Yoga, an ancient practice originating from the Sanskrit word “yuj” meaning “union,” aims to harmonize the mind and body through exercise, meditation and controlled breathing, without requiring expensive equipment or a specific location. The most prevalent form in western culture is hatha yoga which upholds physical postures and breath control. Starting yoga typically involves attending classes led by trained instructors, lasting between 45 minutes to 1.5 hours, focusing on achieving specific postures to facilitate energy flow and alignment of the body, thereby promoting mental balance and openness. While not tied to any religion, yoga offers spiritual enrichment for many, promoting a deeper connection between mind, body and spirit, accessible to anyone as a tool for enhancing overall wellbeing.

Originating from ancient India, is a practice involving physical postures, breathing exercises and meditation, aimed at achieving physical, mental and spiritual well-being. In the context of rehabs and addiction treatment, yoga serves as a valuable tool for recovery offering therapeutic benefits such as stress reduction, anxiety management and craving control. It helps in improving physical attributes like strength, flexibility and balance, which are often affected by addiction. Additionally, yoga promotes a sense of community and support among individuals in recovery, helping combat isolation and encouraging the development of a supportive network.

Regular abuse of drugs or alcohol can alter brain pathways related to pleasure, emotion regulation, decision-making and impulse control but these changes can heal over time with abstinence. Yoga, recognised for its stress-relieving properties, can aid this recovery process. It works by modulating stress responses, potentially regulating stress hormones like cortisol and adrenaline and may enhance grey matter in the brain, particularly in areas like the hippocampus responsible for stress control. Yoga practices have been linked to increased levels of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), a natural tranquilizer in the brain that manages anxiety and stress, offering a natural remedy for the anxiety, stress and depression commonly experienced during drug withdrawal. Studies and surveys report significant mental health benefits from regular yoga practice, including reductions in depression, anxiety and stress, alongside improvements in overall well-being.

Its adoption by individuals seeking a shift from the cycle of addiction is not just a trend but a practice supported by evidence for its myriad benefits. This article explores the multilayered role of yoga in providing a healthy distraction, aiding stress reduction, controlling cravings, enhancing self-awareness and creating a spiritual awakening that collectively contribute to a sustainable recovery and a deeper sense of inner peace.

One of the key reasons behind the widespread adoption of yoga in addiction recovery is its accessibility. With the proliferation of free online resources, community classes and rehabilitation centers incorporating yoga into their programs, it has become a practice that is easily accessible to many. Additionally, the minimal requirement for equipment and the ability to practice in varied settings make yoga a relatively inexpensive option for individuals looking to enrich their recovery process.

Evidence-Based Benefits

How Does Yoga Reduce Stress?

Regular engagement in yoga has been scientifically shown to lower stress levels. The practice of asanas (postures) combined with pranayama (breath control) activates the parasympathetic nervous system, which helps in reducing cortisol levels and promotes relaxation.

How Does Yoga Control Cravings?

Yoga cultivates mindfulness, which enhances the ability to observe cravings without acting on them. This heightened state of awareness allows individuals in recovery to recognise their triggers and respond to them in healthier ways.

How Does Yoga Increase Self-Awareness?

The introspective nature of yoga encourages practitioners to connect with their inner selves. This increased self-awareness is key in understanding the root causes of addiction and addressing them constructively.

How Does Yoga  Reduce Anxiety?

The meditative aspects of yoga help in alleviating anxiety. By focusing on the present moment and maintaining a steady breath, individuals can manage anxiety effectively, reducing the likelihood of relapse.

How Does Yoga Aid Spiritual Awakenings?

Many find that yoga serves as a pathway to spiritual growth. The practice can lead to a profound sense of connection with something greater than oneself, which is often described as a spiritual awakening.

How Does Yoga Help You Regain Control and Prevent Relapses?

Yoga empowers individuals to regain control over their bodies and minds. The discipline and routine required for regular practice can translate into other areas of life, helping to prevent relapses.

How Does Yoga Restore Inner Peace?

Beyond the physical and mental health benefits, yoga offers a profound sense of peace. This inner tranquility is essential for individuals in recovery, providing a solid foundation for building a life free from addiction.

