Addiction is a chronic medical disease. Like many other diseases, it is prone to relapse. Drug dependence has relapse rates of 40% to 60%, which is comparable to asthma (50% to 70%) and Type 1 diabetes (30% to 50%). Mindfulness activities like meditation and yoga for addiction recovery are accessible additions to a medication assisted treatment program to reduce stress and maintain sobriety. This article explains the benefits of yoga for addiction treatment and recommends simple yoga poses that people in recovery can perform at home.
Does Yoga and Meditation Treat Addiction?
No, yoga and meditation do not treat addiction directly; however, they are promising stress management tools.
Stress is a contributing factor to post-acute withdrawal syndrome, causing cravings, exhaustion, and cognitive impairment that do not go away for an extended period. It is at this point that a person is more likely to relapse to ease the discomfort. According to The Mayo Clinic, yoga may help reduce stress and anxiety as well as improve mood and wellbeing.
The benefits of yoga and meditation are not isolated to individuals experiencing post-acute withdrawal syndrome. Mindfulness activities like meditation — characterized as focused attention and open monitoring — can help individuals regulate emotions, control compulsions and cravings, and retain more information.
3 Easy-to-Follow Yoga Poses for Addiction Recovery
Meditation is not just just sitting in a perfect Lotus pose. Yoga asanas are postures that combine movement and breathwork. This mindful movement practice requires you to focus on certain parts of the body, grounding and breathing. Ultimately, yoga has some of the many benefits of meditation like emotion regulation.
You can practice yoga on your own to help with your journey toward recovery, or you can talk to your treatment facility for advice on getting started. There are several yoga asanas that facilitate a mind-body connection, and we’ve listed a few beginner poses that you can perform at home.
Balasana, Child’s Pose
Balasana comes from two Sanskrit words: Bal (child) and asana (posture). This pose helps relieve stress by easing tension on the lower back. To enter this pose, start kneeling on the ground with heels facing upward. First, inhale through the nose, and then as you exhale, lower your head towards the ground. You can either extend your arms towards the front of your space, or keep them at your sides. While holding this pose, inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. To exit, slowly lift your torso, using your hands for additional support. Balasana flexes the internal organs, encourages steady breathing, and relieves neck and back pain.
Vajrasana, Sitting Mountain Pose
Vajrasana comes from the Varja (diamond or thunderbolt) and asana (posture). This pose is beneficial for spine alignment. To perform this pose, kneel in a seated position while keeping your back straight. Keep your shoulders relaxed and chest open. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth and feel your stress melt away. The Vajrasana pose helps relieve back pain, cures digestive acidity, and keeps the mind stable.
Savasana, Corpse Pose
To perform Savasana, lie on your back with legs parted slightly. Your arms should be relaxed at your sides with the palms facing upward. Inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Savasna relaxes the muscles, balances the central nervous system, and aids in digestion.
There are many other yoga poses that are practiced for stress relief and beneficial for those in addiction recovery, but those require guidance from professional yoga practitioners. To be safe, always consult your physician or treatment provider before starting anything.
Healing and Recovering from Addiction with MATClinics
The best thing about yoga and meditation is that they are accessible. However, long-term success and sustainable treatment results are a product of a combination of medical and behavioral approaches.
MATClinics helps people recover from opioid addiction through medication-assisted treatment, combining prescription medications, like Suboxone, with counseling and behavioral therapy. We help patients overcome addiction by addressing the physical, social, and emotional barriers to recovery. If you or a loved one are living with a substance use disorder, don't hesitate to contact us for help.