Yoga for Addiction

Yoga for Addiction Recovery

Yoga is a practice which can support an individual through recovery across the lifespan. What it teaches about sobriety and finding a daily practice hold the keys to some important recovery practices which can help an individual navigate life’s challenges. Learn more yoga and how it supports recovery.


How it Works

A person with addiction is generally feeling out of control in all aspects of life, inside and out. The ancient practice of yoga teaches individuals how to create a more peaceful union of body, mind and spirit while increasing physical and mental stamina. As an individual begins to feel better, the body and mind are less susceptible to everyday stresses in life and better able to resist the urges of addiction. When individuals with addiction first attend a treatment center, the present moment is hard to stay focused on, if not impossible. Yoga is a practical, easy to use tool to focus awareness on breath and bodies to bring presence here and now. True meditation is born out of this practice of presence.


What to Practice

Yoga is an eight-fold approach to life. Each aspect of yoga practice is called a ‘limb.’ The yoga practiced most in the United States is yoga asana (yoga of postures). In the tradition, the practice of yoga postures is preceded by right living, ethics and dedication to a spiritual path. Many asana yoga practices are currently accessible. Over one hundred types of yoga are recognized within the United States and in the West. An individual may choose a style of yoga which suits individual needs, personal history and preferences. A preferred yoga style may change with time. Some people desire dynamic, power yoga then gravitate towards a flowing, more subtle style later in life. The following are popular styles of yoga:

  • Anusara Yoga
  • Ashtanga Yoga
  • Bikram Yoga
  • Iyengar Yoga
  • Jivamukti Yoga
  • Purna Yoga
  • Silvananda Yoga
  • Vinyasa Yoga


Getting Started

It is best to study under the supervision and guidance of a yoga teacher to ensure proper body alignment with the spine. Injury can occur during any yoga asana practice with the ankles, knees, shoulders or neck and spine. A good stretch can open up muscles and relieve tension while a bad stretch can lead to muscle strains. The following beginning postures are good for starters:

  • Bound angle pose
  • Cobra pose
  • Mountain pose
  • Seated forward bend
  • Staff pose
  • Standing forward bend
  • Tree pose


A good yoga teacher can incorporate elements of mindfulness and breathing as an individual ‘holds’ a posture. Breathing is important for life, to fill the lungs with complete breath before release which oxygenates the body. Proper breathing technique can be relaxing but also healing for individuals who need a mental or physical release of stress. For individuals with addictions, yoga can provide a safe, comfortable space in which to focus the mind, align the body and let go of tension for the moment to be present within the self and begin the process of recovery each time the individual steps onto the mat.


Yoga is a healing, meditative practice. If you or a loved one seek a supportive environment in which to explore alternative therapies in support of addiction recovery, call the Villa. We can provide you with resources and information to guide your path to whole body wellness.