Yoga—Therapies For Addiction

Promotes Enlightenment

The common theme throughout all of the treatment therapies mentioned here as well as countless others that were not mentioned, in treating addiction, is the idea that self-awareness, self-esteem, spirituality (not religion), and positive self-affirmation are key components to recovery from addiction. Yoga has been practiced for thousands of years to promote enhanced states of enlightenment and mindfulness (Kissen, p. 34). Behavioral health therapists have recently begun to use Yoga as an effective form of recovery from addiction. Yoga provides a self-soothing effect that is needed for addicts to feel comfortable in their own skin. Kissen (2009) discusses how yoga plays a role in recovery from addiction, “Class members perform a series of stretches and postural shifts that increase overall psychological energy, muscle tone, and flexibility and sense of balance – They begin to experience soothing feelings of warmth, relaxation, and reduction of stress, which they soon realize is more under their personal sense of control than was previously thought” (p. 37). 

Men participate in a yoga session.
Yoga – Therapies for Addiction

Narcissism Awareness

One of the downfalls of yoga in addiction recovery is that it can tend to be enhanced through narcissistic attitudes of self-esteem. This is why a good yoga instructor that is teaching yoga to addicts should also become a licensed clinician capable of confronting and dealing with this narcissistic attitude. Kissen (2009) mentions that addiction is usually associated with negative attacks on the body and self-esteem. Kissen also states that “Whereas an addict feels compelled to work out, shop, have sexual experiences, or do drugs, the yoga class, on the other hand, provides a more mindful, healthfully playful, and volitional context in which the person is continuously invited to discover and personally own various body feelings”, (Kissen, p. 40). It should also be noted that the positive effects of yoga can be addicting in itself. Some practitioners can reach a “yoga high” and crave for that feeling over and over again. Of course, this is a more beneficially healthy practice that being high on drugs, but replacing one addiction with another is never a good thing.

A photo of Prescott House Primary Therapist, Chris Sobel.

by Chris Sobel – Primary Therapist BHT

Chris has been part of the Prescott House team since 2005 and an active member in the recovery community in Prescott since 2002. In his work with each client, he brings forthrightness, inspiring life experience, and a commitment to helping men recover from addiction. Chris has many passions including golf and NY Mets baseball, and most importantly, spending time with his wife and two daughters.
Chris is also an amazing cook! Try some of his recipes: Easy Posole | Watermelon Salad

*Kissen, M., & Kissen-Kohn, D. (2009). Reducing addictions via the self-soothing effects of yoga. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 73(1), 34-43.

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