Fitness and Yoga for Addiction Recovery

During the process of excessively using alcohol and drugs, a person’s mind is impacted. Addiction begins to alter the body’s chemistry.

Once all substances are removed, an individual might begin to experience the following feelings to life stressors:

  • Sensitivity
  • Anxiety
  • Depression

The great news is that physical activity assists in the shift of negative emotions being altered to positive ones. If a person has been suffering from addiction, there are many benefits for exercise and addiction recovery.

Reducing Stress

Stress can be an issue when an individual is in the process of recovering, and relapse can occur if not managed properly. One of the main ways stress can be reduced is through exercising. Physical activity improves circulation and releases feel-good endorphins in the brain.

Sleeping Better

When an individual is experiencing issues in recovery, it is not unusual. It is said that people start abusing drugs and alcohol, believing that the substances will assist them in receiving the rest that they desire. Exercising regularly can improve the quantity and quality of sleep. According to SMART Recovery, “As the body and mind continue to return to a more normal state, many people in recovery find exercise also helps restore a normal sleep schedule.”

Improved Mood

Mood changes are connected with addiction recovery. The body adjusts to new circumstances by teaching it to naturally produce feel-good chemicals that were artificially sought in drugs. According to the Mayo Clinic, just 30 minutes of exercise is enough to affect a positive change.

Exercise releases the following:

  • Feelings of happiness
  • Endorphins in the brain
  • Feelings of well-being

Increased Energy

As an individual disburses plenty of energy when they swim, ride a bicycle, or run, they also receive energy in exchange for their efforts. It is possible that a person can feel lethargic and tired after engaging in recovery, but regular exercise can assist in instilling energy back.

Stronger Immune System

The Office of Disease Prevention and Health announces that exercising regularly can help an individual protect their body from the following serious conditions:

  • Stroke
  • Cancer
  • Depression
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoporosis
  • Heart Disease

Prevent Relapse

One of the greatest ways to encourage an individual to participate in exercising is it can prevent relapses of drug and alcohol use. There is a collection of studies suggesting that exercising regularly can increase the abstinence rate by 95 percent for substance abuse.

Exercise also contributes to managing:

  • Depression
  • Stress
  • Anxiety

Why Is Yoga Helpful in Recovery?

Yoga is an activity that encourages mindfulness, which helps addicts struggling how to effectively deal with stressful situations. Yoga for recovering addicts is supplemental to their overall growth. The practice of yoga utilizes mental and physical techniques to target the part of the brain affected by substance use disorders and reduce cravings brought on by drugs. 

Yoga escalates the GABA neurotransmitter in the brain, which also leads to the reduction of stress and anxiety. Individuals can focus on mindfulness through yoga for addiction recovery instead of immediate physical desires.

What Is Yoga?

Yoga is a set of mental, spiritual, and physical disciplines intended to improve the sense of well-being and a person’s overall mood.

The activity incorporates the following:

  • Breathing modulations
  • Body postures
  • Spirituality and relaxation
  • Meditation techniques aimed to promote physical strength

What Are The Benefits of Yoga For Addiction Recovery?

yoga for addiction recoveryYoga is a stress-management practice, and it has been known to help in many areas of an individual’s well-being. The lessons expanded upon during mindfulness and yoga target the areas in the brain that were affected by addiction.

Yoga and various mindfulness techniques can be used in coordination with evidence-based traditional treatment to assist people in overcoming substance use and mental health disorders.

  • Relieve a range of health conditions such as chronic pain and insomnia
  • Reduce risk factors such as high blood pressure and heart disease
  • Manage depression and anxiety
  • Reduce psychological pain
  • Alleviate physical alignments
  • Achieve spiritual enlightenment
  • Improved bone density, balance, and immunity
  • Lower resting heart rate and reduced pain

What Role Does Exercise Play In Recovery?

There are many proven and tested correlations between alcohol recovery and exercise. By exercise releasing endorphins into the body, a natural high is created. The same endorphins are released when an individual is abusing substances. A person will be reintroduced to healthy endorphins into their body by exercising during recovery.

