When many people think of yoga, they think of girls talking over their Starbucks Latte about how their afternoon yoga class was just the best. They think of it as the en vogue thing to do right now and how it is just a passing fad that with time will fade into obscurity like the other workout trends we have seen in the past. But they would be wrong.
Yoga is not some new-agey development, but rather has been around for almost 5,000 years. The physical and psychological benefits that yoga can offer a person are well documented and given how you can perform yoga anywhere and the varying levels of difficult, its benefits are available to anyone.
In particular, there has been a movement in the past ten years to incorporate yoga into the treatment process for drug addiction and alcoholism. Many treatment centers have started to offer yoga as a part of their standard treatment protocol and it has been wildly successful, not only because many of the clients enjoy it, but also because it is something that they can continue to do after they finish the treatment program.
So let’s take a look at the benefits of yoga in sobriety and see why this ancient form of meditation and athletics is finding a new home in the world of drug treatment.
Benefits of Doing Yoga in Sobriety
I have a friend who is a huge proponent of doing yoga in sobriety and so in thinking about writing this, I asked him his take on why it is so beneficial. He told me that when he was first getting sober, he worked a job that required him to wake up at 4:30 in the morning and after 6 months of doing this he was starting to lose it. He told me that he wouldn’t go to bed until midnight and so operating on 4 and a half hours of sleep for months at a time started to take it’s toll on him. He was at the point where he felt like he had to quit his job, but he didn’t have any other options, so he knew he had to hold on for a bit.
One day, his friend invited him to go to yoga with her and he went, not really expecting anything, but what he found was incredible. He said that after that yoga class, he was more relaxed than he had ever been in his life. He said that sweating and having to focus on his breathing and the poses allowed him to quiet his mind in a way that he was never able to do before and that when he was driving home he nearly crashed his car because he was so relaxed. He felt invigorated and so he started to go to yoga once a week and found that doing so allowed him to deal with his job and continue on until he found something new.
This is the same tale told by many people who practice yoga in sobriety and they say that it offers them an ability to quiet their mind in a way that they just cannot do through traditional means of meditation.
Many people who enter into treatment describe having racing thoughts and an inability to sit still, to the point where if you ask them to sit in silent meditation for 5 minutes, it is tantamount to torture. Yet it is vitally important for them to find a way to alleviate their stress and give a break to their already overtaxed mind, and this is where yoga comes in. Yoga allows people to experience a meditative state when they cannot achieve this through other means. It allows them to, for at least an hour a week, focus on the present and drop all of their worries about the past or future.
The health benefits of meditation, like those achieved during yoga, are well documented and it has been shown that meditating just a little bit each week gives a person a clearer mind, making them happier and more productive. So for addicts and alcoholics who are newly sober or have been sober for years, doing yoga and getting into that meditative state can be extremely beneficial to their recovery. It can allow them to stop the constant chatter of their mind and get out of their head and in doing so, it can give them clarity on their life or problems they may be experiencing.
Yoga also has physical benefits because it is a fairly physically strenuous activity. Holding various poses for a couple of seconds may seem pretty easy, but doing so proves otherwise. It builds strength in the core and offers physical exercise for people who have probably neglected their body for quite some time. Many newly sober people are not in the greatest of shape, because alcohol and drugs take a toll on the body, so yoga can offer a way for them to get physical exercise without having to go to the gym, and the boost of endorphins from exercise also helps to promote emotional well-being, which is often times needed in early recovery.
There is really no downside to doing yoga, so if you are sober and would like a way to meditate, all while improving your physical condition, then give yoga a try. You will probably be pleasantly surprised by what you find.
Finding Treatment For Your Addiction or Alcoholism
Coming to terms with your addiction can be a difficult task. It is hard to admit that you are powerless over your ability to stop using and asking for help can be even more difficult. At Evolutions Treatment Center we understand this and many of our trained staff members have been exactly where you are right now. So if you believe you have a problem with drugs or alcohol and want to seek help, then call Evolutions Treatment Center today at 1-800-795-8527. We can help you find the support you need in order to finally overcome your addiction and get you on the path to recovery. We are standing by to help, so call today.