When was the last time you practiced yoga? Maybe you had a great practice just yesterday, or maybe you have always wanted to try it but feel a little intimidated. The great news is that yoga can be adapted to all abilities and experience levels. When used as part of the treatment process for substance use disorder (SUD), yoga can help promote healing and can reinforce the 12-Step process.

Yoga is something that has been used for centuries and provides many benefits. These include advantages to your mental health, physical health, and spiritual health. Yoga began in India over 5,000 years ago and is still used today because of its many benefits. With time, the practice has evolved, and several forms have developed with varying levels of difficulty and intensity.

You can find the practice in many different settings. These days, yoga studios can often be found in city centers and suburbs. Yoga instruction can take place in educational settings such as schools and universities. You can also find yoga classes being taught in more clinical spaces, such as rehab facilities like Enlightened Solutions, and as part of therapeutic programs.

Yoga was created to connect the body and mind with the understanding that without this connection, one cannot be fully well. The idea was always to encourage awareness and mindfulness of the present. This was believed to create a higher sense of consciousness.

Today, yoga continues to serve these purposes and many others. The body-mind connection continues to serve as the primary intention and, if achieved, can impact many other areas of function and well-being.

Benefits of Yoga

Yoga is beneficial to the body in many ways. Yoga is an effective yet gentle form of exercise. This makes it ideal for anyone just beginning their fitness journey or recovering from an injury. It can also be adapted to challenge more experienced athletes. Yoga promotes better strength and flexibility, improving general wellness and overall quality of life.

Practicing yoga has various advantages when it comes to mental health and processing as well. Because yoga encourages a mind and body connection, practicing can help with understanding and accepting different thoughts, feelings, and emotions. Better sleep, focus, and increased patience/calmness are also often experienced.

Yoga and the 12-Step Process

Let’s briefly discuss the 12-Step process. This process for recovery was created by founding members of Alcoholics Anonymous and is a widely used method among treatment programs and facilities worldwide. Each of the Twelve Steps involves a different gradual focus toward seeking sobriety and entering recovery. While each step is different, they all incorporate change and strength mentally, physically, and spiritually.

So, how can yoga help with understanding and reinforcing the 12-Step process? This is done by associating each of the Twelve Steps with specific yoga poses. You are making a mind and body connection that allows you to understand and process each specific step fully. Many people learn best by “doing.” This is because you are forming a mind and body correlation to whatever the task may be. This reinforces the information and new strategies you are learning and helps store them in your memory.

Both yoga and the 12-Step process involve mental and physical strength. Each requires awareness of self and the surrounding world. Yoga 12SR classes encourage you to push beyond your limits physically, just as therapy and the 12-Step process encourage pushing beyond your limits mentally. Essentially, you are connecting the cognitive efforts outside of the studio with your physical efforts in the studio.

Yoga and Addiction Recovery

Addiction can often leave those impacted feeling isolated or disconnected. You may feel lost or unsure of who you have become. Yoga helps re-integrate the mind, body, and spirit and can promote healing from the inside out. Because addiction impacts physical, mental, and physical health, this can be very helpful.

Yoga promotes mindfulness, which is crucial during addiction treatment and recovery. It can be difficult to process the changes you experience mentally, physically, and spiritually throughout the process. It can be easy to get distracted or consumed with focusing on past mistakes or feelings of shame and guilt. Yoga serves as an outlet for understanding, expressing, and healing.

Yoga teaches you to check in with yourself and make a habit of doing so regularly. Much like the Twelve Steps taught throughout treatment at Enlightened Solutions, yoga is and should be a long-term practice. Whether you enter the program as an experienced yogi or have never tried it before, you will leave with a better understanding of yourself and how to use the practice to enhance your treatment and recovery experience.

Yoga integrates the mind, body, and spirit. This connection is essential for long-term success in recovery, and for overall well-being in life in general. Building a good yoga practice can help you remain connected to yourself and mindful. Creating correlations between the 12-Step process and yoga can help reinforce the principles. At Enlightened Solutions, we incorporate yoga as part of our program for many reasons. Our instructors will help you develop a practice that works well for you and promotes internal and external healing. We incorporate the 12-Step process into our yoga practice to allow for a connection between the cognitive work you are doing in therapy and the physical work you are doing in the yoga studio. If you or someone you love is struggling with drug or alcohol addiction, make the decision to seek help today. Give Enlightened Solutions a call at (833) 801-LIVE.