Many people in recovery will attest to how helpful yoga has been for them. Yoga can help a person deal with underlying issues related to their substance use disorder, like anxiety and depression. It can also help them address symptoms of their substance use disorder, like cravings and triggers. Additionally, yoga provides a way of dealing with chronic pain issues that can contribute to substance use disorders.

A big component of yoga is the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness is a practice in which a person utilizes their senses to stay focused on the present. Yoga pairs motion with breathing, which helps participants keep their attention in the present moment. When dealing with anxiety, depression, and cravings, a person’s mind is often fixated in the past or the future. Yoga can be a very helpful way of addressing these issues as it offers a way to redirect one’s mind back to the present.

Yoga also encourages people to turn their focus inward and pay attention to the way their bodies feel physically and emotionally. When practicing yoga, people learn to simply observe these feelings without passing judgement on them. In recovery, people can sometimes judge themselves for continuing to experience cravings or for being triggered by experiences they think they “should” be able to handle. Yoga teaches the ability to observe feelings without judgement. This can be a great way of finding understanding and compassion towards experiences in recovery that have previously been frustrating.

Many substance use disorders are impacted by physical pain, and when someone is in recovery, prescription painkillers may not always be a treatment option. Yoga can address physical pain without addictive medications. Knowledgeable yoga instructors will be able to provide insight into positions and stretches that can address painful parts of the body. They can also provide accommodations for positions that are not doable due to injuries. After practicing yoga for a few weeks, people should begin noticing an improvement in how they are feeling.

Yoga has the ability to have a positive impact on both physical and mental health. Much of the underlying issues and symptoms related to substance use disorders have to do with being focused on the past or future. Yoga teaches people to live in the present. Some substance use disorders are related to chronic pain issues. Yoga teaches people that there are natural ways of dealing with pain. Take a step towards a healthier recovery and lifestyle by practicing yoga today.