Yoga & Recovery
Stress plays a major role amongst many factors that lead to forming an addiction over time. Scientific studies have also shown that stress can increase the chances of relapse significantly. This makes sense because the addictive substance starts to represent instant gratification and an escape from life’s problems. Anytime stress arises in someone’s life, there is a magic pill or liquid that can alleviate that stress faster than most other legal medications.
The problem is that illegal substances are highly addictive compared to your standard anti-anxiety medications. However, there are alternatives to medicine that have been scientifically shown to reduce stress, like yoga. Yoga is often used in addiction recovery programs in Orange County as a supplement to treatment.
Mindfulness Meditation and Yoga
Yoga and mindfulness meditation have similar ideas about how to relieve stress and they often produce similar effects. Both meditation and yoga have been shown to increase stress resistance and decrease susceptibility to becoming addicted to a substance.
Mindfulness meditation is the mental practice of accepting your emotions, thoughts, and external sensations in a non-judgmental manner while attempting to keep your mind in the present moment for a certain period of time. Some people choose to meditate for 10 minutes while others can go an hour or longer. People often misunderstand meditation as this intense struggle to clear your mind when in reality meditation is simply listening to your mind without any resistance.
Like meditation, yoga is the practice of focusing your attention on your body in the present moment without thinking of the past or what you might do in the future. Yoga increases mindfulness, awareness of self, and self-esteem. These are all relevant factors when it comes to substance addiction.
Those who abuse substances may neglect their bodies because they have lost awareness of themselves and this could mean that they have low self-esteem. If yoga can reverse these aspects, then maybe the person will realize that they are worth more than an inanimate substance.
Yoga’s Effects on Drug Addiction
Those who practice yoga regularly have lower anxiety, higher pain tolerance, decreased stress, and lower blood pressure. The elimination of stress alone could increase someone’s chances of avoiding relapse or substance addiction altogether. Research shows that the mental states of addiction, a desire to escape reality, automatic thinking, emotional reactivity, and social isolation, are the opposite of what yoga does to the mind. When someone is addicted to a substance and experiences cravings to use again, they are not often pausing to think about what the consequences will be because of how intense those cravings can be. Yoga routinely pauses the mind to stop and think. One would hope that this routine develops into a habit that can apply to everything, including behaviors associated with addiction.
Seeking Therapy for Substance Addiction
If you feel like you cannot stop taking a substance like alcohol, cocaine, heroin, a prescription medicine, or a similar drug, call Chelsea By the Sea at 1 (844) 31-CLEAN. We will answer any questions you may have about California addiction and recovery programs and will give you information to help you find the right program for your specific needs and situation. Chelsea By the Sea provides a family-focused and pet-friendly environment with medically assisted detox, family interventions, and residential treatment.