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Is Yoga Used in Rehab?

Substance use disorders affect millions of Americans of all ages. Thousands of programs are available throughout the nation to help those struggling with addictions to drugs or alcohol get sober and learn the vital relapse prevention tools necessary to remain free from addiction throughout their lives. In a New Jersey treatment program like Relevance Recovery, different therapy models, including traditional and alternative approaches, are used to offer a holistic or “whole person” approach to addiction treatment. Unlike many conventional rehab programs, holistic approaches include complementary therapies like yoga.

What is Yoga?

Yoga is a spiritual practice used to promote physical and emotional health. The classical yoga practice includes many spiritual elements; however, traditional yoga, as practiced in the United States, is a series of physical postures and breathing techniques combined with meditation. There are several yoga styles. Some are very gentle and easily practiced by almost anyone, whereas others are physically demanding and complex.

Yoga practice has been around for more than 5,000 years. As a result, the practice has evolved and grown with time. As noted above, there are several types or branches of yoga. Perhaps the most familiar include:

Hatha Yoga

The physical and psychological branch of yoga that aims to focus the body and mind.

Raja Yoga

A branch of yoga that incorporates meditation and a strict adherence to a set of disciplinary steps called the eight limbs of yoga.

Karma Yoga

This branch of yoga looks to create a future mindset free from selfishness and negativity.

Bhakti Yoga

A yoga practice that aims to develop a positive, healthy way to channel emotions, acceptance, and tolerance.

Jnana Yoga

A yoga path that focuses on wisdom and intellect through study.

The popularity of yoga has also led to other types of yoga practice, including ashtanga yoga, hot yoga, Iyengar yoga, Kundalini yoga, power yoga, restorative yoga, vinyasa yoga, and Yin yoga. Many of these less historic yoga practices combine the concepts and ideas of the above branches into a more modern and sometimes more physically demanding yoga practice.

Is Yoga Used in Rehab?

Yoga is a complementary or “alternative” therapy model. This means that it is often used as a component of a comprehensive addiction treatment program. Yoga is not a replacement for traditional therapy models but rather a therapeutic model used in addition to conventional addiction therapy. Several studies suggest yoga is beneficial in all aspects of addiction treatment. Currently, yoga is used as part of substance abuse treatment programs to help with relapse prevention, reduce cravings and the intensity of withdrawal symptoms, and provide a lifelong coping tool to manage future triggers and daily stressors that often lead to relapse after treatment.

What are the Benefits of Yoga in Addiction Recovery?

Yoga has many benefits both as part of addiction recovery and a long-term healthy lifestyle. Regular yoga practice can help increase strength and stamina, reduce stress, relieve pain, increase energy, improve your sleep, and so much more.

Yoga for addiction recovery may help heal the brain and body. Long-term drug and alcohol use leads to changes in both the brain structure and how the brain functions. Yoga is believed to address and reverse many of those changes naturally. Additionally, yoga used in rehab settings offers many emotional benefits and spiritual benefits. Incorporating yoga into recovery programs helps you focus on your body and emotions. Yoga also enables you to develop self-awareness and take ownership of your behaviors and actions.

Other benefits of yoga for recovering addicts are increased energy, improved diet, and better sleep. These are basic needs that are often adversely impacted by withdrawal symptoms. When you “feel better” overall, you are physically and emotionally able better handle stressors and challenges that arise as part of your recovery journey.

How to Find Yoga Therapy for Addiction

When people talk about (or think about) yoga practice, they envision stretching and poses. But, the advantages of yoga go far beyond enhancing flexibility. As part of a comprehensive addiction treatment program at Relevance Recovery, yoga offers several short and long-term benefits. As part of addiction treatment, yoga can help you manage withdrawal symptoms and focus your mind on healing and recovering from addiction. Yoga is a healthy practice that provides lasting relapse prevention and physical and emotional health benefits in the long term. 
Contact us today to learn more about yoga therapy for addiction and New Jersey outpatient treatment programs.

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