In 2014, an estimated 21.4 million people in the United States who were 12 years old or older battled a substance use disorder, which equates to about 1 in every 12 American adults, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSUDH) reported. There are many methods and programs available to treat substance abuse and addiction, from traditional, to alternative, to complementary. More and more programs are focusing on a “whole person” or holistic approach that encompasses a variety of methods and tools to help achieve, maintain, and enhance recovery. Yoga is a complementary, or adjunct, health practice that is often considered a natural form of medicine. Adjunct means “in addition to,” and not “in place of.” Yoga is often beneficial when used in tandem with other traditional substance abuse treatment methods. The describes modern yoga as the use of physical postures to learn how to connect mind, body, and breath to gain self-awareness and focus attention inward. According to data published by US News & World Report, around 21 million Americans practice yoga, a number that has doubled in the past 10 years.
Yoga has many potential benefits, including:
- Stress relief
- Increased physical stamina and strength
- Self-reflection and increased self-awareness
- Healthier exercise and eating habits
- Heightened self-confidence and improved self-image
- Pain relief
- Better sleep
- Increased energy levels
- Reduction in fatigue
- Emotional healing
- Overall health and wellness improvement
Yoga is increasingly being used in substance abuse treatment programs and throughout recovery to help prevent relapse, reduce withdrawal symptoms and drug cravings, and provide a healthy outlet to cope with potential triggers and daily life stressors.
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