Yoga, an ancient practice that began in India during the Vedic period (c. 1500 – c. 500 BCE), is a group of physical, mental and spiritual disciplines that are often associated with certain bodily postures which are difficult to maintain for extended periods of time. Today, yoga therapy is considered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Administration (SAMHSA) to be one of several empirically validated treatment methods. Used in conjunction with other forms of clinical treatment, yoga therapy has been implemented as a holistic method in many programs that address the following:
During drug and alcohol detoxification, people may experience heightened levels of anxiety, stress, and depression as part of their withdrawal symptoms. Yoga therapy is an excellent, non-narcotic way of relieving these symptoms utilizing the body’s own resources to heal itself. Situated in a peaceful setting away from distractions, the yoga instructor guides clients to position their bodies on yoga mats in various uncomfortable postures. These postures are intentionally uncomfortable because they are designed to increase mental concentration, perseverance, and self-discipline. Over time, as clients repeat the same postures and persist for a certain duration, they require less and less effort as their bodies improve in muscle tone and overall posture. Pranayama (yoga breathing) and asanas (yoga postures) are basic elements of yoga therapy which come in numerous forms.