As we learn more about substance abuse and addiction, our understanding of how to create effective addiction rehab programs is evolving. As a society, we have moved on from the days when rehab involved little more than medical detox and a few sessions of therapy. We offer a holistic model of treatment that incorporates a variety of treatment methods, including yoga and meditation.
What Are Yoga And Meditation?
Meditation is the practice of focusing the mind on a particular object, thought or activity with the intention of removing distractions and achieving a state of calmness and mental clarity.
Yoga is an ancient practice based on a series of slow movements, poses and breathing exercises designed to put the body and mind in tune with one another. It is proven to have many health benefits, such as improved flexibility, better circulation and lower blood pressure.
Although yoga and meditation can be done as individual activities, they are highly complementary in method and intent, and they lend themselves to being practiced together.
Why Are Yoga And Meditation Valuable Addiction Treatment Tools?
Unlike exercise, nutrition and physical therapy, which target the body, and group, individual and family therapy, which target the mind, yoga and meditation can be used to engage an individual in their entirety. These pursuits enable the mind and body to communicate with each other and work in harmony to bring a sense of peace and wellness to the individual.
At our facility, we do not believe in treating the addiction – we believe in treating the person. Our approach is truly holistic: our treatment programs are designed to tap into the individual’s physical, psychological, social, cultural and spiritual being. Through yoga and meditation, all of those aspects of ourselves can be brought into sync.
What are the Benefits to Recovering Addicts?
Yoga and meditation can help recovering addicts in many ways, including the following:
- It eases the severity of withdrawal symptoms, such as pain, paranoia and high blood pressure
- It benefits the immune system, which keeps the addict healthier so they can focus on their addiction recovery
- It produces a natural dopamine boost, which can help the addict stave off cravings
- The atmosphere of respect and discipline can make participants feel that they are part of something profound, and this can positively impact self-esteem
- Participants learn breathing and mindfulness techniques that they can use as stress management techniques
- Participation in sessions gives recovering addicts a sense that they are in charge of their own self-improvement
- It gives recovering addicts an opportunity to form bonds of support with one another, and these bonds can carry over into other parts of the addiction treatment and rehab process.
How Do The Yoga And Meditation Sessions Work?
Yoga and meditation can be done either as two separate activities, or they can be combined and done as one activity.
During a guided meditation session, participants are guided through the process of relaxing their minds – usually through some deep breathing sequences – and focusing on something specific. This may be a tangible object that is either viewed or held in the hand, a sound like a piece of music, or a sensation like a breeze or the feeling of your feet on the ground.
The idea is that by focusing your energy, you can achieve a sense of calmness, and of being grounded. Some people view meditation sessions as a temporary escape from the world, while others see it as an opportunity to be at one with the world.
Even when performed without the addition of meditation, yoga can be a mindful experience. There are several forms of yoga, such as Bikram yoga – sometimes called hot yoga – which is practiced in a heated room, Hatha yoga, in which participants hold static poses, and Vinyasa yoga, in which participants flow through their poses via a series of movements and breathing sequences.
Yoga and meditation
The combined form of yoga and meditation is often done through a form of yoga called Kundalini yoga, or one of its derivatives. It uses typical yoga poses, but the goal is for participants to draw energy and awareness from within themselves. Sometimes participants are encouraged to ignore all distractions; sometimes, they are invited to let the distractions in, acknowledge them, and then let them go.
Although sometimes used synonymously, mindfulness and meditation are not the same thing. Meditation is practiced for a finite period of time. The goal is to focus on something – a sensation, an object, or a feeling – to the exclusion of anything else.
Mindfulness, on the other hand, is a way of life that can be practiced at any time. Instead of blocking out distractions, you acknowledge them, give yourself time to process them, and then gently let them go.
The goal of mindfulness therapy is to teach calming techniques you can use at any point throughout the day when you are feeling vulnerable or anxious. By learning how to accept distracting incidents and thoughts without judgment, you can send those distractions away and focus on more positive pursuits.
Integration With Other Addiction Treatment Methods
Yoga and meditation are effective addiction treatment methods on their own, but they can also be easily incorporated in an overall treatment plan.The health elements of yoga can be used to manage withdrawal symptoms.
And, they can also become part of a permanent solution for people with prescription drug addictions who have to find new ways to manage conditions originally being treated with the prescription drugs.
From a mental health aspect, both yoga and meditation can draw up some intense emotions, and these can serve as launchpads for discussion with a therapist. And this is one of the great benefits of a holistic, integrated treatment program: one treatment modality feeds into the others.
How To Get Started
Call us today to find out more about how yoga and meditation can form and effective part of your overall addiction treatment and rehab program. Your journey to a better life can start right now. All you have to do is make that first phone call.