This Ask An Expert comes from Noelle Rodriguez, the founder of LiFE, a yoga, music and art studio in the Philippines.
Yoga in your road to recovery
The road to recovery from any addiction may be a hard and tiring journey, but, thanks to the people who go through the same thing, more and more coping mechanisms and practices are being done to help battle it.
One of the most popular activities that are claimed to help many people succeed in being sober is Yoga. Aside from the physical benefits one can get from this meditative workout, it is also a useful and effective way towards a healthier emotional life, free of alcohol.
Why Yoga and how does it actually help?
According to experts, substance addiction is always a manifestation that people lose touch with their bodies and minds. Addiction is a ‘three-fold disease’ that affects the mental, physical and spiritual nature of a person.
Rooting from the Sanskrit language, Yoga directly means ‘union’. It is known to be a workout that brings union to one’s mind and body.
Through Yoga, the connection and balance between the two most important components of life (body and mind) can be reinstated, and many other health benefits are also gained.
Yoga can be drastically helpful during the early stages of staying sober, when the body is battling with the mind. This causes high levels of stress and emotional confusion. During the early phase of recovery, the state of mind and body is very distant from ease.
Through Yoga, people can rebuild their physical strength, as well as remain calm and collected till they are strong enough – mentally and physically – to continue their own success story against addiction.
Scientifically speaking, mind-body exercises have shown improvements in attaining sobriety. Many studies have been made to prove that Yoga has been helpful for people who are recovering from alcohol dependence.
Here are five ways mindfulness and yoga help the road to recovery.
1. Reduce stress and anxiety
If you are having a hard time coping with stress and anxiety, Yoga is one of the most effective activity to calm your nerves and thoughts. Poor stress management and high levels of anxiety is one of the most common reasons of substance abuse, especially alcohol addiction. People on the road to recovery who suffer from stress and anxiety can have a harder time succeeding, so do some Yoga, relax and think straight towards success.
2. Improve attention and awareness
Yoga, as a mindful practice encourages mindful attention. This helps people in recovery to understand their behavioral patterns and observe triggers for relapse and substance use. Through the mind and body workout Yoga allows, one can stay focus on their goal.
3. Reduce cravings
Aside from stress, cravings are the most usual culprit for relapse. One study has found that mindfulness training, which can be achieved through Yoga, can drastically reduce cravings, especially when you go through a negative experience or depressing feelings.
4. Improve mood
Staying on the road to sobriety is really a battle of the mind and emotions. Negative emotions are also linked to relapse potential. In order for a person to avoid feeling down and depressed, Yoga’s principle and practice of deep breathing have shown impressive results in improving moods, especially for people going through addiction recovery.
5. Encourage a nonjudgmental attitude
The real enemy of people moving forward in recovery is themselves. Meditation brought in by Yoga helps you accept your flaws and your true self without self-loathing, criticism or blame. The ability to be compassionate towards yourself allows you to appreciate your efforts, and try again each time you falter.
Noelle spends her days meeting creative people and devising ways to further innovate in the health and wellness industry. She also teaches yoga and coaches people to be their greatest selves. You can learn more about her at her website here. You can also follow her on Facebook and Instagram.