Mindfulness has long been considered an effective tool in addiction treatment. Techniques such as yoga and meditation can provide a sense of balance and focus for those struggling with a substance use disorder.

Canadian researchers recently published a study in the Journal of Basic & Applied Sciences that proposed a three-pronged approach to incorporating mindfulness in addiction recovery. Their program included three modalities of treatment: yoga, meditation, and self-reflection. Mindfulness, in the context of this study was defined as a practice where individuals concentrate on certain thoughts, emotions, and body reactions.

This non-pharmacological approach to addiction recovery incorporated teachings from 12-step programs, Buddhist philosophy and Hindu yoga asanas (or poses).

Researchers used some of the teachings of the 12-Steps of Alcoholics Anonymous because they aimed to modify behavior, specifically dysfunctional behavioral patterns, and to focus on self-examination in order to increase resilience and abilities to adapt to adverse life experiences.

The three-pronged approach that researchers proposed is non-religious and “the higher power” often referred to in 12-step programs, takes on the form of the “higher power within the individual” in the proposed three-pronged approach.

The yoga component of the program is meant to relieve tension and stress in the body and help people in recovery focus on physical sensations, referred to as “mindfulness of the body.” Focusing on the body detracts from potentially self-destructive or impulsive thoughts that are often apparent in those suffering from a substance use disorder. The more likely an individual is to focus on their body, the more… (continue reading)