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What is Yoga?

Yoga1Yoga is a physical practice, which involves both a mental and physical focus. ‘Yoga’ means ‘yoke’ in Sanskrit, which alludes to the unison of mind, body and spirit.

Rooted in both Hinduism and Buddhism, yoga can be traced back to the sixth and fifth centuries BCE, and historically has great religious significance for many. Various studies have been conducted to try and determine how much yoga can aid recovery from various physical and mental conditions, and many believe it’s excellent method for maintaining general physical health.

There are lots of different varieties of yoga, some more suitable for beginners and some more challenging. Positions and moves flow into each other, so with regular practice, many can find they memorise a series of positions quite easily.

Yoga encourages people to focus on their breathing while completing a variety of rhythmic physical exercises and stretches, exhaling and inhaling at various points.

What are the Benefits of Yoga?

Yoga has both physical and mental benefits, and was traditionally developed as a spiritual practice. Many athletes from a variety of different disciplines, from American football to wrestling, cite yoga as an essential part of their training.

Physical Benefits

  • Greater energy levels
  • Circulatory health
  • Protects the body from injury
  • Respiratory health
  • Flexibility
  • Improves insomnia
  • Lowers blood pressure and improves heart health

Mental Benefits

  • Great for managing stress: Yoga gives people space to focus on their breathing, rather than the business of their mind. Stress also changes the way we hold our bodies, making us feel physically tense. Yoga can treat neck pain and improve our flexibility, relaxing the body and so relaxing the brain.
  • Improves concentration: Those who practice yoga regularly say it improves their ability to focus and concentrate, because it encourages them to focus on small parts of the body individually, as well as their breathing. This is a practice they can introduce to various elements of their life.
  • Calms anxiety: Anxiety sufferers can distract themselves from their negative feelings with yoga, because it encourages ‘self-soothing’. Physical poses teamed with concentrated breathing are a welcome distraction during times of high anxiety. Mindfulness, a form of meditation, which encourages people to stay present in the now and ‘be mindful’, is a key part of yoga practice. If both the mind and body are focused on a series of movements and breathing patterns, it allows for fewer opportunities for mental stress and distressing trains of thought.
  • Weight control and cardio: Many addiction sufferers come to us underweight and malnourished, so begin to put weight on when their diet improves. For some, it’s helpful to begin exercising alongside this to control weight gain and speed up their metabolism again.

Yoga and addiction recovery

Stress, anxiety, depression – these are all common during addiction recovery. The combination of being without a substance that has been a crutch for so long, and the physical and mental challenges clients experience can be very difficult to cope with.

Along with balanced, healthy meals and plenty of opportunities to exercise, we encourage the practice of yoga within our facility, and facilitate regular classes. It tackles the negative feelings and emotions that many feel during addiction recovery, and it provides a positive focus. When practiced every day, our clients find themselves mentally focusing both before, during and after their practice, minimizing stress and anxiety throughout the day.

Talking therapies are essential, but we believe that recovery works best when people exercise their minds and bodies together.

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