When you are addicted to drugs and/or alcohol, you are not just experiencing physical side effects like vomiting and cramping, nor are you just living with psychological effects such as disorientation and poor cognition. You are also struggling with the effects that your addiction has caused on your spirit.
The presence of addiction can make it so everything that once defined your spirit has vanished. For example, you might have always felt fulfilled by walking the beach, participating in a hobby, or just spending quality time with your family. You might have once had a personality that was defined as being exuberant and welcoming. You might have even surrounded yourself with people who were good for you. Sadly, when addiction is occurring, these simple things that once were a part of who you were within your soul no longer exist. And, if you were addicted for a long period of time, you might wake up and realize that you do not know what fulfills your spirit anymore.
Addiction can be treated by receiving care for the physical aspects of this disease, as well as therapy for the psychological aspects of it. A full, comprehensive approach to addiction treatment will also work to restore your spirit through several different methods, one of which being yoga.
Yoga for Addiction Treatment
Yoga has provided millions of recovering addicts an outlet to help them maintain their recoveries, as well as uplift and fulfill their spirits. And while it can be extremely beneficial, yoga works best when it is combined with other forms of addiction treatment.
Some of the many ways in which yoga is beneficial to those who are recovering from addiction include the following:
- Physical pain relief
- Improved self-awareness
- Increased self-confidence
- Heightened levels of energy
- Spiritual healing
Yoga has been scientifically shown to help decrease stress and help increase levels of gammo-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which helps the brain better handle anxiety and depression. Stress, anxiety, and depression are easily some of the biggest concerns for those who are in recovery, making yoga a reliable and intriguing activity to partake in.
Yoga and 5 Types of Breathing Exercises
A major part of yoga is learning how to control breath and utilize it in ways that promote effective physical and psychological responses. We utilize breathing skills in our everyday lives already, such as when we are worked up about something. Usually, we (or someone else) will say, “take a deep breath” in an effort to bring about calm. Breathing can send helpful signals to the brain that promote relaxation and clarity. In yoga, there are many different kinds of breathing exercises that you can learn and apply to your life. Some of these exercises are described below:
Dirga Pranayama is known simply as the “three-part breath”. During this specific breathing exercise, you will breathe through your nose, working to fill your belly, then your chest, and then into your throat, and exhale. Dirga is meant to help bring a sense of calm and relaxation to those who utilize it, making this breathing exercise most effective for those who struggle with anxiety or high levels of stress. It can also be helpful for those who have a racing mind that they strive to settle.
Known as “warrior’s breath”, Ujjayi Pranayama is a strong type of breathing. First, you will inhale deeply, and then exhale while making an “H” sound. The reason why this breathing is so strong is because it involves the use of the abdomen muscles for the breaths in an effort to create heat.
When Ujjayi Pranayama is utilized, you can experience an increase in energy, increase in the amount of oxygen in the blood, tension release, regulated blood pressure, and a greater sense of self-awareness.
Bhramari Pranayama often called “bee breath” is a type of breathing exercise where you make a humming sound while using your fingers to push into your temples while you exhale. Inhale quietly, then exhale while humming and moving your fingers deeper into your temples.
Benefits of Bhramari Pranayama include stress and anxiety relief, decreased anger, healing of bodily tissues, stimulation of pituitary glands, decreased blood pressure, and induction of sleep.
This type of breathing exercise focuses on a short exhales that are forceful. Also known as the “skull shining breath”, you inhale through your nose and exhale as quickly as possible by pushing the air out of your nose. Then, you allow your next inhale to happen naturally, and continue the exercise. Kapalabhatti Pranayama is known to help increase energy.
This specific type of breathing exercise is highly effective in helping cleanse the respiratory system and the body of toxins, all while working to help restore overall wellness in the body.
Nadi Shodhana Pranayama
Nadi Shodhana Pranayama is a popular breathing technique used to help give yourself from clarity and peace of mind. You accomplish this by putting your index and middle fingertips on your forehead, your ring and pinky finger on your left nostril, and your thumb over your right. Then, you breathe in from one nostril while exhaling from the next, until you have exhaled ten times.
Nadi Shodhana can do a number of things, such as balance hormones, reduce allergies, increase ability to concentrate, balance the left and right sides of the brain, and invigorate the nervous system.
All of these breathing exercises are extremely beneficial in their own ways for those who are recovering from addiction. When in recovery, yoga can not only help you spiritually but also by helping address physical and mental issues that you might be experiencing.
Including Yoga into Your Recovery
As previously mentioned, yoga is an excellent resource if you are in recovery, however, it should never be viewed as the singular source of support or treatment for this disease.
As you continue to recover from your drug and/or alcohol addiction, it is important to prioritize things that will help boost your overall wellbeing, such as yoga. Luckily, we are able to access yoga through a number of different means, such as through the internet or on an app. You can have yoga right at your fingertips regardless of what you might be experiencing on any given day or week. And, once you develop an understanding of breathing exercises and other techniques, you can begin to use them in a number of different settings to help you center yourself.
If you have an addiction to drugs and/or alcohol, you do not have to let it persist. By reaching out to us right now, we can help you overcome the challenges you are facing and help you connect with a number of different services that can encourage your healing and wellbeing. Call us today.