Trauma Informed Yoga

Trauma-informed care is crucial in addiction treatment, recognizing that most individuals in recovery have encountered trauma, which significantly impacts the cycle of addiction and the body’s systems. Recent studies highlight the importance of trauma-informed physical activities, such as yoga, which, when tailored to individuals who have experienced trauma, offer a therapeutic option that prioritises safety, gentleness and restoration. Trauma-informed yoga, an evidence-based therapy developed to alleviate symptoms of traumatic stress, requires specific adaptations to be effective, including diaphragmatic breathing practices, restorative poses and the avoidance of poses that could trigger the sympathetic nervous system. Designed to be delivered in various settings by certified professionals, this approach integrates knowledge from attachment theory, trauma theory and neuroscience, emphasising the importance of presence and accommodating physical limitations to aid in healing and restoration.

Modern yoga, as described by the Yoga Journal, utilises physical postures to integrate the mind, body and breath, creating self-awareness and inward focus. With around 21 million Americans engaging in yoga a figure that has seen a notable increase over the last decade it’s finding its place in substance abuse treatment and recovery programs. Yoga offers an array of benefits including stress relief, enhanced physical stamina, self-reflection, improved eating and exercise habits, higher self-confidence, pain relief, better sleep and emotional healing, contributing to overall health and wellness. In the context of addiction treatment, yoga supports the balancing of brain and body functions affected by substance abuse through physical and emotional pathways. It promotes self-awareness, helps individuals manage cravings by acknowledging them without judgement and improves physical well-being, which aids in coping with daily stressors and withdrawal symptoms. Furthermore, yoga’s incorporation into 12-Step programs reinforces spiritual growth through mindfulness and meditation, encouraging personal insight and tranquillity. As a holistic part of addiction treatment and beyond, yoga complements traditional therapy techniques, offering a lifelong tool for self-soothing and mental clarity.

Yoga offers a comprehensive, accessible and evidence-supported method for enhancing addiction recovery. It combines physical, mental and spiritual practices to help individuals achieve wellness, manage cravings and maintain sobriety making it an integral tool for a sustainable and peaceful recovery process.

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    Founded in 2008, WeDoRecover has evolved from an advisory service for addiction treatment into a comprehensive provider of care, following its 2019 merger with Changes Addiction Rehab in Johannesburg. Specialising in connecting patients to top-tier addiction treatment centers in the UK, South Africa and Thailand, WeDoRecover supports individuals globally, including those from the United Arab Emirates and Europe. Accepting both South African medical aid and international health insurance our organisation facilitates access to high-quality treatment for substance and alcohol use disorders, offering individualised care that addresses the physical, mental and social needs of patients.

    Our team, led by Gareth Carter, offers empathetic and professional support, guiding you through every step of the treatment process. Whether you're in South Africa or abroad, our acceptance of various insurance plans makes quality care accessible, providing a platform for lasting recovery and a healthier future.

    Inpatient Rehab

    Rehab care is a good option if you are at risk of experiencing strong withdrawal symptoms when you try stop a substance. This option would also be recommended if you have experienced recurrent relapses or if you have tried a less-intensive treatment without success.


    If you're committed to your sobriety but cannot take a break from your daily duties for an inpatient program. Outpatient rehab treatment might suit you well if you are looking for a less restricted format for addiction treatment or simply need help with mental health.


    Therapy can be good step towards healing and self-discovery. If you need support without disrupting your routine, therapy offers a flexible solution for anyone wishing to enhance their mental well-being or work through personal issues in a supportive, confidential environment.

    Mental Health

    Are you having persistent feelings of being swamped, sad or have sudden surges of anger or intense emotional outbursts? These are warning signs of unresolved trauma mental health. A simple assesment by a mental health expert could provide valuable insights into your recovery.

    Finding the right rehab close to you is simple with WeDoRecover. Our network includes the finest rehab centers, ensuring personalised, quality care for your recovery needs. Let Gareth Carter and our empathetic team help guide you to a center that feels right for you, offering expert care and support. Start your healing today by choosing a rehab that's not just close to you, but also that truly cares about your loved ones recovery.

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