Yoga is more than a way to relax or to enhance flexibility. Although a routine yoga practice is no substitute for comprehensive addiction treatment, yoga has proven to be a vital part of the Immersion Recovery treatment process.

Elements of a Yoga Practice for Addiction Recovery

Yoga for addiction recovery focuses on three distinct elements: postures, meditation and breath control. Specific yoga postures that benefit men and women in recovery include:

  • Balasana (Child’s Pose)
  • Paschimottanasana (Seated Forward Bend)
  • Baddha Konasana (Butterfly)
  • Viparita Karani (Legs-up-the-Wall Pose)
  • Apanasana (Little Boat Hugging Knees)
  • Jathara Parivartanasana (Knee-Hug Spinal Twist)
  • Savasana (Corpse Pose)

Each of these poses can be modified using straps, blocks and other props to accommodate clients with physical conditions that limit flexibility or range of motion. Under the compassionate guidance of a trained yoga instructor, virtually everyone can benefit from a yoga practice.

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Yoga for Meditation & Breath Control

Meditation is a method of clearing the mind of unnecessary distractions and focusing only the present moment. This is often done using a mantra (a particular sound, phrase or affirmation) as a point of focus. Mantras may be incorporated into your yoga postures to deepen your practice, obtain a meditative state, or develop a higher state of awareness. Breath control also increases the effectiveness of yoga for meditation by promoting mental clarity and boosting energy levels during certain postures.

Clinical Evidence for Yoga’s Support of Sobriety

In A Narrative Review of Yoga and Mindfulness as Complementary Therapies for Addiction, Surbhi Khanna, MBBS and Jeffrey M. Greeson, PhD explain that postures, meditation and breath control work together in harmony to promote a sustained recovery. They write, “Whereas simply doing yoga postures (asanas) or practicing meditation (dhyana) or breath control (pranayama) alone can help regulate stress and unhook people from substance use impulses in the moment, we propose that optimal treatment and prevention outcomes may come from utilizing the full system of adaptive attitudes, perspectives, and self-regulation skills embodied by traditional Hatha yoga (Ashtanga yoga) and mindfulness meditation.”

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Effects of Yoga Versus Walking on Mood, Anxiety, and Brain GABA Levels, a study by Chris C. Streeter, MD and colleagues examined how yoga increases levels of the gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA) neurotransmitter in the brain. The study hypothesized that recovery benefits are linked to the fact that substance abusers often have abnormally low levels of GABA. Over time, it is believed that a regular yoga practice works to reset the brain to its normal, healthy patterns.

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Begin Your Addiction Treatment Yoga Practice

At Immersion Recovery, we offer yoga therapy as part of our integrative treatment plan designed to support your sobriety. To learn more about the benefits of mindfulness, breath work and yoga postures during substance misuse treatment, contact our team.

To begin the enrollment process or verify insurance for addiction treatment, call (888) 693-1604 now.


Reviewed for accuracy by :

Serving as the Inpatient Clinical Director at Immersion Recovery Center, Susan will work directly with staff members, clients, and family members to ensure the clinical program remains as effective and individualized as possible. Susan is no stranger to the fields of behavioral health and addiction. She has over 25 years of experience, working in an inpatient setting, an outpatient setting, acute stabilization and nearly all other settings in the realm of addiction recovery.