There are many ways for an individual to treat his or her addiction. There are also many components that make up one’s recovery process. It is important for an individual in recovery for addiction to find pastimes that do not revolve around abusing drugs or alcohol. If an individual is amidst practicing yoga, he or she will be unable to engage in ingesting an abused substance (because his or her hands and body will be otherwise occupied). Also, part of the allure, for some people, surrounding yoga is that it plays into an overall healthy lifestyle. It can be helpful to ingratiate one’s self amongst individuals who work towards and honor a healthy lifestyle. Hence, yoga can be a helpful hobby for individuals who have a substance abuse problem.

Yoga is an ancient practice that was developed in India over 5,000 years ago. Though currently, there are many different types of yoga, Hatha is considered to be the first type created. Hatha yoga is a type of yoga that utilizes one’s breath and various postures (known as asanas) as a means to reach a meditative state. Hatha is a slow-moving, more relaxed type of yoga. All of the traditional yoga postures and sequences originate from Hatha. There are many other types of yoga practiced today. Five examples of the different types of yoga currently being practiced around the world can include, Ashtange, Anusara, Bikram, Iyengar, and Jivamukti.

Ashtanga is a faster paced practice with more emphasis on flow. Anusara is a type of yoga that places significant emphasis on the individual’s unique body abilities. It encourages proper alignment and uses modification poses when needed. Bikram is a type of yoga that is practiced in a heated room (typically around 105 degrees Fahrenheit). Bikram, though slower paced, often induces a significant perspiration response due to the heated room and moving through the yoga postures. Iyengar is a type of yoga that focuses on achieving precise alignment in each posture. This is accomplished through the use of many props (i.e. blocks, straps, bolsters, harnesses, incline boards…etc.). Jivamukti, a newer type of yoga, was created in 1984 by Sharon Gannon and David Life. Jivamukti is particularly physically demanding, with the purpose of pushing one’s physical abilities, while also honoring the spiritual and traditional components of yoga. Chanting Sanskrit mantras is an integral part of Jivamukti.

Much like the variety of treatment options available, yoga too has many nuanced types of practice. Each offers a slightly differing focus, but all have similar goals. The primary goal of yoga is to connect one’s entire self by creating a space for an individual to access and connect with four aspects of his or her wellbeing: spirituality, physical, mental, emotional. Spending time and energy on these four aspects of one’s overall health can be extremely beneficial for anyone, especially an individual who struggles with addiction.

A common suggestion for individuals in recovery from alcohol or drug addiction is to maintain an active social network. Attending a regular yoga class can help in this area. Though many yoga studios have a drop-in type platform, it is not uncommon for a consistent group to regularly attend the same classes. In some cases, the class time will work best for an individual, which can play a large role in attendance. Often an individual will find a specific yoga class or yoga instructor with which he or she will resonate. Knowing that attending a yoga class is always an option can feel comforting. There will not be a sense of feeling lost, as an individual will always have a place he or she can go. It can also be a non-threatening option to suggest to new sober friends.

One of the benefits of a yoga is the variety of offerings. If a person attends his or her first yoga class, and does not like it, he or she should try another. In many areas, an individual can try out a bunch of different types of yoga classes, whether they be part of a studio or not. People should also feel encouraged to try out different yoga instructors, as each instructor will have his or her own style.

Individuals seeking assistance with his or her recovery process will have many different options to choose from. Yoga can be an excellent supplement to, or even an integral part of one’s treatment plan. Across the board, caring for one’s physical body and emotional state is of utmost importance in relation to maintaining one’s sobriety.

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