How to Use Yoga in Addiction Recovery

The Recovery VillageAddiction

Woman doing yoga

Yoga has long been known to be a great way to relieve stress, strengthen the body and allow participants to get in touch with their spiritual side. But can it be an effective tool against addiction?

Many proponents of yoga suggest that it may be. In fact, yoga is being increasingly incorporated into Ohio addiction treatment programs as a means to overcome addiction and prevent recurrence of use after sobriety has been achieved. It has been said to be effective in reducing withdrawal symptoms and cravings for drugs or alcohol, and it offers a safe and healthy platform to help deal with relapse triggers.

How Can Yoga in Addiction Recovery Be Helpful?

Yoga’s role in the world of recovery from addiction stems from its effect on the mind, body, and spirit. In fact, all three of these factors come together in yoga in unison by design.

People who suffer from substance use disorder experience some form of alteration of the pathways in the brain, including those that are associated with feelings of pleasure and decision-making. When a person misuses drugs or alcohol for a long period of time, brain circuitry can be significantly affected.

Yoga class

Studies have shown yoga to have both physical, emotional and spiritual benefits for those suffering from addiction

On the other hand, the brain and its pathways can heal after a sustained period without the use of drugs or alcohol, and yoga may play a role in this healing.

Stress is often correlated with the use of drugs and alcohol to help numb negative feelings, but yoga has also been shown to reduce stress. Studies have shown that yoga can alleviate the stress response by regulating stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline. Parts of the brain that are involved in managing stress can also be enlarged by regularly practicing yoga.

Yoga can also be helpful in naturally balancing certain parts of the brain and body that are affected by regular drug use. Yoga’s signature movements are certainly good for the physical aspect of the body, but it has emotional benefits too. The practice of yoga provides an outlet for people to be more connected to their bodies.

Yoga participants can generate a sense of self-awareness, which is a crucial component of an addiction program. By being more self-aware, those suffering from addiction can be more in tune with their feelings and why they may want to turn to drugs or alcohol. This can help patients have a sense of accountability and take control over their choices.

A potential result is a person who has more self-confidence and self-reliance and is better able to avoid taking action on cravings when they are recognized.

Many 12-step programs that are common in addiction treatment programs tend to be spiritual in nature, so it makes sense that a spiritual practice like yoga would be incorporated. Eliminating all external noise and focusing inward can help an individual practice self-reflection and gain some sense of peace within to progress along their journey to recovery.

Reach Out For Help Today

Yoga for addiction recovery is certainly proving to be an effective tool, but finding the right program is essential in order to boost the odds of success in recovery. To discuss your specific needs confidentially with an addiction professional, contact us today!


Medical Disclaimer: The Recovery Village Columbus aims to improve the quality of life for people struggling with a substance use or mental health disorder with fact-based content about the nature of behavioral health conditions, treatment options and their related outcomes. We publish material that is researched, cited, edited and reviewed by licensed medical professionals. The information we provide is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. It should not be used in place of the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider.