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How Yoga Helps With Alcoholism

author image Alena Bowers
Alena Bowers began writing professionally in 2001 and is author of the book, "Alter This!" by Lark Books. She is an educator, yoga instructor and healing arts professional living in Portland, Ore. Bowers holds a Master of Education in visual art from Portland State University.
How Yoga Helps With Alcoholism
Include yoga's mind-body-spirit connection in your alcoholism recovery plan. Photo Credit Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images

The practice of yoga dates back thousands of years to India where yogis would practice various postures and breathing techniques to align the body and mind. According to "Yoga Journal," 12-step recovery programs are beginning to take note of yoga's mind-body-spirit connection. Millions of Americans suffer from drug and alcohol addictions. Although yoga has not become a part of mainstream treatment for alcoholism, its benefits can be helpful for anyone, including addicts.


The first step in an Alcoholics Anonymous program is to"'let go and let God." The same principle of Ishvarapranidhana is applied in yoga, which means to "surrender to God." One of the main goals of yoga is to connect with the breath and relax the nervous system. "Yoga Journal" claims this may be helpful for addicts to feel this new type of relaxation inside their bodies.

Yamas and Niyamas

According to Yoga Basics, yoga's foundation is based on observances and restraints, or yamas and niyamas. These principles may be helpful for addicts to achieve clarity of mind towards a path of recovery. The practice of ahimsa means "non-harming" and addicts can learn not to harm their bodies through repeated alcohol use. The observance of satya, or truthfulness, means addicts can begin to be honest to themselves and others about their addictive behaviors. Aparigraha means non-grasping, or to release whatever desire is feeding their addiction. Saucha, or purity, can help inspire addicts to purify the toxins in their body.


Self Growth suggests several yoga postures to help relax and calm the body and mind of addicts. On a yoga mat or carpeted area, bring your hands and knees to the floor for table pose. Take a deep breath in and arch your back and lightly drop your head for cat pose. Take a deep inhale in and drop your belly and lift your head for cow pose. Repeat this several times. End that series in child's pose by lying over your tights with knees bent and arms dropped gently to your side.

Final Relaxation

Each series of yoga postures should end in a final relaxation pose, or savasana. This is where the focus is only on the breath and every part of the body should be relaxed. Lie flat on your back with your feet at hip's width distance apart. Have your arms relaxed by your side and close your eyes. Lie for 5 minutes and breathe deep long inhales into your belly. Allow all stress to be released with each long exhale.

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