Nearly 29 million Americans practiced yoga last year. People try yoga for many health benefits which include reducing stress and improving fitness.

Not only is yoga great for your physical health, but it is one of the best ways to take care your mental well-being. Yoga is a holistic practice and beneficial to those in recovery for substance abuse. It helps to heal the body and mind by shifting someone’s focus away from the substance. 

Scottsdale Recovery Center includes yoga therapy in its programs because it offers calm and reflective rehabilitation through the postures, breathing exercises and guided imagery. Below are several of the benefits yoga provides to those in recovery for substance abuse.

Relieves stress

Stress is a main component that can trigger a relapse. Practicing yoga is a great way to calm and restore the nervous system and has been shown to effectively reduce stress with the regulation of dopamine, serotonin and norepinephrine.

Relieves pain

Drugs are prescribed to help reduce chronic pain, but some people still experience discomfort while going through the detox process. Yoga therapy can help teach new reactions to deal with pain and stress that helps the body to relearn healthier responses. Muscular tension that induces chronic pain can also be reduced by yoga.

More sleep and energy

Sleep is an essential element of the recovery process. The body’s circadian rhythm controls brain activity and aids in having deep, restful sleep at night. Substance can disrupt the waking and sleeping rhythms that lead to insomnia. Practicing yoga daily can improve a night sleep and enhance quality of life.

Physical wellness

Restoring physical health is a major achievement of sobriety. The holistic approach has been shown to improve cardiovascular health, strengthen muscles and increase heart and lung capacity. After the toll that substance abuse takes on the body, improving physical wellness helps restore feelings of empowerment and confidence.

Mental health

Addiction can have damaging effects on the brain that make it difficult to experience happiness without a substance. Yoga incorporates mind and body exercises through breath, movement and meditation that stimulate endorphins to act as natural feel-good chemicals. When practicing yoga, you learn skills such as self-awareness and how to react to situations that are emotionally demanding.

Emotional balance

Addiction is a roller coaster of emotions that include anger and depression. Yoga therapy can help bring a sense of inner peace and understanding.  It eases the process of transitioning into sobriety and creating and managing interpersonal relationships crucial for recovery.

Reduce cravings and impulse

After treatment, a person can experience negative feelings and give into cravings. The practice of yoga develops skills to respond to desires in a new and healthy way that steers away from old habits and impulses. Relapse is a major fear for those in recovery and the influence of yoga is a key part to assist in preventing one.


Chris Cohn is the owner of Scottsdale Recovery Center.