Yoga is an ancient practice that is designed to encourage physical, mental, and spiritual harmony. Archaeologists have discovered depictions of individuals in yogic poses in drawings dated to 3000 B.C., which means that yoga has at least a 5,000-year history.
Through the millenia, various disciplines have evolved. Today, some yoga practitioners focus almost entirely on the physical challenges and benefits, while others practice yoga in pursuit of the mind-body-spirit balance that has been at the core of yoga since its earliest days.
As it has evolved, yoga has been influenced by several belief systems, and has incorporated principles from Hinduism, Buddhism, Christianity, and Islam and other sources.
Yogic practice focuses on postures (often referred to as “asanas”), breathing patterns, and movements or gestures. While achieving these physical objectives, yoga practitioners also work to achieve a meditative state that facilitates reflection, introspection, and personal growth.
Benefits of Yoga
The many benefits of yoga include the following:
- Increased strength, flexibility, coordination and stamina
- Improved circulation
- Respect for the body
- Impulse control through slow, controlled postures and stretches
- Stress relief by stimulating the production of endorphins
- Healthy way to cope with drug cravings and relapse triggers
- Yoga in Recovery
Yoga offers a gentle and peaceful way for recovering addicts to reconnect with their bodies. The positive physical effects of yoga are both immediate and long-term. Yogic stretches, bends, and breathing methods can bring an immediate sense of calm and focus.
Yoga helps to heal the damage of addiction by unifying the body, mind and spirit. The breathing and postures of yoga require participants to listen to their body’s cues and stay in the present moment. For individuals who have previously responded to stress, pressure, and pain by turning to drugs or other self-defeating behaviors, yoga provides a safe and natural alternative.