Restorative yoga is an exercise regimen that uses structured poses, known as asanas, combined with patterned breathing to enhance health, increase longevity and relieve stress. Yoga has ancient roots and continues to be an effective method for helping people to feel better physically and enjoy improved mental clarity. Yoga is often used to strengthen and sustain recovery for individuals who are dealing with substance abuse issues.
Yoga is an ancient Asian practice that has been used for thousands of years to increase peace of mind and improve health. Images of yoga positions have been found on ancient drawings, and descriptions of the practice have been found in ancient writings.
The essence of the practice is controlled movement in formal poses that utilize a variety of muscle groups. Yoga positions are combined with controlled breathing patterns that bring more oxygen into the body to nourish cells and improve circulation. The result is better strength and flexibility for the body, as well as better concentration for the mind and greater emotional balance for the spirit.
Recognized Benefits of Yoga
The health community recognizes the value of yoga practice for a variety of benefits that it provides, such as:
- Improved muscle strength
- Greater flexibility and range of motion
- Better balance
- Reduced stress
- Improved heart and lung function
- Lower blood pressure
- Better management of depression, anxiety, insomnia and pain conditions
How Yoga Can Help Recovery
People struggling with addiction often lose contact with their bodies and how it feels under normal conditions. Yoga can help to reconnect people in recovery with sensations and feelings that may have been forgotten.
Even after a treatment program, tension and negativity may remain in the tissues of the body. Breathing involved in yogic practice helps to purge this negativity by providing more oxygen and increasing the amount of calming brain chemicals that tell the body everything is okay.
This sense of calm and control can be carried into everyday life whenever you need to deal with stress or have doubts about maintaining recovery.
Yoga with Meditation
Yoga is often combined with meditation to provide additional ability to release tension and provide better mental and emotional control for everyday life. Meditation can be particularly helpful for individuals in recovery, because it teaches individuals to be mindful of their own thoughts, actions and emotions.
Regular practice of mindfulness meditation can help to improve brain function. Mindfulness can help to alter thought and mood patterns for better behavioral control. Even beginners can quickly benefit from the increased focus and insight that meditation can provide. Combined with yoga, the two disciplines offer a practical tool for dealing with the stress of rebuilding a new life in recovery.
Yoga is easy enough for anyone to do, and it is also an effective way to engage both the mind and the body in integrated movement that helps to improve physical condition relax the mind and refresh the spirit.
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