The most well-known yoga text is the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali. In it, the master yogi and Hindu philosopher Patanjali offers the readers 196 “sutras” or aphorisms on how one can live their life in a state of peaceful serenity. At one point in the text, Patanjali writes, “The cause of suffering is that the unbounded Self is overshadowed by the world.” Ultimately, we are not disturbed by outside influences, we are disturbed by how we react to outside influences. This can be especially true during the recovery process. However, yoga can help with this.
Understanding Holistic Healing and the Recovery Process
If the goal of treatment is recovery by any means necessary, then all means at our disposal should be utilized. Many people focus their recovery solely on abstinence and therapy (also, psychotherapy). While these are very foundational, they should not be the “end all be all” of recovery modalities. There are many other recovery options that can help us heal.
Some of these options exist in the holistic realm. Holism is essentially the concept that our mind, body, and soul are interconnected. Thus, we must work on all three if we are going to heal in any meaningful way. Some holistic modalities include massage therapy, acupuncture, meditation, breathwork, and, of course, yoga.
A Brief Overview of Yoga
Yoga was created over 3000 years ago in the Eastern part of the world as a religious practice. It has since become a practice that happens all over the world.
Yoga was brought over to the West in the mid-20th Century, and it really caught on via the counter-culture movement of the 1960s. Throughout the years it has become very popular as a form of exercise, in addition to its healing attributes. The healing components of yoga are what can be particularly beneficial for individuals who are in recovery.
Can Yoga Really Help With the Recovery Process?
Yoga has been shown to be highly beneficial for people struggling with issues of addiction, mental health, or both. While it is not totally quantifiable, there have been some studies done over the years that back up its efficacy.
Yoga is now a well-regarded holistic modality within the addiction and mental health realm. According to the International Journal of Yoga, “Yoga therapy involves instruction in yogic practices and teachings to prevent reduce or alleviate structural, physiological, emotional and spiritual pain, suffering or limitations. Yogic practices enhance muscular strength and body flexibility, promote and improve respiratory and cardiovascular function, promote recovery from and treatment of addiction, reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and chronic pain, improve sleep patterns, and enhance overall well-being and quality of life.”
Yoga can also be highly beneficial because when practiced with others it can help build a sense of community, and community can be a critical component for a healthy recovery. Yoga can also help us to cultivate and engage with a spiritual practice. A pivotal part of yoga practice is the quieting of the mind. Within this quiet is where many people find a sense of peace and serenity, which are two essential elements for spirituality.
Adding Yoga to a Preexisting Recovery Plan
Yoga is also an excellent option for the recovery process because it is highly accessible. There are many different levels of yoga, from beginner to master yogi. The only thing one needs to do to cultivate a yoga practice is an open mind and a willingness to embrace the process.
Yoga can also become a part of the recovery process at any time. This is because it can be picked up anywhere. A practice may start within a recovery center, or outside a recovery center. It may be started on our own, or it can be started with a teacher. Also, it can be practiced alone, or with a group of people.
Yoga can also travel with us wherever we go. All we need is a mat and yoga can be practiced virtually anywhere. Part of the recovery process is structure. So, if yoga is in a recovery plan, there is really no excuse to skip it. It is always available.
The Importance of Multifaceted Treatment at Lantana Recovery
Patanjali also wrote, “Yoga is the settling of the mind into silence. When the mind has settled, we are established in our essential nature, which is unbounded Consciousness. Our essential nature is usually overshadowed by the activity of the mind.” This is what yoga offers us; an opportunity to connect to ourselves so we can then connect to others, and potentially a Higher Power greater than ourselves.
Here at Lantana Recovery, we don’t believe in “one-size-fits-all” recovery. We believe in recovery by any means necessary. So we use all of the necessary means we have, which includes the ancient healing practice of yoga.
Holistic practices can be highly beneficial for individuals in recovery (both in the beginning and long-term practice). Yoga can be particularly useful because it offers so many mental, emotional, and physical benefits. It is also a practice that can be done alone at home or in group settings after leaving treatment, and it can be continually cultivated, which can keep individuals motivated in their long-term recovery. If you feel like you or a loved one may be struggling with issues of mental illness, addiction, or both, we can help get you on the road to recovery. For more information about adding yoga to an individualized and comprehensive treatment plan, please reach out to Lantana Recovery today at (866) 997-2870.