What is Yoga Therapy Anyway?

Most of us are familiar with the practice of yoga, whether we’ve done it ourselves, know someone who has, or have seen it on TV. Yoga therapy is an ancient practice meant to promote harmony within the body and mind.

It helps us build mind-body connections, control our breathing, and progress toward improved health and well-being. While many practice traditional yoga methods alone at home or in a generalized class, yoga therapy offers a more individualized approach.

By preparing individualized plans, we are better able to work toward specific goals rather than general improvements.

Types of Yoga

There are many different types of yoga. However, there are six primary branches with different focuses and sets of characteristics:

  • Hatha yoga
  • Raja yoga
  • Karma yoga
  • Bhakti yoga
  • Jnana yoga
  • Tantra yoga

Depending on your yoga goals, you may choose different methods. For example, someone looking for positive ways to channel their emotions and cultivate acceptance would likely choose bhakti yoga. This one closely resembles the style used in yoga therapy during recovery.

Jnana yoga is more about wisdom and developing your intellect; karma yoga aims to create a future without selfishness or negativity, and raja yoga is a strict disciplinary method. But one of the best things about practicing yoga is that you can adapt it to meet your needs.

When it comes to addiction recovery, yoga therapy keeps things simple. Generally, it focuses on techniques like posture, breathing, meditation, mindfulness, and relaxation.

Yoga Therapy

Benefits of Yoga Therapy

Yoga therapy is a holistic approach to healing and health. Research shows that there are many benefits to practicing yoga. Yoga therapy can help reduce stress and anxiety levels, reduce symptoms of depression, increase energy, and improve sleep.

Regular practice can help improve strength, flexibility, and balance, as well as ease pain, improve mobility, and boost our moods. In everyday life, yoga is a great way to practice self-care and promote peace of mind.

But perhaps most importantly in the context of this article, yoga develops inner awareness. The result is often an improvement in our overall well-being, including our physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health.

This is one reason why yoga has become a feature treatment in addiction, eating disorders, and mental health recovery. Yoga has also been featured in treatment settings for patients with chronic back pain and other types of pain.

What to Expect from Yoga Therapy

If you’re new to moving your body in certain ways, patience in yoga practice is essential. The initial aim is progress, not perfection. Yoga therapy involves using specific postures, meditation, breathing exercises, and imagery to improve our physical and mental health.

Generally, yoga therapy integrates breathing practices, ethical and lifestyle commitments, introspective and concentrative practices, and different forms of meditation and absorption.

Yoga and Addiction Treatment

There is a lot of overlap between emotional well-being activities like yoga and meditation, addiction, and mental health. Some of the most common relapse triggers are emotional symptoms, including stress, anxiety, and depression.

In fact, anxiety and depression are not only some of the most common relapse triggers but are also two of the most common mental health disorders in the country. Anxiety disorders affect 40 million adults in the United States every year.

However, anxiety disorders are highly treatable. And yoga is a proven treatment method that can help. Yoga therapy helps us exercise control over our reactions and reduces many negative emotional symptoms by helping us achieve balance and mindfulness in our everyday lives.

Yoga Therapy

Dual Diagnosis and Yoga Therapy

Anxiety disorders, depression, and other common mental health disorders often occur alongside addiction. This combination is something we call dual diagnosis. When addiction and a mental health disorder co-exist, treating them together is crucial.

Otherwise, one remains to worsen the other. It may not be immediate and may even take years, but untreated addictions or mental health disorders will likely get worse over time and make it harder to recover from either condition long-term.

Alongside proven recovery treatment methods like cognitive-behavioral counseling, family therapy, and support group meetings, yoga, and other creative therapies can boost our results. The best treatment plan is a well-rounded one.

Inpatient Treatment and Yoga Practices

From yoga recovery meetings and peer support groups to more traditional options, like cognitive-behavioral therapy and family counseling, we offer a wide range of proven and creative treatment methods to our clients.

In an inpatient or residential care setting, daily schedules are built with this holistic range of treatment methods in mind. Additionally, we provide healthy meals, activities and outings, art therapy, and more.

Who Benefits the Most from Inpatient Care?

Inpatient care settings are typically best for those who need the highest levels of care. This might mean that you have a moderate to severe addiction, troubling withdrawal symptoms, or a history of relapse.

Those who are surrounded by triggers and temptations and lack the social support they need at home may find that a change of scenery restores their focus. Inpatient care settings are the only ones to offer 24-hour access to care, support, and guidance in a safe and comfortable facility.

Additionally, inpatient programs typically start with detoxification. If your addiction warrants it, our medical detox can help ease your withdrawal symptoms and set you up for success. Since withdrawal symptoms are common relapse triggers and many can be dangerous, monitored detox is generally preferred over cold turkey quitting at home.

But where does that leave those with milder addictions, less-than-overwhelming withdrawal symptoms, or family obligations to attend to at home? What do you do when you want to continue recovering at home but still need some form of support or guidance?

Yoga Therapy

Other Options for Addiction Care

Individuals who are better suited to maintaining their sobriety at home may choose a program that allows them to do so while visiting weekly for recovery care and support. We offer two programs that combine this level of flexibility with high-level, customized care:

  • Partial hospitalization programs
  • Intensive outpatient programs

Each has different time requirements and comes with different benefits. Someone with emotional health concerns, including disorders like anxiety and depression, may get the most out of a partial hospitalization program.

For roughly 20 hours each week, you will attend various therapy sessions, support groups, and other proven treatment methods in one of our luxury facilities. We will teach you how to build sober social circles, overcome relapse triggers, and manage negative emotions.

Lastly, an intensive outpatient program or IOP features many of the same benefits but requires less time. On average, an IOP involves nine to nineteen hours of treatments each week. In any setting, we prioritize finding lasting recovery through therapeutic work.

And we will customize your program according to your needs. Most with moderate to severe addictions start with inpatient care and later move into a partial hospitalization or outpatient program. But everyone is different. We will work with you to customize your care as we go.

Getting Started at a Pathfinders Recovery Center

Whether you need full-time addiction care or part-time recovery support, our Pathfinders Recovery Center facilities are open. And our addiction counselors are on call now to answer your questions and guide you through the next steps.

Call us today at 866-604-7830 to get started.


  • 7580 E Gray Rd Suite 201 Scottsdale, AZ 85260
  • (877) 224-0761
  • Mon-Sun: 24x7
  • Mon-Fri: 8:00AM – 4:00PM

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