Yoga has become quite a trend in recent years. The popularity of yoga pants has skyrocketed, even among those who don’t practice yoga. New styles of yoga, such as hot yoga, have gained massive followings. Even kids are getting involved in the practice of yoga. Today, yoga has moved beyond a household word. It has become a way of life that has greatly influenced our culture. For something that started as a spiritual practice thousands of years ago, yoga’s impact is pretty impressive. But how can yoga heal us?

Getting Back into Our Bodies

After using substances that harm our bodies, our physical health can take a toll. Long-term drug and/or alcohol use leads to countless health concerns and conditions, including damage to the liver, kidneys, cardiovascular system, and more. Additionally, addiction tends to put a damper on basic hygiene and physical care, such as diet and exercise. Overall, years of substance use results in a sense of being disconnected from our bodies. This disconnection includes a lack of awareness around basic physical needs in order to properly heal.

Whatever shape our bodies are in or health conditions we have, implementing some form of exercise at any level will help us to get back into our bodies and in touch with our physical health again. Yoga is a form of physical movement that is low impact, while also offering varying levels of difficulty and expertise. Consequently, yoga is a great form of introductory exercise to get us back into our physical bodies and reconnect us with our basic physical needs.

A Demanding Workout

Many a tough, muscle-bound athlete has been brought to tears by a yoga workout. What looks relatively easy and comfortable can, in fact, be very physically demanding. Holding different postures and stretches for sustained periods of time can really challenge our bodies. Just like the more cardiovascular or strength-building workout routines, yoga can give us many physical benefits. For those of us who are looking for a physical challenge, yoga might be just what the doctor ordered.

However, yoga for beginners is available, too. Lower level options are often ideal for those of us who are not very athletic or coordinated. Yoga is a flexible physical activity and can be tailored to meet us wherever we are on the physical spectrum. Likewise, we have the option to increase intensity as we become stronger over time. Prolonged substance abuse often leaves us physically depleted. Using yoga as a way to rebuild strength and gently increase movement is often a welcomed method of healing.

A Workout for Our Minds

Yoga is not just for the body, but for the mind, as well. Certainly, the physical benefits of a consistent yoga practice are appealing enough. However, yoga offers several benefits that can not be seen with the naked eye. Linking breath to movement, yoga offers meditative techniques that support our ability to stay present with ourselves and work through our feelings. Additionally, there is a spiritual aspect to yoga, as it helps us to attune to our higher selves. These less tangible benefits are where true healing takes place, particularly for those of us who have long been numbing ourselves with drugs and/or alcohol.

A significant portion of yoga is focusing on our breathing and clearing our minds to be present. We notice and feel the sensations around us, but we do not pass judgment on any of them. These techniques teach us how to better use and control our minds. When we learn how to use our minds for our benefit, we will be able to better control our responses to things that happen to us. Ultimately, yoga provides us with the self-regulation skills necessary to support our long-term sobriety and prevent future relapse.

Reconnecting With Our Spirit

In addition to helping us physically and mentally, yoga can help us reconnect spiritually. Keep in mind that this concept of spirituality is not necessarily about religion. Instead, what we mean is that yoga supports us as we go inward and learn to connect to our authenticity. Continued practice of yoga allows us to bring that authenticity beyond the mat and into our daily lives and relationships.

Yoga allows us to connect to our whole selves, helping us feel our bodies, use our minds, and remember who we are inside. This promotes holistic healing of mind, body, and spirit, which is more powerful than when we try to heal each aspect of our nature individually.

A Powerful Tool to Prevent Relapse

The skills we learn in yoga become a set of tools that we can use to prevent relapse. Using the mental skills that yoga teaches us improves our ability to manage stress, emotions, triggers, and cravings. Associated breathing and mindfulness techniques help us to reduce anxiety and stay in the present moment.

A regular yoga practice can help us to spend more time in our bodies, while simultaneously strengthening us mentally, physically, and spiritually. This constructive and proactive exercise helps us long-term, as well as using the mental tools short-term to prevent relapse.

How can yoga heal us? Yoga is more than an exercise or a trend. Yoga unites our body, mind, and spirit for complete, holistic healing. At Rancho Milagro Recovery, we offer several alternative therapies, including yoga, for you to explore as you navigate your recovery. Call us today, at (951) 526-4582 to find out more about how yoga can help put you back on the path of healing.

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