This month we have a guest post from David Wilcox, a yoga instructor and creator of HeroinAddict.info, a resource for people and their families who are struggling with heroin addiction. David teaches yoga classes at community centers and rehab facilities and attributes much of his recovery to yoga.
It took a lot of time, sweat, and effort, but you finally did it. The proverbial monkey is off your back, and you’re now in addiction recovery. The hard part might have been getting here, but that’s not to say your life will be easy from now on. As an addict, you will continue to face struggles and trials.
Thankfully, you don’t have to do it alone. Not only can your family and friends give you support, but there are a myriad of holistic methods (like these) that can bolster your recovery. In fact, researchers are turning towards the ancient practice of yoga as a solid way to fight your addiction.
There are many different kinds of yoga out there, but they’re all based on the same principles. It’s an ancient form of discipline, exercise, and meditation that leads to a healthier lifestyle. Although doing stretches and difficult poses is a big part of yoga, it’s more than that.
Yoga helps improve your overall wellness, for both your body and your mind. There are some major physical benefits, such as increased flexibility, stronger muscles, and better breathing. But because yoga aims to balance the mind and body, there are mental benefits as well. Even if you’re not in addiction recovery, yoga can help reduce anxiety and relieve stress.
This is not a sudden change, and it doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, the physical and mental wellness you gain from yoga begins to build as you continue to explore the different poses, breathing, and meditations.
Why Yoga Helps With Addiction
Those physical and mental benefits can help you stay sober. One of the biggest problems recovering addicts face on the road to recovery is the dreaded relapse. When you become overly stressed and anxious, years of work can be ruined by falling back into your old habits and patterns. This is where yoga can help.
Yoga stretches and meditation can help bring you feelings of peace and comfort. As you reduce your stress level, you are less likely to turn to whatever high became a problem in the first place.
And yoga helps with much more than anxiety and stress. As your mind and body get used to yoga, it begins to draw your attention inward to your own self. That means you have less need for an artificial high — the natural “high” from yoga exercises and meditations begins to replace it. And because you’ll likely do yoga with others, it can even give you a sense of community.
Yoga Poses That Help
Because there are many types of yoga, all the different methods can be overwhelming.
Which ones can help your addiction recovery the best? Try these.
- Spinal Breathing Pranayama: A combination of meditation and breathing that calms your mind.
- Fish Pose: The name might be silly, but it’s a great way to stretch muscles deep within your body to release some tension and stress.
- Downward Facing Dog: One of the more famous poses, this exercises your muscles but also releases mental tension.
You Need All The Help You Can Get
Addiction recovery is something you can work on alone at times, but there will be plenty of days when you’ll need additional help. Again, friends and family are great sources for help and support, but consider trying something new, and look at yoga as a way to relieve stress, calm your mind, and help you maintain your sobriety.
Author: David Wilcox