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When recovering from addiction, you must do everything you can to stay sober and get mentally and physically healthy again. Psychotherapy is the gold standard for addiction treatment, but you can regain your wellness in other ways.
At Samarpan deaddiction centre in Pune we offer yoga to all our clients. The simple restorative movements in our yoga classes provide immense benefit to everyone who practices them. And there are specific boons for those in substance abuse recovery. In this blog, we look at what these are.
Yoga has been practiced in India for thousands of years. The form of yoga now recognized by most people was first popularized in The Hatha Yoga Pradipika, a text written in the 15th century as a compilation of previous hatha yoga texts.
This book outlines the movements, breathing practices and meditation common in yoga studios worldwide. The Pradipika also details the chakra system and various ways of allowing energy to move around the body for spiritual benefit.
Today, many people still practice yoga for spiritual reasons, though it is perhaps more common for modern-day yogis to use yoga to stay in shape and reduce stress.
In recent years, addiction specialists have also discovered that yoga can be used to heal from addiction while reducing relapse rates. You can even go to a deaddiction centre in Pune and experience the benefits of yoga.
The benefits of practicing yoga for addiction recovery are legion, and these advantages increase the longer you practice.
Cravings for drugs and alcohol are the number one enemy of early recovery. At Samarpan, we find that the most effective way of reducing cravings is by going through a course of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. But we also consider addressing cravings a holistic approach, which involves a variety of different treatment modalities.
Yoga plays a crucial role in reducing cravings, and we have seen first-hand how effective yoga can be.
It is common for newly sober people to have crackly and aching joints. This can be caused by hormones not working effectively after years of substance abuse, sleeping in unusual positions, and the often sedentary lifestyle that people addicted to drugs and alcohol often have.
Yoga can assist with this. A yoga workout can balance hormones in the body, and the movement from yoga gets synovial fluid moving around the joints, which allows the joints to move more smoothly and reduces pain. Regular yoga practice can also keep joints healthy in the long term.
Long-term heavy substance abuse causes harm to the brain. Most of this damage can be undone by maintaining sobriety for an extended period, but it usually takes a while for this to happen.
Yoga increases neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to rewire and adapt. This increases the rate that positive brain changes can happen following cessation of substance use.
Yoga also balances neurotransmitters and affects dopamine regulation, which reduces the desire to use substances and other addictive behaviors to feel better.
After someone has been through the acute stage of withdrawal, they are not yet out of the woods. People who had been heavily addicted to substances must also go through Post Acute Withdrawal Symptoms (PAWS). These symptoms include depression, anxiety, mood swings, sleep disturbances, low energy and increased impulsivity.
This collection of withdrawal symptoms is not as severe as the acute stage, but it can be unpleasant enough to cause people to relapse. Practicing yoga reduces all these symptoms, which is a massive relief for those experiencing them.
In the last 20 years there has been a great deal of research on how yoga can positively affect relapse rates for those who practice it. There is now no debate: yoga can be a powerful addition to your recovery toolbox. Relapse rates drop markedly when you practice yoga consistently.
People who are newly clean and sober often find that their nerves are pretty delicate. There are a few reasons for this. Firstly, drugs and alcohol can damage the nervous system. When someone takes downers for a long time, their nerves are subdued. When they stop taking these substances after a long time, their nervous system suddenly goes into high alert and it can take a while to revert back to equilibrium. And when someone takes uppers for a long time, they can become very anxious, which can also take time to return to balance.
People drawn to substance use often begin using substances to medicate their anxiety. So when they stop using, they still have to face the anxiety the drugs and alcohol were masking. Substance abusers also tend to have trauma, which can contribute to anxiety.
Yoga can help reduce these nerves, which are often experienced by people in early recovery. During yoga, yogis stretch their muscles, which can release tension in the body. The focus on the body and breath can also help people who practice yoga feel less stressed.
Addiction can take a massive toll on the body. Often, people in addiction do not realize how much harm they have caused their bodies until they stop using drugs and alcohol, as these have an anesthetic effect on the body.
When the substances wear off, substance abusers realize how much damage they have done. It is common for those in early recovery to experience aches all over their bodies due to the harm caused by their drug and alcohol use, and the lifestyle caused by this use.
Practicing yoga releases endorphins in the brain, which play a key role at reducing pain. Yoga also reduces pain in the body by accelerating healing.
There is a reason why 12-step groups worldwide emphasize the importance of a spiritual awakening for long-term sobriety. Spirituality can play a transformative role in the life of someone recovering from substance addiction.
The original purpose of yoga was spiritual progress, and it can still be used for this reason, particularly if you can find a teacher who teaches an unadulterated form of yoga.
There is a tendency for those who are newly sober to have a problem letting go and be rigid in their beliefs and way of doing things. Changing patterns of behavior is crucial for addiction recovery, as this rigidity can impede recovery progress and ultimately cause relapse.
Yoga doesn’t just promote flexibility of the body. It also allows people who regularly practice it greater flexibility of the mind. This can increase willingness to participate in the recovery process and also enhance the ability to let go.
While yoga can be a powerful tool to aid addiction recovery, yoga alone is not enough for you to recover from severe addiction. At Samarpan Recovery, we support our clients’ recovery with psychotherapy to facilitate long-term healing.
We find that this wonderfully complements yoga. The flexibility of the mind, which is encouraged by yoga, can show itself in the therapy room with an enhanced willingness to be open and share what is happening. This greatly accelerates the process of healing from substance addiction.
At Samarpan deaddiction centre in Pune, we have seen the incredible benefits that yoga can have on people recovering from addiction. Yoga plays a vital part in helping our clients and facilitate yoga classes for all our clients, should they wish to join.
If you would like more information on how yoga can help with your addiction recovery or would like to visit our deaddiction centre in Pune, contact us today.
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