According to a Frontiers in Psychiatry study, on the National Institute of Health, “Accumulating evidence shows that exercise influences many of the same signaling molecules and neuroanatomical structures that mediate the positive reinforcing effects of drugs. These studies have revealed that exercise produces protective effects in procedures designed to model different transitional phases that occur during the development of, and recovery from, a substance use disorder.”

In another study, researchers offered rats a dispenser with the following drugs:

  • Morphine
  • Amphetamine
  • Nicotine

The rats that participated on the wheel and exercised, hit the dispenser fewer times than those who did not exercise at all. This suggests that exercise plays an important role in providing a healthy substitute for substance abuse.

What Exercises Are Best For Someone In Recovery?

Each individual is different. Therefore, not all individuals will desire to partake in the same form of exercise. Most treatment rehabilitation facilities will include some if not all of the following exercising options.

  • Walking
  • Cardio
  • Yoga
  • Aerobic classes
  • Swimming
  • Running
  • Hiking

What Are Some Popular Types Of Yoga?

There are various forms of yoga to enjoy and experience, such as:


This is the most common form of yoga in the United States. It involves meditation and posture exercises. The main goal is breathing techniques and healing the mind, body, and soul through poses.


This spiritual form of yoga focuses on an individual devoting love to a higher power through mantra meditation which normally involves chanting.


This form of yoga utilizes meditation to seek self-realization and wisdom. It employs the following mental techniques:

  • Self-reflection
  • Self-questioning
  • Conscious illumination


This form of yoga consists of a sequence of 26 physically demanding postures. The primary goal of this room-heated activity is to cleanse the body of sweating and release tension.


This form of yoga strives to reduce ego and eliminate self-centeredness. There are several body movements that individuals learn to detach themselves from their actions.

How Does Yoga Help With Mental Disorders?

Yoga for addiction recovery is ideal because it can help individuals with mental health disorders, which co-occurs with addiction. A 2014 study published in the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine found that specialized yoga therapy might help individuals struggling with PTSD reduce alcohol and drug use. Researchers measured the effect of yoga for women with substance abuse behaviors and symptoms of PTSD.

After one month of the initial trial, which was 75 minutes each, practically 70 percent of the yoga participants who engaged in 12 Kripalu-based Hatha sessions with trauma-sensitive yoga techniques without physical contact and non-threatening language, found that their PTSD symptoms were less noticeable. Contrarily, over 90 percent of the control group became more aware of their symptoms.

Physical Fitness: A Critical Aspect of Holistic Rehab

At BRC Recovery, our definition of physical fitness is the body’s ability to function with sufficient energy to engage in everyday activities; handle physical, mental, and emotional stressors; and participate in your activity of choice. Our Fitness & Yoga Program focuses on building cardiorespiratory health, strength, endurance, and mindfulness. Clients can either begin their journey to fitness or pick up where they left off in our state-of-the-art fitness centers. Our on-staff, personal trainers help residents understand physical anatomy, as well as how to achieve and maintain strength and resiliency through a combination of exercise, proper nutrition, and rest.

Personal Fitness

All workouts are supervised by Personal Trainers. Our trainers work with each of our clients to set individual goals for their workouts and physical lifestyle. For some of our clients, moderate activity will be adequate to alleviate stress and improve overall health, but for those who are serious about improving their physical abilities, a more intensive exercise program can be developed.

Yoga for Body, Mind, and Spirit

Yoga has been practiced for centuries, and its numerous health and wellness benefits are useful in recovery. Not only does yoga build physical strength and stabilize the body, but it also promotes mental clarity and focus. Practicing yoga for addiction recovery reveals the spiritual connection between body and mind.

BRC Recovery offers clients yoga classes led by registered yoga teachers. Our yoga instructors understand and honor the recovery process and how yoga for addiction recovery helps to restore health and create balance. Through gentle instruction, clients are inspired to find joy, fulfillment, and wisdom in their yoga practice.

Heal Your Whole Self

BRC Recovery combines holistic practices with traditional, evidence-based therapies that help our clients, many of whom have relapsed or experienced unsuccessful treatment, recover from addiction. For more information about our commitment to fitness and our other services, contact us today.

Get Help At BRC Recovery Today

A successful, enduring recovery requires a healthy body and a healthy mind. Both are foundational for long-term sobriety and can be attained through a holistic program. Contact us today to get started.