If you have never tried yoga previously, you might be put off by the idea that it is just too exotic or difficult. This can actually be a wonderfully beneficial practice for people in recovery, and a beginner’s yoga class isn’t going to be too strenuous. Here are 5 reasons for why yoga could make living sober easier:
1. It is an Effective Tool for Managing Stress
Up until becoming sober, your main tool for managing stress would have been alcohol or drugs. If you don’t find an effective replacement for this coping strategy, you are going to be at high risk of relapse. Yoga has been shown to reduce the stress hormone cortisol (Source: NCBI), so it is a proven technique for stress reduction.
2. Yoga is a Type of Mindfulness Practice
Mindfulness is the ability to be focused on the present moment without the distraction of discursive thinking (e.g. ‘I don’t like this’ or ‘she doesn’t like me’). The most popular technique for developing mindfulness is meditation but lots of people in early recovery find it difficult to sit still for long periods of time. Yoga is a type of moving meditation, and it can be effective for developing mindfulness, and is even used in drug rehab.
3. Yoga Can Combat Insomnia
Post-acute withdrawal symptoms can mean that you have trouble sleeping in early recovery. This insomnia can mean you feel tired all the time, and it can mean sober living feels unsatisfactory – it could become an excuse for relapse. Doing yoga in the late afternoon or early evening can be a good way to get your body and mind prepared for sleep.
4. It is Good for both Body and Mind
Years of alcohol or drug abuse is going to have damaged your body. Practicing yoga is going to speed up the healing process, and it is a path to lifelong mental and physical fitness. Some types of yoga can really get your heart pumping, so this can be an aerobic type of exercise as well.
5. Yoga Gets You Back in Touch With Your Body
One of the negative impacts of addiction is you lose touch with your body. This can mean that you end up feeling powerless and the mercy of aches and pains. Yoga can help you develop a sense of mastery over your body again, and this increases the likelihood that you will make positive decisions in regards to your health.