Yoga as a practice is hugely beneficial for a person’s health and recovery.

Beyond the primary benefit of exercise, there are many other things to be gained through regularly practicing yoga.

Utilizing yoga as a wellness tool and a way to stay healthy allows people, especially those in recovery for addiction and mental health issues, to focus on what the body can do on its own.

With this approach to wellness, a person can naturally build strength as well as self-awareness in both mind and body. Given the variety of yoga types there is something for everybody, but the benefits remain the same.

Here are 10 Ways Yoga Can Improve Health and Recovery

1. Yoga Improves Blood Flow

Transitioning from position to position in yoga, a person naturally stretches the various muscles throughout the body. By doing so, the muscles become much more receptive to increased blood flow.

When considering the way it feels and how the body reacts when engaging in exercise, it’s easy to understand that body temperature rises, the heart pumps faster, and blood flow increases.

Increasing blood flow and circulation throughout the body will improve the oxygen supply to the brain and other organs, and promote healthy skin and cell growth.

2. Boosts Immunity

When people exercise, their natural immunity gets a boost. According to the Yoga Journal, naturopathic therapeutics like yoga encourage bringing the body back into balance.

By bringing the body back into balance, the immune system gets natural support by lowering everyday stress that would otherwise compromise immunity.

And as mentioned above, improving blood flow and cell growth can help the body thwart toxins that build up in the organs and tissues.

3. Promotes Restful Sleep

Encouraging relaxation by way of yoga has the potential to help people sleep better, especially those that cope with insomnia.

Stress and anxiety are two of the biggest reasons people have a difficulty falling asleep at night, and a daily yoga practice helps to reduce both.

As recognized by the National Sleep Foundation, people who perform yoga regularly will fall asleep more quickly and sleep for more extended periods.

4. Relaxes the Mind

Yoga offers people a holistic way to unwind and relax. By practicing a simple sequence daily, the mind and body will naturally produce endorphins and release tension, therefore relaxing the mind.

Breathing plays an important role in yoga too, much the same way as meditation, which in turn aids in clearing the mind and improving focus by concentrating on the present moment and moving from one pose to the next.

5. Decreases Blood Pressure

Medical News Today calls yoga a mind-body therapy based on movement. In a newsletter, the site discusses how yoga can positively affect high blood pressure.

According to the studies that have investigated the effects of yoga and its health benefits, it was indicated that just twelve weeks of daily yoga practice produced noticeable improvements of blood pressure.

When yoga is combined with an overall health improvement regimen, the results might improve even more.

6. Positive Mental Effects

When someone is in a rehab treatment program, they often suffer from a number of possible illnesses or mental health issues like depression, anxiety, or PTSD, as well as drug or alcohol substance addiction.

There is quite a bit of evidence that shows yoga is an effective treatment for people who suffer from depression, anxiety, and stress.

Many times, these types of mental health issues form the root causes of addiction to drugs or alcohol, which are used to self-medicate as coping mechanisms.

By eliminating or reducing stress or anxiety, many people respond more positively to treatment and find success in recovery.

7. Improves Pain Control

It’s important to note that while yoga won’t show immediate results, when practiced regularly over time, it can effectively be used as part of a pain management treatment plan.

Many times, pain is caused by excess stress or tension, and yoga is a wonderful tool for reducing both by relaxing the body.

Yoga improves blood flow and circulation, and is also helpful in reducing inflammation in the body, all of which contribute to pain.

Probably the biggest reason yoga can reduce pain is by the release of endorphins produced during exercise when practicing yoga. Endorphins are the body’s natural pain relievers.

8. Makes People Happier

Elle Woods said it best when she said exercise encourages endorphins which makes people happy, and that is exactly what is happening when someone engages in yoga.

Even something as simple as breathing deeply for 90 seconds can improve endorphin production. Additionally, holding body postures assists in decreasing cortisol and increasing testosterone.

The most important and effective types of exercise are those that people derive enjoyment from doing because they are fun to do instead of being a burden, and many yoga devotees can attest to this.

9. Builds Self-Confidence and Self-Esteem

Yoga can play a significant part in building self-confidence and self-esteem. As someone learns the poses and eventually masters them, being able to accomplish more difficult poses can be liberating.

That pose where someone is balanced on their feet while folded into what amounts to a human pretzel? When someone can master that feat, it has the power to make someone feel good about himself or herself by doing something that previously seemed impossible.

Yoga is a progressive-type of exercise that offers challenges and rewards, and each successive accomplishment instills a sense of gratification that leads to improved confidence and self-esteem.

10. Reduces the Need for Prescription Drugs

If someone copes with mental illnesses such as anxiety or depression, it isn’t unusual for that person to be receiving some sort of medical intervention.

Medication sometimes becomes a necessity to exist and feel stable in a whirlwind world. By participating or doing yoga, a reduction of prescription drugs might turn into a real possibility.

Yoga has become its own prescription in recent years, being prescribed as alternative medicine or a complementary therapeutic technique to reduce reliance on prescriptions.

Yoga has shown to effective for reducing the need for:

  • Antidepressants
  • Blood pressure medication
  • Prescription painkillers

Yoga and Self-Care

Yoga is meant to promote self-care by improving self-awareness during every asana. With everything that yoga can do, people that are recovering from addiction or other mental health issues can gain an entirely new sense of self.

This is one reason why some holistic treatment centers have started using yoga as a recovery therapy.

Yoga and its effects have the power to create and develop a new sense of purpose for everyone involved. Fortunately, anyone can practice yoga and experience the health benefits this ancient practice has to offer.