When it comes to our program of addiction recovery, we believe that a comprehensive approach to care is the most effective in setting a stable foundation for long-term sobriety. This means that we combine standard clinical practices with holistic methods of recovery. A study published in Complementary Therapies in Medicine titled “A narrative review of yoga and mindfulness as complementary therapies for addiction” explores the benefits of yoga in a clinical treatment setting. The study reports that traditional yoga practices are geared towards directing attention to physical health while helping bolster spiritual connection and understanding. Spirituality is a major component of addiction recovery, and yoga helps clients heal in a comprehensive way – physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. At Immersion Recovery Center, we utilize the healing benefits of yoga by incorporating the proven holistic practice into our individualized continuum of care.
Yoga also helps facilitate mindfulness; described in an article titled “Mindfulness for Addiction Recovery: A Cognitive Disciplinary Preventive Approach to Avoid Relapse into Substance Abuse” as, “a state of non-judgemental awareness.” Mindfulness helps clients stay focused on the present moment and has proven to be a wonderful relapse prevention tool. The aforementioned study suggests that every successful treatment program incorporates three holistic methodologies: silent meditation, self-reflection (that takes place during a peer-led, recovery-focused discussion), and a yoga practice. It is important to note that yoga is an adjunct practice, meaning that it is a wonderful addition to every recovery program but it should never be utilized as a replacement for clinical care (medical detox, inpatient treatment and aftercare, more specifically). Yoga is most beneficial when it is used in conjunction with a wide variety of recovery methods, including therapeutic care (cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavioral therapy), medication assisted treatment and 12 step program immersion.
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Benefits of Yoga
When it comes to yoga, there are many proven benefits. Some of these include:
- Increased physical strength – Yoga is a great way to build strength, and it is gentle enough on the body to be a viable option for men and women who are new to recovery and are still not at their physical best. At Immersion Recovery Center, we offer yoga therapy that is slow, mellow and easy to participate in. We always take the unique needs of each client into careful consideration and we will never push anyone past their limit. Over time, clients find that they are gaining physical strength and that they are able to participate in more challenging yoga poses and sequences.
- The development of healthy habits like exercising regularly and eating healthy, nutritious meals – It has been proven that individuals who participate in a near-daily yoga practice eventually begin paying closer attention to their overall physical health. Yoga calms the mind, allowing for improved sleep. Those who are sleeping between 6 and 8 hours a night are more likely to consume three balanced meals every day. The positive implications of yoga are extremely far reaching. In addition to regularly scheduled yoga, we teach our clients to take care of their physical bodies in other ways. We offer nutritional guidance and support, and encourage additional forms of exercise as well.
- Pain relief – Stretching the joints and muscles regularly will help alleviate the physical pain that very often persists in early recovery. Active addiction does quite a number on the physical body, and it can be difficult to return to a place of comprehensive physical health. Yoga helps teach our clients to meet themselves where they are, and to go easy on themselves and on their bodies as they begin to adjust to a sober lifestyle. It has also been proven that yoga helps with the symptoms of post-acute withdrawal syndrome (PAWS). An article published in Alternative and Complementary Therapies titled “Post–Acute Withdrawal Syndrome, Relapse Prevention, and Homeopathy” explains that PAWS symptoms include persistent drug cravings and other psychological, emotional and physical symptoms that occur during early sobriety. The symptoms of PAWS are not life-threatening, but they can be difficult to manage when not being effectively treated in a variety of ways. Medication is one way to treat symptoms of PAWS – yoga is another. Again, a comprehensive approach has been proven most effective.
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- Improved sleep – Yoga has actually been proven to help combat insomnia. It is very common for those in early recovery to experience disrupted sleep schedules – yoga helps calm the mind while teaching clients how to slow down and focus on their breathing. The breathing techniques that are taught in yoga are extremely beneficial to those who are suffering from insomnia (which is a common symptom of post-acute withdrawal). Exercising on a daily basis also makes falling asleep at a reasonable hour all that much easier, because the physical body will be tired and ready to wind down. Getting enough sleep will leave clients feeling well-rested and ready to take on the day.
- Self-reflection, which leads to improved self-awareness – Yoga and meditation go hand-in-hand. At Immersion Recovery Center, we encourage our clients to engage in self-reflection as they move through their poses, focusing on (meditating on) any issues that they might be experiencing in their recovery. At the end of each yoga session, we hold a short group meeting during which clients are able to discuss any emotions that came to the surface during their practice – positive or negative. Processing after class is important to gaining as much personal benefit as possible.
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- Improved self-esteem and self-image – Those who participate in a regular yoga practice have been proven to experience a greater amount of self-confidence. Doing something positive and beneficial is a great way to build self-esteem. While in active addiction, clients abused their bodies relentlessly, and self-esteem undeniably suffered as a result. We teach clients the importance of self-love and self-care, and help them develop healthy habits that they will be able to take with them and continue practicing when they graduate from our inpatient treatment program.
- A major improvement in mental, emotional and physical health and well-being – Yoga lends itself to physical healing, but it also has a major impact on mental and emotional health. Our Yoga Therapy program is geared towards comprehensive healing as well as relapse prevention. Individuals who have a solid yoga routine are far less likely to succumb to relapse triggers. To learn more about the benefits of Yoga Therapy or to learn more about our specific program of addiction recovery, reach out to us at any time.
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Immersion Recovery Center and Yoga Therapy
At least twice per week, we either bring in a certified yoga therapist or transport our clients to an off-site yoga studio, where they participate in an instructor-led class. Clients have the opportunity to practice yoga at the residence whenever they are not participating in another scheduled activity – we make all of the necessary tools available (yoga mats, bolsters, blocks and blankets). Our Yoga Therapy program is one small part of our comprehensive program of addiction recovery, it has proven to be extremely beneficial. To learn more, reach out to our staff members at any point in time.