Among the many mental health and addiction treatment modalities out there, one of the most profound approaches is yoga therapy.
Yoga, which translates to ‘union’, aligns the body and breath for greater overall balance and peace of mind.
In addiction recovery programs, clients first undergo a medically supervised detoxification program, then enter either inpatient or outpatient rehabilitation. During treatment, various psychotherapies and experiential therapies help clients address their mental and behavioral health.
Psychotherapy supports clients in identifying and addressing their deeply held beliefs and worldview, which helps them uncover the roots of their addiction so that healing can begin. Experiential therapies typically occur outside of a traditional therapy office setting and do not require the client to narrate their thoughts and life stories. Instead, it encourages the client to focus on their breathing, body, and the present moment.
Humans have been practicing yoga for as long as history has been recorded. When we think of yoga, several images come to mind. You might picture a Buddhist monk sitting atop a mountain or a peaceful woman with her legs crossed and hands joined together above her head. You do not need a particular level of fitness or flexibility to start, and there is no requirement to hold any religious or spiritual ideology. Yoga is for everyone.
There are many different types of yoga. You can find classes and practitioners in more and more cities and towns across the country, and all come with varying preferences for practice. Some classes take place in hot rooms while others take place outside. Some are gentle and slow, while others are more physically demanding.
Despite the different types, some aspects of yoga remain the same. Yoga helps to develop better balance, improved posture, and a greater breathing capacity. This union of body and mind is where the real healing takes place.
You are encouraged to take slow, easy breaths as you move through each pose while also focusing on your posture. The idea is to maintain that mindfulness and bring your awareness to the body.
As we practice yoga and increase our awareness, it becomes easier to observe how thoughts or projections of the mind can throw the body off-balance and how an unbalanced body can project thoughts and images onto the mind.