The Role of Yoga in Overcoming Addiction
Most of us have an addiction of one or other kind. While some addictions are harmless, others can cause physical or mental harm.
Addiction to anything or any kind is not healthy. You may not realize that addiction is actually all about your state of mind and lack of willpower.
Even when you are addicted to a certain food or beverage, it’s not your body asking for it, it’s your mind that has been conditioned to have more of it.
Is Addiction a Disease?
The addiction is a disease that impacts our brain and body and consists of using more of any substances even at the risk of serious health or social consequences.
Addiction is said to impact the part of the brain which is responsible for learning, motivation, judgment, and memory. You should never underestimate what addiction can do to your life.
Certain types of addictions have the power of destroying mental and physical health of an individual along with relationships, career, families and your whole life.
Just like diabetes, heart diseases, or cancer, addiction is also a disease which is caused by the biological as well as behavioral and environmental factors.
Addiction leads to change in the functioning of the body and brain which may be caused by any substance or pre-exist.
When the addiction remains untreated, it affects your physical and mental health which would need medical attention. Sometimes, addiction can become severe and even life-threatening.
Is Addiction a Chronic Disease?
A chronic condition is defined as a disease which can’t be cured but only controlled.
For about 25% to 50% of the people, addiction is a chronic disorder, which can be progressive and relapsing requiring treatment and continuous aftercare along with monitoring and family’s pressure to recover and lead a normal life.
However, it has been observed that even most chronic disorders can be reversed and managed. It would need a long-term treatment, monitoring and emotional support.
It is also to be known that when the addiction becomes severe, the willpower doesn’t play any role or prevent the person from harming themselves.
People who suffer from addiction should not be judged and blamed as they are suffering from a disease.
People don’t choose how their brain works and how their body responds. It is difficult for the individual to overcome the addiction.
Some people refuse to accept addiction as a disease as they believe it is a person’s choice to use a substance.
It may be true when they use it for the first time, but when it becomes an addiction, their brain has no control, and they can’t be held responsible for their behavior. The disease is never a choice just like you never choose diabetes or heart disease.
The Role of Yoga in Overcoming Addiction
However, the good news is that you can fight and overcome addiction with the help of Yoga. Yoga is a complementary health practice which is considered a natural form of medicine.
Yoga is usually found to be beneficial when used along with traditional medicine for addiction.
Modern yoga makes uses of physical postures for connecting mind, body, and breath for gaining self-awareness and attention.
Yoga has been accepted by millions of people across the globe as a way of lifestyle modification. Some of the significant benefits of yoga are as follows:
- Helps in reducing fatigue and tiredness
- Useful in relieving stress
- Induces better sleep and helps in fighting insomnia
- Is helpful in relieving pain
- Increases physical strength and stamina
- It increases your energy levels
- Is helpful in healing emotionally
- Creates awareness about overall health
- Improves self-image and boosts confidence
- Promotes healthy eating habits
- Increases self- awareness
The substance abuse is a harmful type of addiction and yoga is being used increasingly in its treatment as well as throughout the recovery phase for preventing relapse and decreasing the withdrawal symptoms or craving for drugs and alcohol. Yoga helps in coping up with addiction triggers and stress.
You need to commit yourself to a regular yoga practice so you can witness your progress and it is an important step towards recovery. It is believed that it is quintessential to have a desire to recover and overcome the addiction to experience transformation.
It is beneficial to join yoga classes or connect with yoga communities as isolation often triggers addiction. Till the time you have a desire to practice yoga, it will help you move on the path of recovery.
Here’s a Look at the Yoga Asanas which can help in Recovering from addiction:
1. The Fish Pose
The fish pose is helpful in stretching the thoracic spine, shoulders, and chest and is known as great heart opener. In ancient times, the pose was considered as the destroyer of all diseases which helped in relieving anxiety and stress.
2. The Downward Facing Dog Pose
It is an excellent yoga pose which can work wonders for your body. It is helpful in relieving stress. The pose strengthens and lengthens the muscles. It not only makes you strong physically but also helps you release any kind of physical or mental tension.
3. The Spinal Breathing Pranayama
Most of the yoga poses begin with breathing exercise for promoting mind and body connections. Practicing Pranayama can help in keeping your mind focused and calm. It allows remaining in the present moment which can help in transforming addictive behaviors.
4. Yogi Bicycles
Yogi Bicycles is a great yoga pose for creating heat in your body to prepare your muscles for yoga asanas which work on lengthening your muscles. The asana is also a nice way of firing up your solar plexus chakra which is known to work on our confidence levels.
5. Warrior I
The warrior pose can help you to stay in present moment when the triggers or stress try to show up. This way you can prevent the addictive habits from taking over.
6. Pigeon Pose
The Pigeon pose helps in releasing the blocked energy and stored emotions in the body. It gives a chance to bring out the emotions, face them, and let them go. The pose has a soothing effect on the nervous system.
7. Low Lunge
Low lunge pose is helpful in stretching your hip groin and all places where we hold emotional trauma. The Low lunge can be a gentle or intense stretch which depends on your body.
8. Sage Twist
It is one of the best poses for combating addiction. It is helpful in detoxifying the negative energy from your organs and spine. It stimulates the nervous system and helps in calming your mind and reduces your tension.
9. Corpse Pose
The corpse pose may appear to be quite easy as you just have to lie down, but it can be very difficult to lie still in silence. If you wish to contemplate in silence about the root cause of your addiction, the corpse pose can be helpful in recovery.
10. Legs Up the Wall pose
Legs up in the wall pose helps in relaxing the mind and rejuvenating your body. It helps in relieving stress, anxiety, and depression.
Apart from these poses, spending time in meditation can help in fighting addiction. Desire and willpower is the key to overcome your addiction. Your brain and body are closely associated. Your body will react as your brain commands.
Devakar Sandhu is a renowned yoga practitioner with more than 10 years of experience in yoga teaching. He holds a certification in 500-hour, 300-hour and 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training in rishikesh course. He guides and suggests ways for lifestyle modification through yoga.