How Yoga Can Help Prevent Relapse in Recovery

An important part of addiction treatment is learning about new ways to cope with life once patients have completed their program. In the pursuit of sobriety, there are various coping skills that have to be learned or relearned so as to provide the best protection against relapse when treatment has finished. Yoga is an effective coping mechanism that enables recovering addicts to develop resistance to the stresses and strains of their daily lives that may have contributed to their addiction issues before treatment.

Yoga is strongly recommended by addiction treatment centers as it helps patients develop stronger self-awareness together with a better understanding of how to manage cravings to prevent relapse. When people enter into a drug addiction treatment program, they often have concerns over their ability to be able to enjoy life without the need to use drugs or alcohol. The practice of yoga is extremely beneficial in teaching patients how to unwind and relax without being under the influence of substances.

There are many benefits of yoga for someone in an addiction treatment center that can contribute positively to a healthy life in recovery. To engender a sense of peace, yoga is recommended in addiction therapy as a way for patients to find a healthier path to recovery.

Some of the benefits of yoga include:

●        Physical Recovery

Many people with addiction issues can also be suffering from physical pain, sometimes to a chronic degree. Although yoga looks to be a very sedate practice, it is actually extremely strenuous and works the body through a combination of stretches and poses controlled by the body’s core. Yoga is a highly effective form of exercise in that it improves flexibility through gentle movements, poses, and stances that engage the core while focusing on controlled breathing.

While working for muscle groups, yoga also relaxes the body and mind. At the end of a yoga session, time is dedicated to complete relaxation through guided meditation, leaving patients with a strong sense of wellbeing. Yoga, when practiced regularly, can significantly improve posture and physical strength and leads to a clearer focus in the mind, which is important when in recovery from addiction.

Importantly, yoga is not a drill-like practice like some other fitness activities like circuit training at the gym. There is no minimum level of experience or physical fitness required to get the full benefits of exercising through this mindfulness practice, although the positive benefits are undeniable. Students of yoga are able to set the pace themselves and as the movements are basic, slow and gentle, with no complicated routines to follow, it can be practiced by anyone, even people in poor health or with physical limitations.

●        Relieves Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety

Many people struggling with addiction issues are also suffering a mental health condition such as depression, PTSD or panic disorder. Yoga goes a long way to treating the distressing symptoms of mental health conditions in a completely natural way because it stimulates a chemical in the brain that is crucial for good mental health. Yoga helps to shift the mind to a state of deep rest and calm, which results in the body relaxing at a basic cellular level. Emphasis on deep, controlled and restful breathing combined with gentle movement significantly reduces levels of cortisol, the stress hormone. Many people entering drug and alcohol addiction treatment show elevated levels of cortisol, and mindfulness practices like yoga have been proven by studies to release tension for a healthier state of mind.

People in addiction treatment have often completely lost the ability to relax without substances or alcohol and yoga is an excellent tool to allow them to rediscover natural ways to relax and unwind. One of the basic principles of yoga is learning how to be present in the moment and increase self-awareness, with a strong focus on the here and now. This is important in addiction treatment as focusing on the present allows someone to leave the past behind so they can keep moving forward a day at a time while in therapy and years after in recovery.

●        Relapse Prevention

One of the biggest concerns after leaving addiction treatment is the prospect of coming face-to-face with trigger situations that have the potential to lead to relapse. Yoga is an extremely valuable skill to acquire to combat triggers, stressors, and cravings when in recovery and it’s been proven to afford considerable resistance to relapse. Learning yoga during addiction treatment replaces negative behaviors with more positive responses even in the most stressful situations, allowing recovering addicts to cope without falling back to old ways of self-medicating with drugs and alcohol.


Addiction treatment is a personal journey for each individual entering rehab. For those looking for a combination of luxury, personalization, and compassion, Ranch Creek provides the perfect environment for California drug rehab. With five-star facilities and programs that are tailored to each patient’s needs, we offer total support in creating the foundation for a life in recovery from addiction at our rehab center in California.