13 APR 2020

Yoga boosts springtime drug and alcohol recovery

Everyone across Chicago is thrilled that the Midwest winter is finally over. The cold can be painful, but winter also brings with it seasonal depression that makes everything more difficult. The winter grays can have an especially big effect on people in drug and alcohol addiction recovery. Luckily, it looks like spring is really here, so you can take your recovery practices outside and enjoy the sunshine.

Yoga is a very popular outdoor, springtime exercise among recovering addicts. Many rehab programs provide individual and group counseling, education, nutrition information, recreation, and exercise. More and more, yoga is being thrown into the exercise mix. Regular exercise is a natural mood enhancer, as it relieves tension and aggression while improving overall wellbeing. Yoga is so popular among rehabilitation programs because its principles lineup wonderfully with the 12 Steps.

At the root of addiction is the inability to cope with difficult thoughts and emotions. Rehab and therapy are important in recovery because it helps us come out from hiding and face these difficulties with proper coping mechanisms. Yoga focused on controlled breathing as the pathway to a controlled mind and emotions. This doesn’t mean never feeling anything negative, but rather processing it in a healthy way when it does occur.

When addicts seek out help to get their lives back on track, they are embracing the 12-Step concept of understanding that this problem is too big to handle alone. The program teaches addicts to turn to others that have been through this already, or to a higher power. Yoga also teaches the importance of a spiritual connection through meditation and prayer.

Yoga is also an effective teacher of self-discipline. Impulse control is a major difficulty for addicts, even those that enter drug and alcohol rehabilitation programs. The 12-Step program helps addicts create clear plans for addressing past losses of control and preventing future missteps. The ability to manage impulses and not succumb is quite possibly the greatest tool a recovering addict can have.

It doesn’t take perfection to enjoy yoga and reap its benefits. Roll out a mat or a long towel in a shady spot in a park, and start with some light stretches. As your body loosens and up and your mind connects to what is within, you’ll know you’re on the right path.