People often associate impulsive behavior with children and adolescents. Disorders involving impulse often trigger drug or alcohol addiction, resulting a cycle of destructive behavior.
Yoga can help alleviate the stress and anxiety that drives impulsive behavior and help curb addiction as part of a substance abuse treatment program.
How Yoga Can Help Treat Addiction
Eastern medicine treats addiction as a part of the entirety of a person’s suffering. Positive and negative behaviors cycle continuously together. Addiction manifests when too much of the body’s energy flows toward attachment to pleasure as a way to balance aversion to suffering.
An experienced yoga instructor helps students direct their attention and energy to the root of suffering. Through careful breathing and body control, students can correct imbalances in the mind and body and learn how to control impulsive behaviors. In essence, yoga and cognitive behavioral therapy share many key traits.
Rumi, a 13th-century Islamic scholar and mystic, once said, “Your task is not to seek love, but to seek and find all the barriers you have built within yourself.” This mindset of self-empowerment is the cornerstone of modern substance abuse therapy, which yoga can supplement.
The Science of Pranayama
Pranayama is the practice of meditative breathing to harmonize the mind and body. The clearing of the mind helps relieve stress, manage triggers, and achieve a greater sense of self-control.
Yoga does this by harmonizing the sympathetic nervous system (which regulates the fight-or-flight response) with the parasympathetic nervous system (which regulates the body’s unconscious at-rest processes). A study conducted by the Swami Vivekananda Yoga Research Foundation found a significant decrease in sympathetic activity for 25 male volunteers following a session of yoga.
The results included significantly decreased oxygen consumption, lowered heart rate, and greater breath volume, all of which help reduce stress that triggers impulses and addiction. People who practice yoga habitually can develop a calmer state of mind and stave off cravings for harmful substances.
Yoga in Everyday Life
Even short sessions of controlled breathing or postures can help people manage their daily lives and positively stave off stress and triggers. Pranayama can be invaluable in common stressful situations such as traffic jams, job stress, family issues, and for treatment of symptoms associated with mental disorders.
Morning yoga can help prepare the body for the demands of the day, while nighttime practice can help the body achieve a restful sleep and wake feeling energized and stress-free.
The practice of yoga dates back over five millennia and continues to help people relieve stress and improve their overall health. Destinations for Recovery consolidates the wisdom and philosophy of Eastern yoga with structured Western cognitive behavioral therapy to create a comprehensive holistic treatment for impulse control disorder and addiction.
Find Out More
For more information about the benefits of yoga and other substance abuse treatment options, contact Destinations to Recovery. We assess every client’s condition and personality to determine the most effective, individualized treatment plan.
Our inpatient treatment programs incorporate a traditional 12-step approach with advanced guided therapies including yoga, art therapy, nautical therapy, and group counseling. Call us at 877-466-0620 to learn more about our programs.