Yoga Therapy Helps Recovering Addicts In Mind, Body, And Spirit


“Yoga therapy is the process of empowering individuals to progress toward improved health and well being through the application of the teachings and practices of yoga,” according to The International Association of Yoga Therapists. Yoga is an ancient eastern practice which focuses the mind on the body and the breath through a series of poses, called asanas, and sequences. With eastern themes of preventative healing, yoga seeks to release emotional energy, relax the body, and heal the organs. A focus on the breath, mindfulness of the body, and connecting to universal themes of humanity make yoga stand apart as a physical activity as well as a therapy modality. Scientifically, according to Western research, yoga relieves stress, reduces symptoms of depression and anxiety, can alleviate cravings for drugs and alcohol, and improves heart health. From cancer patients to the elderly, trauma survivors to addicts and alcoholics, yoga has many benefits.

For yoga therapy, a yoga therapist educates clients about the breath. It might seem unnecessary to teach someone about the breath and how important it is to breathe. However, many people are unaware of their breathing patterns and go many years of their lives without focusing on their breath. Breath awareness is a foundation of mindfulness and yoga. Learning breathing skills for deep breathing, intentional breathing, yogic breathing, and more are helpful tools for recovery. Returning to the breath is a relapse prevention technique. Rapid, short breathing, contributes to feelings of panic, encouraging the fight-or-flight responses. Focusing on the breath returns the mind to a state of calm and awareness. Additionally, yoga creates a mind-body awareness which is also helpful in managing cravings or relapse. Noticing physical sensations of stress, anxiety, or cravings is an opportunity to relax that area of the body and breathe through the momentary experience.

Meditation, mindfulness, relaxation, and technique are all part of the technical side of yoga. Psychologically, yoga therapists encourage non-judgment and non-competitiveness. Clients are encouraged to meet themselves where they are in the present moment and restrain themselves from comparing or competing against others. Recovery from drug and alcohol addiction, in addition to co-occurring mental health disorders is an individual journey. Quickly, people in recovery learn that while there is a global group of others in recovery with many similarities, each person’s journey is remarkably unique.


Addiction to drugs and alcohol affects mind, body, and spirit. Recovery from addiction needs to be mind, body, spirit as well. LEAD Recovery Center takes a whole person approach to treatment, encouraging the development and growth of mind, body, and spirit on the journey to full autonomy and independence in recovery. For information on our multiphase transitional care programs, call us today at 800-380-0012.