Addiction is a highly complex condition that affects so many people. The road to recovery can feel long and arduous and even the most comprehensive treatment plans have room for improvement. Therapy, support groups and medication all have an important role to play. But it’s also important to look at the bigger picture and consider complementary and alternative treatments to aid and support recovery.
Yoga and meditation are particularly effective in helping people recovering from addiction reach their goals and lead a healthier, happier life. They are not used to replace other therapies. They are simply powerful support tools for recovery. Both of the practices are also extremely useful in combating and managing stress, as well as anxiety and depression.

Put simply, yoga is a Hindu philosophy that teaches a person to experience inner peace by controlling the body and mind. It’s a spiritual discipline that incorporates breath control, simple meditation and bodily postures for health and relaxation.

Meditation is a practice that goes back thousands of years. It focuses on calming the mind and concentrating on a specific thought or idea in a quiet place. You can meditate alone or in a group and there’s no set timing (so you can meditate for just a few minutes or an hour or two). Spiritual and religious beliefs are not important – it’s all about relieving stress and feeling more centred.

Help during rehab and recovery

Overcoming addiction can be incredibly challenging and stressful. Yoga and meditation can help people manage stress and focus on positives. One of the great benefits of both of the practices is that they remain very effective after the initial recovery period (and not just during it). Ultimately, they are valuable tools to stay sober and clean for a lifetime while dealing with stress in a healthy way.

Meditation rewires critical pathways in the brain to boost learning, memory and self-awareness and reduce anxiety and stress. This rewiring supports taking a new approach to everyday situations so that a person living with addiction can react in an appropriate way without the need for drugs or alcohol. Meditation’s ability to reduce stress is particularly important as stress is so often a prompt for relapse.

The practice of meditation and yoga can be very versatile in treating addiction. For example, both can be used to slow breathing down and calm nerves during stressful times. They can also help reduce negative feelings which can often drive people to drink or drugs. Both practices are highly spiritual and many people living with addiction find recovery to be a spiritual journey.

Meditation and stress

The mindfulness that yoga and meditation help generate is particularly helpful in treating stress, anxiety and depression. Focusing on the present moment while having the ability to accept the way you’re feeling is highly therapeutic.

Combining meditation with physical exercise such as yoga can boost its stress-fighting properties even further, as exercise is another healthy way to combat anxiety.

Practical benefits of yoga and meditation

The good news is that both yoga and meditation are easy to learn and can be done anywhere. Although there are many different forms of both practices, you don’t need to be a yoga master to reap the rewards. For people living with addiction or struggling with stress and anxiety, yoga and meditation build a mindfulness that gives their actions’ purpose and thought (unlike addiction which is all about acting on impulse). From a physical point of view, yoga increases flexibility and strength to improve self-confidence and wellbeing.

At Step One Recovery, we appreciate and respect the power of yoga and meditation. That’s why we provide these treatments in addition to bespoke treatment plans at our luxurious rehab centre in Spain. We believe that focusing your thoughts, body and spirit on achieving meditational and mindfulness goals will support your recovery – both while you are with us and when you return home.