How Does Yoga Help with Addiction?
There are two components to addiction: the physiological and mental cravings and the ability of a person to resist or indulge the cravings. Yoga can help on both fronts. It minimizes your stress response systems and also increases your ability to be aware of your experiences with better candor.
Yoga relaxes your mental synapses and nervous system even when your addiction urges kick in. The mindfulness part of yoga helps you stay present as you feel your way through the discomfort of the urges. Experiencing this over time will help you break free of the addiction.
As you practice yoga asanas, the accompanying pranayama, and mindfulness, you get better at it, which raises your confidence. This helps you fight the insecurities, which lie in the root of addiction.
From confidence, you move to pride then grow in excitement, and you eventually cultivate a positive practice.
It is important to note that yoga is not a quick solution to addiction. It is a practice, and it takes time. However, the result promises to have a positive impact on many areas of your life. This inexpensive and robust technique won’t just help your recovery, it’ll also help you maintain it.
Scientific Studies Supporting Yoga’s Efficacy for Addiction Recovery
A review of 314 studies show that yoga helped patients with nicotine-use disorder reduce tobacco withdrawal symptoms and cravings as well as improve their mood.
A study done on 20 male subjects concludes that yoga therapy is effective in the rehabilitation of drug addicts (4).
A study of 88 smokers exposed to eight sessions of mindfulness training (an aspect of yoga), in two sessions per week for four weeks, showed a significant reduction in the cigarette use of the participants.
A study involving 12 people who took part in a yoga session for 60 minutes, three times a week over five weeks, showed a significant reduction of anxiety and depression in the participants compared to the control group.