In general terms, yoga is an exercise that benefits the body, mind and spirit through an integration of breathing techniques, strengthening exercises, postures and meditation. There are many types of yoga; all are beneficial.
Although yoga is a centuries-old practice, it is a relatively new treatment modality in the field of drug and alcohol addiction. Acceptance of yoga as a form of mind-body therapy is growing and the practice is becoming widely available at treatment and rehabilitation centers.
People often use drugs and alcohol to cope with serious trauma, depression, anxiety, or the stresses of everyday life, which never works and only makes matters worse. When combined with therapy and other forms of treatment, yoga helps break addiction patterns, releases “stuck” thinking patterns and provides both immediate and long-term benefits.
Although it requires dedication and practice, yoga improves overall physical and mental health, which helps to counteract the negative physical and emotional consequences of long-term use of drug and alcohol. It can restore balance, a sense of inner peace and overall well-being that has been lacking, often for many years.
Yogic deep-breathing requires inward-thinking, which promotes self-confidence and an improved ability to resist the urge to abuse the body with drugs and alcohol. As practitioners become more centered, negative emotions such as shame, guilt, anger and hostility are released. People who practice yoga become more compassionate toward themselves, and in turn, towards other people.
Although yoga is a highly spiritual practice that promotes inner thought and a greater understanding of a person’s place in the world, it is not a religious practice and it is not associated with any particular religion.