Yoga is a technique that uses physical postures and controlled breathing to lengthen and strengthen the spine, increase flexibility, calm the mind, improve concentration, and promote patience. Yoga can also contribute to a greater sense of control in more acute states when experiencing cravings, insomnia, agitation, etc. Regular practice is needed to fully experience these benefits.
Addiction, Recovery and Yoga
In this professionally made documentary film people speak candidly and compellingly about their addictions, working the 12-step program, and how yoga helped them in various ways with their recovery. The film is made by a senior Iyengar Yoga teacher and yoga therapist.
American Yoga Association (AYA)
This site provides information on the different types of yoga and guidance on how to choose a qualified teacher.
The site presents the Institute’s Guide to Programs, Online Courses, Certification Programs, meditation retreats and residential programs. It also includes articles and digital media to read, listen to and view.
Yoga Nidra CD / Yoga for Health
Created by a certified substance abuse counselor and trained yoga instructor, this CD is deep guided relaxation not physical yoga instruction. Yoga Nidra is an ancient method of deep rest, but unlike sleep you remain completely conscious and are able to release tension and anxiety. In this relaxed state you can plant the seeds of change in the subconscious mind through “sankalpa”, a Sanskrit word for a resolution that you make to yourself at the beginning and end of each practice. It is a powerful method for reshaping your personality and releasing old habits that interfere with your health and well-being. Research has shown that yoga nidra has been used to alleviate anxiety and depression and other issues that can arise when a person stops using alcohol or drugs. Available as a download ($9.99) or CD ($14.99) on cdbaby.com.
Yoga Recovery Online
Presents online yoga recovery videos by Kyczy Hawk, founder of Yoga and Recovery and creator of SOAR (Success Over Addiction and Relapse) program. Classes can be selected by style of yoga, length of sessions (from under 30 minutes to over an hour) and level of difficulty from beginners to advanced. Sessions are coordinated with the 12 step program. Classes start at $5.00. Monthly subscriptions are available for $9.00.
Developed by a chiropractor, this site provides online yoga classes with guided instruction (via RealAudio and Streaming Video) including breathing, stretching, relaxation, a yoga workout and chanting.
You can also learn about a type of yoga that focuses on meditation and breath-work described in our Meditation section here.
Khanna S, Greeson JM. A narrative review of yoga and mindfulness as complementary therapies for addiction. Complementary Therapies in Medicine. 21(3):244-52, 2013.
A small but growing number of well-designed clinical trials and experimental lab studies on smoking, alcohol dependence, and substance use support the effectiveness and proposed mechanisms of action of mindfulness-based therapies for treating addiction. Very few studies have been conducted on the specific role of yoga in treating or preventing addiction but current findings increasingly support yoga and mindfulness as promising complementary therapies for addictive behaviors.
Lohman R. Yoga techniques applicable within drug and alcohol rehabilitation programmes. Therapeutic Communities. 20(1): 61-71, 1999.
This article describes specific yoga techniques used for detoxification and rehabilitation including breath control, relaxation and meditation, postures, diet and chanting. Research results strongly suggest that yoga is a positive motivator for rehabilitation and an aid to detoxification. Yoga used in conjunction with counseling and group work appears to support and further the healing process.
Authentic Yoga with Deepak Chopra and Tara Stiles
Demonstrated by Tara Stiles and guided by DeepakChopra, this app contains video explanations of individual poses, breathwork, and other yoga practices with customizable routines and a full explanation of Authentic Yoga. It has a community feature to ask questions and connect with other yogis. Authentic Yoga also includes unique yoga video lessons by Tara for everything from building strength and flexibility to relieving stress.
Hatha Yoga — Your portable yoga studio
Provides hours of professionally recorded instruction by the head Hatha Yoga instructor for the Sivananda organization. Stop motion visuals show you how to get into and out of each posture correctly. Features include built-in classes for various skill levels, the ability to customize any class to suit your specific needs, meditation and breathwork (Pranayama ) instruction, the option to play your own music in the background, and the ability to pause for breaks whenever you need to. The app remembers your position so you can resume your practice right where you left off.