Pathways Wellness

How Yoga and Mindfulness Are Connected

How Yoga and Mindfulness Are Connected
Raul Haro
May 30, 2023
When people decide to go into treatment for a mental health disorder or illness, they are often surprised to find yoga and mindfulness as part of the program. As our scientific understanding of mental health improves, we have begun to discover just how much our minds and bodies are connected. When we feel bad, it […]
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How Yoga and Mindfulness are Connected

When people decide to go into treatment for a mental health disorder or illness, they are often surprised to find yoga and mindfulness as part of the program. As our scientific understanding of mental health improves, we have begun to discover just how much our minds and bodies are connected. When we feel bad, it often influences our bodies. It's why when we are anxious or depressed, we feel physically unwell. This mind and body connection has changed how mental health care providers look at mental health and treat it.

The idea of yoga and mindfulness is not a new concept. Yoga originated in ancient India and is estimated to be over 5,000 years old as a practice. Mindfulness is also quite old and can be traced back to ancient Eastern and Buddhist philosophy some 2,500 years ago. It has been slow to integrate into modern society, but the last few decades have seen an explosion of places dedicated to teaching yoga and mindfulness. It's hard to deny the results when so many people have found comfort and healing in these practices.

They can be so effective that some mental health care facilities, like Pathways Wellness Center, utilize yoga and mindfulness as part of their residential treatment program. By helping those struggling with addiction and co-occurring mental health disorders find peace and inner awareness, they can focus on improving their lives.

To understand how yoga and mindfulness are connected, we must first learn what they are and how they work.

What Are Yoga and Mindfulness?

Yoga is a group of practices or disciplines that have physical, mental, and spiritual connections. It doesn't mean just twisting yourself into funny shapes while wearing tights. It's an intensive practice where the goal is to calm and control the mind. When some people do yoga, they can achieve a state of being where they are free from mundane worry and suffering. This grants the mind rest, allowing someone to rejuvenate themselves through struggle and strife.

There is a physical aspect of yoga that promotes a healthy body. Yoga helps those that use it increase flexibility and balance. Others may find that feel more relaxed and have better sleep after a yoga session. Yoga has been recommended for those struggling with back pain and helps improve heart health. 

Mindfulness involves using techniques and skills to achieve a specific mental state. The desired effect is to improve focus on the present moment, where someone can examine and acknowledge their thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations. This allows someone to address things that are bothering them in a calm, healthy way. It's also used as a tool for therapy, especially for those struggling with intrusive and anxious thoughts. 

One commonly practiced form of mindfulness is meditation. This is when you train yourself to clear your mind so you can focus on a particular thought or activity. It's helpful for those having difficulty relaxing or struggling with an overactive mind that can prevent rest and sleep. Others find mindfulness by interacting with nature, using breathing techniques, and practicing awareness. 

Yoga and mindfulness are connected because they both promote wellness, which helps those working on their recovery.

How Yoga and Mindfulness Work Together in Treatment

When people enter treatment, they are struggling. People struggle for different reasons, the most obvious being the result of a mental health disorder or illness. However, it's not just the disorder or illness itself that is causing the problem. It's the underlying issue that needs to be addressed for treatment to work on an individual.

For example, addiction is a type of mental illness that people seek treatment for. You could just treat the addiction by helping someone detox and teaching them how to avoid a relapse. But that isn't enough; you need to understand why someone fell into addiction in the first place.

Addiction, at its core, is the result of someone attempting to numb or treat the pain they feel. This pain can come from a traumatic event, like a sudden death of a loved one. It can come from someone drowning under stress with no perceived hope for improvement. There are many causes for addiction, but, for the most part, it's people who are in pain.

Mental health care facilities like Pathways Wellness Center understand this factor and seek to treat the person, not just the addiction or co-occurring mental health disorder. This is done by helping clients learn how to be happy with themselves and understand that they matter as human beings. Using yoga and mindfulness techniques helps those struggling with addiction understand themselves better. Once they build up their confidence, they can take their newfound energy and work on recovery.

Yoga and mindfulness are connected because they make us more aware of ourselves. It helps us find the beauty within, where we may have once thought of ourselves in a negative light. Because of yoga and mindfulness, many people have achieved and sustained recovery. 

When we think of treatment for mental health issues, the thought of medication and a therapist's office comes to mind. However, there is more to treatment than that. Here at Pathways Wellness Center in Azusa and Glendora, California, we utilize wholesome living to help our clients overcome their addictions and co-occurring mental health disorders. Clients can expect to learn and participate in mindfulness activities, such as yoga and meditation. We also utilize our beautiful surroundings to give our clients the peace of mind they need to focus on their recovery. Anyone can recover from addiction with the right support and treatment. If you or someone you love is struggling, call (888) 771-0966 today.

About the Author

Raul Haro
Raul Haro is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist with sixteen years of experience working in both the inpatient and outpatient setting. As an LMFT, He has trained in trauma focused cognitive behavioral therapy and EMDR. Raul has furthered his training in the drug and alcohol field by obtaining a Masters in Drug and Alcohol Counseling through CCAPP. Raul has a background in nursing where he has been an LVN for over 25 years. Recently, he has returned to school to complete a degree in Registered Nursing. Future plans are for Raul are to eventually complete a degree as a Nurse Practitioner combining his therapy practice with his nursing skills.

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