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Yoga for Addiction Treatment 2017-03-07T11:13:58+00:00
  • Yoga for Addiction Treatment

Yoga for Addiction Treatment

In general terms, Yoga is recognized as an ancient system of philosophies, principles and practices derived from the Vedic tradition of India and the Himalayas, thousands of years ago. It’s a system that recognizes the multi-dimensional nature of the human person, and primarily relates to the nature and workings of the mind, based on experiential practice and self-enquiry. At White Sands Tampa, we employ yoga for addiction treatment as an alternative therapy for recovery.

In Yoga, the body, mind, and spirit are seen as a union of these multi-dimensional aspects of each and every human being. The system and its various techniques cultivate the experience of that union, leading to greater integration of being, internal peacefulness, and clarity of the mind. In other words, it’s a system designed to cultivate health, happiness, and a greater sense of self-awareness and higher consciousness.

Yoga cultivates health and wellbeing (physical, emotional, mental and social) through the regular practice of a range of many different techniques, including: postures, movement, breathing exercises, relaxation, concentration, self-inquiry and meditation.

For those seeking a higher sense of being, this represents a true approach to life, one that values appropriate effort, based on balance and harmony, within each person and with each other.

History of Yoga

Yoga is a philosophy that began in India an estimated 5,000 years ago. The word, derived from the Sanskrit “yuj” means to yoke or bind and is often interpreted as “union” or a method of discipline.

The earliest signs of Yoga appear in ancient Shamanism (Healers). Evidence of yoga postures were found on artifacts that date back to 3,000 B.C. and they include a compilation of hymns and prayers that study topics ranging from divine harmony to a personal greater being.

The primary goal of this “shamanistic practice” was to heal members of the community, teach them how to understand the World, and finding self-enlightenment. By the 6th century B.C., meditation was included as a critical element to this philosophy and implemented by Buddhist teachings.

With time, Yoga Masters created a system of practices designed to rejuvenate the body and prolong life, with techniques aimed to cleanse the body and mind, and to break the knots that bind us to just a physical existence.

Today, these ancient mind and body healing methods sparked fervor in the scientific community as an alternative and complementary means of therapy.

Heal and Recover. How can Yoga Help with Addiction Recovery?

The traditional practice of Yoga was primarily concerned with personal enlightenment. Today, the focus has shifted towards a holistic treatment modality for various somatic or psychological dysfunctions. Yoga has also been used to provide relief from stressful psychological states, such depression, anxiety, mood-swings and addiction.

In addition, numerous studies have been performed to validate the use of yoga as a complementary alternative treatment modality in various neurological disorders.
Because of its self-work approach, Yoga proves to be a successful support mechanism for people seeking to recover from an addiction. Using the different physical postures and controlled breathing exercises, the practice of Yoga increases flexibility, calms the mind, improves concentration, and promotes patience.

It can also contribute to a greater sense of control in more acute states when experiencing cravings, insomnia, agitation, etc.

We at White Sands Tampa believe that using Yoga for drug treatment is a natural companion to 12-Step based recovery, because it shares many of the same goals and teaches participants how to achieve those goals.

Practicing Yoga for drug treatment supports a person’s drug/alcohol rehab efforts because:

  • It Teaches New Coping Mechanisms: At the core of addiction is a person’s inability to cope with difficult thoughts or emotions. Much of counseling will focus on helping individuals to recognize this and teaching them new ways to cope with stressful life situations. Yoga teaches the use of controlled breathing as a means of gaining control of thoughts and emotions.
  • It Helps Individuals Achieve Balanced Peace: Yoga for addiction recovery is extremely helpful because it assists the person in feeling and expressing acceptance of themselves and of the problem they have. Those who abuse drugs or alcohol may have reached for substances to find an escape because they lacked their own sense of peace.
  • It Emphasizes Making a Spiritual Connection: Another core value in most 12-Step Rehab programs is admitting that problems are too big for you to handle alone. Healing addiction with Yoga helps, because the philosophy emphasizes making a spiritual connection through meditation and prayer.
  • It Trains Self-Discipline: Impulsivity is a common trait among addicts. Yoga for drug treatment helps because it supports self-discipline and teaches self-control giving practitioners tools for positively directing their emotions.

Could Yoga for Addiction Recovery be Right for Me?

Yoga for addiction recovery is also helpful in keeping the practitioner on a healthier path. The exercise benefits both the body and mind – which is the core of the philosophy – by: improving circulation, strengthening the heart, maintaining a good weight, relieving stress, sharpening the mind, and aiding in sweating toxins out of the body.

Furthermore, using Yoga for drug treatment has an extremely important focus; it draws awareness away from external stimuli (the abused substance) and directs the attention inward. Thus, the practitioner is able to build a connection to his/her inner world and higher self.

Healing addiction with Yoga eliminates reactiveness, meaning that a steady practice gives the necessary space between thoughts and the centeredness in a response.

Recovery can be a long and strenuous path, but using Yoga for addiction treatment can bring to the table numerous benefits for the practitioner. In fact, many treatment centers now realize these benefits and offer regular classes within their programs as a positive addition.

For individuals in recovery, the path to a healthier life requires a multifaceted approach. Physical, emotional and spiritual growth are all vital parts of the success equation. One practice that embodies all of these elements is Yoga, and its use in recovery is a natural fit. Call White Sands Tampa at 1-877-640-7820 today to learn more about our yoga therapy program and all of our other alternative programs.

Sources:
http://www.biharyoga.net/yoga-vision/vedic-tradition/
http://iml.jou.ufl.edu/projects/Fall05/levy/history.html
http://www.apa.org/topics/therapy/
http://www.yogabasics.com/learn/history-of-yoga/
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3548360/

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