“A disciplined mind leads to happiness, and an undisciplined mind leads to suffering.” – The Dalai Lama
Take a deep breath. Hold it for a moment as you relax your body and become aware of the sounds around you. Let it out slowly, then repeat. Let your breathing find a steady pace, similar to how ocean waves rhythmically roll onto the beach and back out to sea during a calm day.
How do you feel? Do you feel more centered and relaxed?
This is what yoga and meditation are all about! The ancient practice of yoga, dating back to India circa 3000 B.C., was a way to bring harmony to the heart and soul and achieve enlightenment and discipline.
Today, yoga practice includes meditative, physical and spiritual elements to help bring stability, grace and calm to the mind, body and spirit. Let’s take a deeper look at how yoga and meditation can help in your recovery journey from addiction.
How Yoga and Meditation Heal the Addicted Brain
Ever wonder what was happening in your brain when you were abusing drugs? That high you felt when taking drugs was a result of surging dopamine levels in the part of the brain responsible for motivation and attraction. Your brain quickly got hooked on the dopamine rush, triggering cravings and an addiction you couldn’t ignore.
Part of addiction recovery is getting your brain to produce natural levels of dopamine again, and research shows yoga and meditation helps with this. According to Roy King, a Stanford University professor of psychiatry and behavioral science, yoga and meditation can actually combat drug abuse because of their effects on the brain.
King found that the practice of yoga inhibits your brain’s impulse for that drug-induced dopamine rush, lowering your cravings and helping you better cope with triggers that could lead to relapse. His research further found that the meditation and deep breathing used in certain types of yoga release endorphins that help you naturally feel good.
Benefits of Yoga and Meditation
Yoga and meditation help restore your brain’s natural processes, but what exactly does that mean for you as you go through treatment and recovery? Yoga and meditation offer a lot of benefits, including:
Improved Stress Management
Whether it’s a rough day at work or an unexpected tragedy, stress can quickly lead to relapse if not managed properly. As your yoga and meditation practice grows, you’ll develop greater willpower and coping mechanisms to help control your old addiction cravings.
Greater Spirituality and Mindfulness
Yoga and meditation are all about connecting to the self. When you practice yoga or meditate, you’re training yourself to be more self-aware, more mindful and in the present moment.
This is what Buddha called the Middle Way. When you live in the present moment, you are able to live a more balanced life and make healthy decisions that prevent you from falling back into addiction.
A Healthier, Stronger Body
Besides all the mental and spiritual benefits, yoga and meditation also help your body heal from addiction. The steady, gentle movements and calm breathing strengthen your muscles, relieve aches and pains from withdrawal, increase circulation, lower blood pressure and calm your nerves.
When used alongside traditional and evidence-based treatments, yoga and meditation are natural and fun ways to heal your mind, body and spirit from substance addiction.
Holistic Addiction Treatment at The Raleigh House
At The Raleigh House, we use structured, recreational activities like yoga to supplement our evidence-based approach to treatment. Whether you’re suffering from addiction or you know someone who is, we encourage you to seek holistic treatment from a credible rehab facility that knows how to help you reset your life after substance abuse.
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