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The use of yoga in recovery as part of an addiction treatment program may seem strange to some people who might still think of yoga as something more commonly associated with hippies. However, over time, yoga has become widely practiced by large numbers of people around the world. Some estimates put the number of people who practice yoga in the USA alone as being around 30 million.

The Origins of Yoga
Yoga was developed in India some 5000 years ago as a spiritual practice. The word Yoga means union, referring to the union with self. Patanjali, a great yoga sage said:

“Yoga stills the fluctuations of the mind, then the true self appears.”

This doesn’t mean that yoga is about being absorbed with the self. Yoga is about being in the world. Most people think about yoga as yoga postures, breathing and meditation. However, the true traditions also emphasize love, compassion, knowledge and right action as paths toward union.

Yoga Today
Today, it’s an accepted part of mainstream culture to the extent that the medical profession has not only warmed to it, but encourages the use of yoga to treat a growing range of conditions. People with chronic illnesses, injuries and those in post operative care all benefit from the physical, mental, emotional and spiritual effects of yoga.

Addiction specialists in private practice, rehabilitation programs and 12-step recovery programs also recognize that the mind-body-spirit approach of yoga is a hugely beneficial support to conventional treatments for drug and alcohol addictions.

The Benefits of Yoga in Recovery
The physical benefits that come with practicing yoga are impressive. Research shows that yoga helps manage or control anxiety, arthritis, asthma, back pain, blood pressure, chronic fatigue, depression, diabetes, epilepsy, headaches, heart disease, multiple sclerosis, stress and other conditions and diseases. In addition it:

  • Improves muscle tone, flexibility, strength and stamina
  • Reduces stress and tension
  • Boosts self esteem
  • Improves concentration and creativity
  • Lowers fat
  • Improves circulation
  • Stimulates the immune system
  • Creates a sense of well-being and calm

As you can see from that list, the effects of using yoga in recovery as part of an addiction treatment program are ideal for treating the results of long term addiction to drugs and alcohol, which take a big physical toll.

Additionally, people who abuse mind-alerting substances lose their connection with their internal spiritual world. They tend to be prone to more extreme emotions that are barely controlled and are on a hair trigger. Yoga helps addicts calm their anxieties and gain control over themselves so they can overcome their habitual responses and defenses. It directs the focus inward, helping them to center and go within so they can reconnect with spirit while taking their mind off their addiction.

Yoga helps to repair the damage that drugs and alcohol wreak on addicts from the inside out. It can be pursued as a spiritual path and for its psycho-physiological effects. Ultimately, it makes you feel really good.

Albert Black

Albert Black is the founder and CEO of Recovery in the Pines, the premier Christian-based, extended-care, addiction treatment center, located in Prescott, AZ, offering holistic wellness for drug and alcohol dependency. For more information about Recovery in the Pines, go to its website at: http://recoveryinthepines.com/ or contact Albert Black by phone at: (928) 308-4311or email at: albertblack@recoveryinthepines.com