Yoga and Meditation at the Heart and Mind of Addiction Recovery

Addiction can come in many shapes and guises, but the challenge it poses is constant. For most addicted people, whether they be reliant on alcohol, food, smoking, gambling or drugs, the issue that keeps them in the doldrums of dependence and restricts their ability to combat their problem is their failure to rationalize how they don’t actually need a particular quantity when their body or mind screams at them that they do.

From cold-turkey to hypnotism to gradual weaning off the offending vice, many techniques have been tried to surmount the great humps in the road thrown up by addiction, with varying degrees of success. Recently, however, new weapons against addiction have been emerging. It is possible that exercises such as yoga and meditation can give a person the ammunition they need to defeat their addictive enemy once and for all.

Finding balance with Yoga

The most common physical methods for the treatment of addiction involve changing the nature of the addictive action in order to slowly diminish the reliance of the addicted party on their personal vice. Yoga, however, is a new type of physical treatment regime that does not diminish reliance in the conventional sense but rather teaches the addicted individual a sense of physical discipline and control.

When cravings hit, yoga allows the individual to master the yearnings of their body and redirect their energy into a positive and beneficial physical experience. This self-discipline and autonomy sets yoga apart not only as an addiction remedy, but an all encompassing route to a better and happier life. In fact, it’s quite likely a recovering addict will end up becoming even more addicted to yoga.

Mastering the self with Meditation

Another method for opposing the strains of addiction is meditation. Basically, adherents to this discipline learn how to focus the mind on the here and now. Many addicts find that they are drawn back into their bad old habits because they remember times in the past when they had positive experiences with their vice, or they imagine how things might be different in the future. Meditation teaches them to refocus this mental energy into the present and to not romanticize harmful previous or future experiences. By teaching people how to understand their minds and stop pathologizing behaviors, meditation leaves someone in control of their own future and takes the power away from their addiction.

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