How to Relax With Yoga Instead of Wine

Yoga as a Healthier Way to Cope with Stress

After a long day of feeling stressed, many people use wine or other alcohol to relax and release tension. However, drinking alcohol every day is not the healthiest way to relieve stress. Using alcohol to cope with stress and anxiety not only just masks the symptoms, but it can also lead to alcohol dependence over time. Other healthier ways to treat your stress and anxiety include exercise, guided meditation, and yoga for stress relief. Yoga is an all-natural way to relieve stress, instead of putting a harmful substance in your body that can actually make your symptoms worse. For those in addiction recovery, finding ways to relax and destress without the use of substance is an important coping skill for relapse prevention.

How Yoga Relaxes You

A regular yoga practice has many health benefits, including stress relief. Yoga incorporates breathing exercises, relaxation techniques, yoga meditation, and strength building exercises through yoga poses. Simple yoga is good for relaxing the mind by directing your attention to guided meditation and focusing on your breath. Our brains are constantly active, racing from one thought to the next, but a yoga practice calms the mind and these circulating thoughts. These same techniques help calm down the parasympathetic nervous system, which creates those feelings of stress and anxiety when it is activated.

There are several types of yoga classes, usually they all have the same yoga poses but can differ in pace to either offer a more athletic type of class or a class with more relaxation techniques. So which yoga is best for relaxation? The following types of yoga for beginners may be better suited to relax the body and mind:

  • Hatha Yoga
  • Yin Yoga
  • Yoga Nidra
  • Restorative Yoga

Benefits of Yoga

While yoga classes or yoga videos are the best way to relax with yoga, you can try some yoga poses on your own. Some yoga poses to relieve stress are:

  • Downward facing dog
  • Spinal twist
  • Legs up the wall pose
  • Bridge pose
  • Forward fold
  • Catcow pose
  • Easy pose
  • Mountain pose
  • Corpse pose
  • Child’s pose

Fit Yoga is like combining an exercise class, with guided meditation and relaxation techniques. After you practice yoga, you can feel like you had a good workout which is already good stress relief in itself. Some of the health benefits of yoga include:

  • Relieving mental stress
  • Calms the parasympathetic nervous system
  • Relaxes neck and shoulders
  • Calms the mind
  • Can include guided meditation
  • Stretching for releasing tension
  • Strength building
  • Improves posture
  • Boosts metabolism

How Alcohol Makes Symptoms of Stress Worse

Even though alcohol can help relieve stress temporarily, in the long run it can actually make anxiety and stress worse. Alcohol affects the levels of neurotransmitters in the brain, including serotonin, which can make anxiety worse. You may actually feel more stressed or anxious after the alcohol wears off, especially if you overdid it. Alcohol-induced anxiety can last for several hours or even an entire day after drinking. Using alcohol to cope with social anxiety disorder is also dangerous because it can lead to alcohol dependence while socializing which can make those symptoms worse.

Yoga in Addiction Treatment at TruPath

TruPath Wellness offers evidence-based addiction treatment but we also strongly believe in the positive effect holistic therapy can have during recovery. Helping our clients find better coping mechanisms for stressful situations instead of relying on drugs and alcohol is key for relapse prevention. By including holistic therapies such as yoga classes, our clients can explore ways to relieve co-occurring disorders while in treatment which they can use when they complete their treatment program. Our clients can build a yoga routine while in treatment to help them cope with the stress of recovery, symptoms of withdrawal, and for overall health. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse, please give us a call today to learn more about our holistic programs for drug and alcohol addiction.

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