Portable Relapse Prevention: Yoga Therapy

Finding new approaches for drug and alcohol treatment as well as relapse prevention is a very dynamic process. New therapy comes by techniques and theories being evaluated and then implemented. Some therapies fall out of favor after a while, because the test of time and use have proven them to be just a fad.

For addicts and alcoholics, creating a relapse plan to take with them after rehab is critically important. It is a given that they will come across situations, and people, that may cause physical cravings or emotional triggers. Having some portable and immediately usable techniques can help avoid relapse.


Yoga Therapy for Addiction

One of the most portable relapse tools you’ll find is yoga. Formal yoga classes include lots of stretching and mindful breathing. Both of these techniques can be put to use outside of formal yoga practice during sudden stress or temptation. They can be used immediately, anytime and anywhere.

Yoga therapy, previously seen as an alternative kind of therapy, completely unconnected to modern medical practice. However, strong mainstream medical research has shown that the benefits of practicing yoga have a direct effect on the body and the mind in very real and documented ways. Yoga is now considered to be a complimentary medicine to that based on using drugs or more invasive healing methods.

Being able to take a deep breath and step back from a difficult situation is a very good reason to include yoga in treatment for substance abuse. Both residential and outpatient addiction programs include it in their stable of therapies.

Yoga packs a double whammy for co-occurring disorders

People with anxiety, depression or other mental health problems combined with substance abuse (co-occurring disorders) benefit even more from yoga.

Learning to harness the power of the breathing and relaxation is a power that can be taken anywhere and used anytime. The heart racing and muscle tension that often goes along with anxiety can be significantly reduced.

About the Reviewer: Chris Barnes

Chris BarnesChristopher Barnes has worked in health care for over thirty years. He is a graduate of Alabama State University where he earned a double Bachelor of Science Degree in Social Work and Psychology in 1982. Christopher Barnes is currently the Director of Clinical services at The Discovery House where he has been employed for the past five years. Because of his extensive experience in health care & substance abuse he has an excellent rapport with constituents, clients, and other professional organizations in the counseling/social service community.

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