How Yoga Aids in Mental Health and Addiction Recovery

Yoga for recovery and addiction is becoming increasingly popular in holistic addiction treatment centers. Between concentrated breathing and postures, yoga balances the mind and the body. In addition to the physical benefits, yoga provides a plethora of emotional benefits. 

Yoga encourages self-awareness and staying in the present moment. Yoga for addiction recovery teaches members to listen to their bodies and control breathing. The art of becoming attuned to your body provides a deeper understanding of emotions. This understanding aids in the mental and physical struggles of addiction.

What is Yoga for Recovery from Addiction

Yoga originated in India and is a physical, mental, and spiritual discipline. It involves physical activity, breath control, positive thinking, relaxation, and meditation. But, the main focus of yoga is to develop a balance between the environment and the body and mind.  

Likewise, yoga’s ethical and moral codes, yamas (social discipline), and niyamas (self-discipline) provide structure and organization to your recovery life. These practices and behaviors guide members on relating to others and creating inner peace. 

yoga in rehab

The Philosophies of Yoga for Recovery of Addiction

Yoga aids in controlling emotions, which in turn helps control cravings. It also builds self-control by focusing on breathing, physical poses, and meditation. Generally, people hear yoga and think of stretching and breathing. But, the following will show it is much more. 


Yamas are the first path in yoga. They deal with the behaviors involved in yoga for recovery. Yamas are 5 different practices a person promises themself when starting yoga. However, the main focus is treating others the way we would like to be treated.

By laying the groundwork, the 5 Yamas help create people who treat others with respect. A significant part of yoga for addiction recovery is forgiveness and kindness. Continuing to build off these promises will help maintain Recovery for LIfe. 


Niyamas are guidelines to the ritualistic process of yoga for recovery and addiction. Niyamas work in accordance with Yamas. The way we nourish the mind, body, and spirit are the core standards for the Niyamas. 

The 5 Yamas and the 5 Niyamas are the keys to successfully practicing yoga. Implementing these practices in daily life aid in achieving Recovery for Life. 


Asana is the practice of yoga that involves stretching, poses, and breathing. Exercising the body while enhancing spirituality are a few of the benefits of Asana. Above all, Asana improves blood circulation to vital organs that are damaged with substance use disorder. 

healthy yoga

Mentally, Asana improves negative feelings and reduces stress. Because negative emotions are the leading cause of relapse, Asana is a healthy way to cope with these emotions. Yoga for recovery and addiction builds self-confidence as the benefits are seen in your recovery journey.


An essential aspect of yoga is controlling your breathing. Pranayama teaches different breathing techniques to improve circulation, heart health, and above all, mental health. In recovery, a strong mind is crucial, and yoga for recovery in addiction treatment can help strengthen it. 


The recovery journey can be stressful, hectic, depressing, and overwhelming. For this reason, many people need a way to escape their emotions. Before recovery, people would turn to drugs or alcohol to cope. 

To replace these substances, Pratyahara teaches meditation to withdraw from these struggles. This form of meditation provides a much-needed rest while restoring the mental focus to continue the recovery journey. It is achieved by focusing on individual senses and appreciating the present moment.


Pratyahara is typically followed by Dharana, which translates to “concentration.” This limb of yoga is a deeper state of meditation than the previous limb—people who struggle with severe anxiety find Dharana extremely beneficial in recovery.


Continuing through the limbs of yoga for recovery of addiction, Dhyana builds on the previous limbs. In this limb of yoga, full concentration or meditation is reached. This level of meditation provides introspect, which helps gains self-knowledge. The key to successful recovery from addiction is understanding who you are and setting clear future goals. 


Samadhi is the highest point of yoga, transcendence. People feel themselves ascend into a conscious freedom or natural high. This is often referred to in yoga for recovery and addiction as feeling like addiction has been eliminated. 

Benefits of Yoga for Addiction Recovery

The recovery journey is a process that requires strength, will, and determination. You are trying to regain the person you once were while rebuilding a new life. Yoga for recovery addiction treatment shows excellent benefits in recovery and overall happiness. 

Practice Anywhere Anytime

How yoga helps recovery

Cravings and mental struggles of recovery can happen at any given moment. One benefit of yoga for recovery and addiction treatment is it can be practiced anywhere. If you can, pull out your mat and start clearing your mind. However, at work, you probably can’t use your mat. But, you can take two minutes to sit up straight, take some controlled breaths, and center yourself.

Ease Withdrawal Symptoms

The development of substance use disorder doesn’t happen overnight. Although each person and addiction is unique, using drugs and alcohol is a coping method. The body also becomes dependant on these substances to survive, and withdrawal symptoms can become unbearable. 

Yoga for recovery and addiction can help ease the discomfort and pain of withdrawal. Because yoga’s goal is to ease the mind, it is often the best method of holistic treatment. Yoga promotes a healthy mind and body while focusing your energy on what truly matters.

Redirects Focus

Drugs and alcohol are a quick but temporary escape from today’s stress and the trauma of yesterday. Compared to yoga, which helps ease your mind redirect your thoughts to the present moment. Yoga helps direct your energy into your current state of wellbeing. 

To hone in on what is important, one must focus on the present. This includes accepting that some things cannot be changed. Yoga for recovery addiction treatment helps train the mind to release the emotions surrounding the past and stop anxiety about the future. 

Creates Self-Control

Self-control is essential in recovery. Drugs or alcohol have been a trusted escape from reality, so giving them up will be challenging. However, a person in recovery must feel like they have some control over their life. Without a way to feel in control, it is easy to lose focus on the recovery journey. 

Yoga for recovery and addiction treatment is excellent for fighting compulsive cravings. By promoting a healthier way of living, yoga also promotes recovery. Although some people are resistant at first, yoga is becoming a cornerstone to maintaining recovery.

Yoga Poses Beneficial for Addiction Recovery

There are many poses in yoga that can benefit recovery. But this particular sequence of poses is great for those fresh in treatment. The following poses challenge your body while at the same time relaxing the mind. 

Mountain Pose – Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart while pressing your palms together in front of your chest. Coles, your eyes, take slow breaths, and calm your mind.

Triangle Pose – Next, slowly move your legs until they are in a reverse V. Move your arms till they are parallel to the ground and look out past your right fingertips. Bend toward the right at your waist while moving the right hand downward. At the same time, twist your waist forward and out your left hand in the air. Hold this pose for 15 to 30 seconds. Return to the original pose and repeat to the left. 

Leg Wall Pose – Move from the mountain pose to sitting to lying down with your legs up against the wall. Pull up till your bottom touches the wall and let your legs relax.

Spinal Twist – Next, while lying on your back, pull your knees up to your chest. Arms to the side, palms up, now move your knees to your left, hold for 5 seconds. Return to center and repeat to the right.

Corpse Pose – Each yoga session should end with this pose. It allows you to relax and enjoy the benefits of your session. Just lie on your back with your arms and legs spread out, close your eyes, and take slow, gentle breaths. 

Open your eyes, take note of how you feel. Don’t you feel better? Yoga for recovery and addiction treatment should leave you feeling relaxed and with an open mind to tackle your recovery.

Seek Help Today

If you or a loved one struggles with addiction or mental health issues, yoga for recovery and addiction can help you find inner peace. Our trained professionals will help you achieve all the psychological and physical benefits of yoga. Contact us at Sana Lake BWC and start your recovery journey today.