Long gone are the days when the only people doing yoga were women adorned in tie-dye dresses and flowing wavy hairstyles. Now, with strong iconic men like Shaquille O’Neal, LeBron James and other professional athletes practicing yoga, the old stereotypes are fading away.
Many professional sports teams encourage their players to engage in regular yoga for flexibility and injury prevention. Bodybuilders incorporate yoga into their routines to improve range of motion and muscle stability.
The Many Health Benefits of Doing Yoga
The health benefits of yoga have been documented in numerous scientific studies. Researchers have found so many health benefits, in fact, it is almost easier to say what yoga does not improve than what it does.
For example, did you know doing yoga improves your sex life? Yes, yoga increases libido and sexual performance.
Here are just a few of the many health benefits of yoga:
- Helps depression
- Reduces stress
- Improves self-esteem
- Helps anxiety
- Encourages feelings of well-being
- Improves flexibility
- Strengthens bones
- Lowers blood sugar
- Boosts your immune system
- Decreases pain
- Inspires a healthy lifestyle
- Focuses you on the present
- Gives you peace of mind
- Builds awareness through meditation
- Encourages self-care
Yoga as an Addiction Recovery Tool
Yoga is an important part of a holistic addiction recovery program aimed at healing the whole person – mind, body and spirit. It promotes a sense of inner peace and calm, lessens pain, and helps people deal with anxiety, depression and other psychological complications.
Often those who become addicted to drugs or alcohol are escaping pain, physically or emotionally. And sometimes hidden pain, once masked by the use of a substance, appears during recovery. Having alternatives to ease the discomfort, like yoga, can make the difference in a successful rehabilitation.
Doing yoga helps to keep the body’s stress hormones down and the mood-boosting chemicals up. An improved mood and emotional outlook gives people strength toward recovery and avoiding relapse.
Yoga as an Aid to Healing
Yogis often report feeling strong and empowered after a yoga session. Whatever your religious or spiritual beliefs, you can incorporate them into yoga philosophy. The philosophy is simply about stilling the mind and balancing the nervous system. You can transcend your present experience. It can get better.
Try out a couple of yoga poses for yourself. And if you cannot go into the postures completely, accept yourself, breathe deeply and think affirming thoughts. Work within your own abilities.
Chair Pose — Utkatasana
The Chair Pose is great for control.
Mind: Also called Thunderbolt Pose, this posture is about attaining power and fierceness.
Body: This exercise strengthens ankles, shoulders, glutes, spine and quads. It also stimulates the abs and diaphragm.
Spirit: Holding this pose and staying in the moment shows you are serious about growth in your life and forging your own way to success.
Below are step-by-step instructions, as well as a demo video.
- Stand with your feet apart at hip width.
- Inhale deeply while bringing your hands straight above your head, palms open.
- Exhale slowly while bending your knees as if you are sitting on an invisible chair.
- Shift your weight onto your heels while breathing smoothly and evenly.
- Hold the Chair Pose for one minute, then exhale while bringing your arms to your sides and standing.
Child’s Pose — Balasana
This pose is especially good for addiction recovery.
Mind: Holding this pose relieves anxiety and mental fatigue. It inspires feelings of safety and security.
Body: This exercise stretches your back and arms, relieves shoulder tension and relaxes your entire body.
Spirit: During this pose, focus on the affirmation: “I rest in trust and patience.”
Here are the steps for the pose and a demo video:
- Kneel down on a mat or carpet.
- Inhale deeply while sitting back on your heels.
- Exhale slowly while laying your head forward onto the floor.
- Lay your arms down by your sides, palms up.
- Hold the Child’s Pose for five minutes.
Yoga at Reflections Recovery Center
Yoga is one of the many cutting-edge therapies we employ at Reflections Recovery Center as part of our holistic treatment program. We have tailored our yoga program specifically for addiction recovery.
Participants in our program benefit from yoga because it reconnects them with their body, reintroduces them to healthy and natural physical sensation, reduces stress, and induces feelings of peace and contentment.