Feeling anxious or depressed during recovery is a common experience. In fact, 20-50% of people with substance abuse disorders also have co-occuring clinical anxiety or depression. It is important to learn self-care strategies that can help minimize anxiety and alleviate depression. Mindful practices, such as yoga, will help maintain well-being and reduce triggers that may be a result of symptoms of anxiety/depression.

Researchers have found that yoga is an evidence-based intervention that is demonstrated to reduce anxiety and depression in participants. Here are just a few studies that have found how #YogaHeals:

  • A randomized controlled study of a 5-week yoga program offered to people with substance abuse disorders found significant reductions in depression and anxiety (Marefat et al 2011).

  • A yoga practice helped to reduce depression and increase quality of life in men overcoming addiction (Devi et al 2014).

  • A study of a yoga program offered in a rehabilitation hospital found significant improvements in participants anxiety and self-compassion (Curtis et al 2016) .

How does TYP’s Yoga for Recovery Programs help to reduce anxiety and depression?

In our trauma-sensitive yoga classes, the combination of the poses, the breathing exercises and the guided mediations all help to reduce stress hormones, like cortisol and adrenaline, which thereby induces the relaxation response.

Yoga practices also helps decrease the physiological arousal associated with anxiety by:

  • Reducing heart rate

  • Lowering blood pressure

  • Easing respiration

  • Increasing heart rate variability

In addition, the physical movement associated with a yoga practice helps symptoms of depression. The mindful meditations also help to teach awareness and acceptance (learn more on our previous blog “How Yoga for Recovery Increases Internal Awareness”).

What do our Yoga for Recovery participants say?

“I am hardly ever depressed anymore. I am more relaxed and yoga has helped greatly lower my blood pressure”

“I feel better physically and mentally! My anxiety has lessened and I feel calm.”

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What are some yoga or mindfulness practices I can do at home to help with my anxiety or depression?

  • 4-7-8 breathing:

    • To practice: Exhale completely through your mouth making a whoosh sound. Close your mouth and inhale quietly through your nose to a mental count of 4. Hold your breath for a count of 7. Exhale completely through your mouth making a whoosh sound to a count of 8. This is one round of breath. Repeat a few times to help reduce anxiety and calm yourself down.

  • Butterfly Pose: Forward folds are said to help soothe our nervous system. You can sit up on a blanket or pillow to help the fold or use blocks underneath your knees to build the ground up to you.

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TYP's goal is to raise $5,000 during September. Your donation could be doubled as part of the $50,000 Wyss Foundation Challenge Grant goal. We need YOUR help to reach that goal! Each dollar you donate could be doubled in value!


We are so grateful for our donors! Your donations continually allow us to grow our programs and serve even more individuals. Your kind gifts provide greater access to healing yoga.