Yoga is an ancient system of physical and mental techniques that link and integrate the mind, body, and breath. Yoga evolved as a set of practices in South India, and from there has spread worldwide.  Yoga is modern times is a living, evolving tradition – a way of life not associated with any particular religion (though some forms of Hinduism promote yoga as theirs). In the US, 36 million people have tried yoga, and 20 million practice yoga sometimes to frequently.

In yoga practice, we synchronize breath and movement, while paying attention and noticing our reactions. The combination of movement, present-moment focus of attention (mindfulness), and breathing is the key to yoga’s health-giving effects. Participants can learn to self-regulate the nervous system, release stress hormones, regulate adrenaline, and develop new ways to cope with negative thoughts and painful emotions, depression, anxiety, and reactivity.

A popular expression is “the opposite of addiction is connection.” And it’s true that addiction often results in losing connection to how your own mind and body feel. We may misuse substances as a way to numb and disconnect from painful aspects of life, especially traumas that we may have experienced. So, how does yoga help in addiction recovery? Yoga supports addiction recovery by working directly with the mind/body connection and reducing harmful stress. There are FIVE key benefits of yoga for recovery:

Yoga (re)builds a healthy body

Yoga helps to relieve and release stress

Yoga helps to restore balance to our nervous system

Yoga allows us to experience calmness

Yoga increases our ability to give up harmful habits

@Dori Digenti 2019. All rights reserved