Written by YOGA JOURNAL // Stephanie Granada
You can’t scroll through the news these days without hitting on a story about substance abuse or other behavioral addictions. (And yes, smartphone addiction is a thing now.) The disorders keep moving closer to home and take on many forms, ranging from one person’s obvious alcoholism to another’s murkier online shopping habit. We’re a culture hooked on work, social media, prescription pills, Netflix, personal image, food—the list goes on. And, while the daily coverage and troubling stats are enough to send us into a panic, the good news is that more people are getting help and dealing with their unhealthy habits and disorders in the open.
For many—like the powerhouse yogis who host these six retreats—yoga stands at the heart of their recovery.
It makes sense. Most of what addiction represents, your practice counteracts. Dependency keeps you stuck between the autopilot action and the constant worry of what will happen without your drug of choice; yoga, on the other hand, cultivates mindfulness. With uppers or shopping sprees, you might be avoiding emotional pain; yoga encourages awareness and radical acceptance. Where alcohol separates you from your body, yoga helps you go deeper into yourself.
There are the science-backed physical benefits, too: Yoga lowers stress hormones in the body, which drugs and alcohol can send into overdrive. Meditation can ease the pain that led you to opioids in the first place. And, a regular practice can help you sleep better, without the need for wine or insomnia meds.
Recovery has to be fought on all fronts, with a steely mix that strengthens you physically, mentally, and emotionally. These yoga retreats combine yoga, inspiring settings, workshops, healthy food, and good old fashioned joy to help you deal with addiction. Of course, they are not a substitute for a proper rehab program. (In fact, most of these retreats require that anyone with substance abuse disorders be sober for at least a few months before attending.) But at any of these retreats, you can count on an experience that will further empower your recovery.