing exercises include:
  • Deep belly breathing (diaphragmatic breathing): This involves inhaling deeply through the nose, allowing the abdomen to expand, and exhaling slowly.
  • Alternate nostril breathing (Nadi Shodhana): This exercise involves balancing the breath by inhaling through one nostril and exhaling through the other.
  • Equal breathing (Sama Vritti): This exercise is done by inhaling and exhaling for the same duration. This, in turn, provides a sense of balance and calm.
Practicing these breathing techniques can help people manage anxiety and cravings. This makes it easier to stay focused and grounded in their recovery journey.

Mindfulness Practices

At New Choices Treatment Center, we incorporate basic mindfulness practices into our yoga sessions, such as:
  • Body scan meditation: This guided meditation encourages people to focus on different parts of their body, releasing tension and promoting relaxation.
  • Loving-kindness meditation (Metta): A practice that involves sending feelings of compassion and love to oneself and others. This, in turn, fosters a sense of connection and emotional well-being.
  • Mindful movement: This encourages people to move slowly and deliberately, paying attention to each movement and sensation.

The Importance of Personalizing Yoga in Addiction Recovery

Note that yoga in addiction recovery is not a one-size-fits-all approach. Every person has unique needs, preferences, and goals, and it is important to tailor the practice to suit these differences.
At New Choices Treatment Center, we encourage personal empowerment by offering a flexible and adaptive yoga program.

Exploring Different Styles of Yoga

There are various styles of yoga, each with its focus and benefits. Some people may prefer Hatha yoga’s slow, gentle movements. However, others might enjoy the more dynamic and physically demanding Vinyasa yoga.
By exploring different styles, clients will be able to find the type of yoga that resonates with them and supports their recovery.

Adapting Poses and Practices

We emphasize the importance of listening to one’s body and making adjustments as needed. This might involve using props such as blocks, straps, or cushions to modify poses and make them more accessible.
It also means recognizing when to take a break or modify a pose to avoid discomfort or injury.

Setting Personal Goals

Setting personal goals is an integral part of yoga in addiction recovery. These goals can be physical, such as improving flexibility or strength, or mental. By setting and working toward these goals, clients can track their progress and stay motivated.
Celebrating small achievements along the way also helps build a sense of accomplishment.

Integrating Yoga in Addiction Treatment

At NCTC, we recognize that every person’s journey to recovery is unique, and their yoga practice should reflect that. That’s why we offer individual yoga sessions tailored to each person’s specific needs and abilities.
These one-on-one sessions provide a personalized approach to yoga. Thus, they ensure that clients receive the support and guidance they need to thrive in their recovery.
Here’s what our yoga in addiction recovery therapy entails:

Personalized Instruction

During individual yoga sessions, our experienced instructors work closely with each client. This ensures we can create a practice that meets their goals and addresses your challenges.
Whether they’re new to yoga or have been practicing for years, our instructors adapt the session to accommodate each client’s skill level. This allows them to explore yoga at their own pace, building confidence and mastery over time.

Customized Practices

We understand that everyone comes to yoga with different physical abilities and limitations. Our instructors tailor the yoga practice to accommodate any injuries, chronic conditions, or mobility issues our clients may have. They do this by modifying poses and sequences as needed.
This, in turn, ensures that clients can safely and effectively participate in the practice. By customizing yoga in addiction therapy to suit each person’s body and abilities, we create a supportive environment where everyone can experience the benefits of yoga.

Goal-Oriented Approach

Individual yoga sessions in addiction therapy are goal-oriented. This means that they focus on each person’s specific needs and objectives.

Whether clients want to reduce stress or cultivate mindfulness, our instructors work collaboratively with them to set achievable goals and develop a plan to reach them.

Group Yoga Classes

In addition to individual sessions, we offer group yoga classes as part of our comprehensive treatment program.
Here are some major benefits of group therapy for yoga in addiction:
  • Community Support: Group yoga classes allow people in recovery to connect with others who share similar experiences and goals. Practicing yoga together creates a sense of camaraderie and mutual support. This, in turn, helps people feel less isolated and more supported in their journey. The group setting also provides accountability and encouragement. As a result, patients are motivated to stay committed to their practice and their recovery.
  • Shared Experience: Practicing yoga in a group setting allows for shared experiences. This, in turn, creates a rich and dynamic learning environment. As clients progress in their practice, they can inspire and support each other. The shared experience of practicing yoga together also builds trust and camaraderie, thereby strengthening community bonds.
  • Inclusive Environment: Our group yoga classes are open to people of all ages, fitness levels, and backgrounds. Our instructors create a welcoming and inclusive environment where everyone feels valued and respected.

Incorporating Yoga Philosophy into Addiction Treatment

Yoga is also a philosophy that offers valuable insights and principles for living a fulfilling and meaningful life. At NCTC, we incorporate yoga philosophy into our treatment program to support people in their recovery journey.
This includes philosophies like:

Ahimsa (Non-Harming)

Ahimsa, or non-harming, is one of the foundational principles of yoga. It teaches people to cultivate compassion and kindness towards themselves and others. They also learn to avoid harm in thoughts, words, and actions.5
In addiction recovery, ahimsa encourages people to treat themselves with gentleness and understanding. It helps them recognize that healing is a journey that takes patience and self-compassion.
By practicing ahimsa, clients can break free from self-destructive patterns and cultivate a more loving and supportive relationship with themselves.

Santosha (Contentment)

Santosha, or contentment, is another essential principle of yoga. It encourages people to find satisfaction and peace within themselves, regardless of external circumstances.
Santosha teaches people to let go of attachments to material possessions, relationships, or substances and find happiness in the present moment.
By cultivating contentment, clients can:
  • Reduce cravings and impulsivity
  • Find fulfillment in the simple joys of life
  • Foster a sense of inner peace and balance
yoga in addiction

Celebrating Yoga in Addiction Recovery

As you progress in your recovery journey, it’s important to recognize and celebrate the growth and resilience cultivated through yoga. At NCTC, we believe that acknowledging milestones can motivate you to continue your practice and stay committed to your recovery.
These milestones might include:
  1. Mastering a new pose
  2. Completing a series of classes
  3. Maintaining a consistent practice for a certain period
Yoga in addiction recovery is a transformative practice that offers numerous physical, mental, and emotional benefits. At New Choices Treatment Center, we invite all of our clients to explore the healing potential of yoga and integrate it into their recovery journey.

Get Started with Yoga at New Choices Treatment Center

Recovery is a journey, and yoga can be a powerful ally in this process. By embracing yoga in addiction recovery, you can cultivate a sense of peace, resilience, and self-compassion that supports long-term sobriety.
If you’re ready to experience the benefits of yoga in addiction recovery, we encourage you to take the first step by joining our yoga program. Whether you prefer individual sessions, group classes, or a combination of both, we have options to suit your needs and preferences.
Reach out to us to learn more about our yoga program and how it can support your recovery. Our team is available to answer any questions and help you get started.