Prescription and illegal drug abuse is a growing health problem in the US. In fact, it is also a major cause for rising health expenses, deteriorating health and socio-economic issues. There are many treatment approaches that aim to treat drug abuse, such as medication-assisted detox, controlled drug therapy, counseling and other psychiatric support.
Understandably, many drug rehab centers have started to include yoga in their drug addiction recovery program. Moreover, medical researchers also urge further studies to cement the role of yoga in a drug addiction recovery program.
What is yoga and how can it help to recover from drug abuse?
Yoga is an ancient Indian philosophy that combines the physical, mental and spiritual aspects of an individual through different exercises known as yoga poses (asanas). Unlike conventional physical exercises, it connects the body with the mind and soul. Moreover, it offers a unique combination of workouts and relaxation techniques.
It teaches self-control, relaxation and attainment of the ultimate liberation which is called Moksha.
Though it entered the Western culture quite late, it received a warm welcome and gained much attention and acceptance in the recent years. As a result, western medical researchers have gradually started to acknowledge yoga's benefits.
Wondering how bending the body in different directions and taking deep breaths can help you recover from drug abuse? Here are some reasons why you should make yoga a part of your long road to addiction recovery.
Benefits of yoga in drug abuse recovery according to studies
The benefits of yoga in drug addiction recovery are unbelievably high in numbers. Notably, most of these are backed by the scientific studies. If you are a believer of modern science, some of the ideas may seem counterintuitive. However, after reading the following findings, you might change your mind and look forward to your next yoga routine.
A 2013 study suggests a promising role of yoga and mindfulness as a complementary therapy in treating and preventing drug abuse. By strengthening your self-control, yoga makes you more likely to avoid drugs and other illegal substances.
Various yoga poses and associated breathing exercises can reduce the symptoms of mental disorders. Additionally, it is a well-known fact that drug abuse and mental disorders appear simultaneously in a large number of addicts.
Yoga has the potential to establish itself as a cost-effective alternative to addiction treatment. Studies have revealed that the combination of yoga and psychotherapy is more beneficial than the conventional methadone treatment.
Rhythmic breathing exercises that are a common part of yoga may also reduce cravings for nicotine. Researchers are trying to succeed in reproducing this result in a large population. As a result, yoga may become an effective way to reduce the incidence of tobacco-related cancers.
By improving the quality of life, yoga can benefit individuals undergoing detoxification for heroin addiction. In a nutshell, it’s an effective, low-cost alternative therapy intervention. Additionally, it promises a better and speedy recovery from drug addiction. With favorable results from numerous scientific studies, yoga is slowly making waves in the medical field. It’s likely that it will become an effective tool for individuals recovering from drug abuse and addiction.
Top 3 yoga poses that support addiction recovery
Doing yoga in the morning is an excellent way to start the day, energize your body and get back to a drug-free life. Wear loose-fitting clothes, choose a silent place and do not eat a heavy meal before your routine. If you don’t have an exercising mat, you can use a big towel. Lastly, always do yoga on a flat and hard surface.
Even a 20-minute workout is beneficial to your health. Don’t push yourself, start with simple poses. Once you gain some flexibility and confidence, you can move to more advanced routines that demand more experience.
Listed below are three poses that you should focus on while performing your routine.
1. Vajrasana (Seated Mountain Pose)
This pose improves your posture, boosts your confidence and prepares you for other complicated poses.
Start by kneeling on the floor. Your knees should point forward. For your comfort, you can put a pillow or folded towel under your buttocks. Relax your arms, sit straight and keep your chest open. Watch your breaths and feel the air moving in and out of the body. Continue like this for a few minutes before you move to the next pose.
2. Balasana (Child’s Pose)
Nothing is more peaceful than having a child’s innocence. This resting pose stretches your whole body and relieves stress.
Kneel down with your thighs slightly apart. Raise your hands over your head and slowly bring them in front to touch the floor with the palms. Keep your arms stretched towards the mat and continue breathing as naturally as possible. Try to relax all your muscles. Stay in this position for a few minutes.
3. Savasana (Corpse Pose)
You can do this pose in between the sequences of your yoga routine or at the end of it as a meditation pose. It reduces stress and symptoms of mild depression. In addition, it also helps to lower blood pressure and fatigue.
Lie on your back on a yoga mat and keep your legs apart. Spread your hands, your palms facing upwards. Breathe deeply and concentrate on your breaths – breathe in through your nose, breathe out through your mouth.
Note: If you have problems with your spine or any other medical problems, you should consult your doctor before starting any yoga exercises.
*This article was originally published on Addiction Resource.
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