Mind and Body Wellness: Fitness through Holistic Therapy

fitness and holistic therapy

Updated on 07/03/23

Fitness is a state of mind. The way you think about yourself affects how you treat yourself. Take a quick inventory and consider how you see yourself; not just the image you see in the mirror but as a person. When you have a substance use or mental health disorder, it’s important to focus on fitness – both physical and mental. This is where some holistic therapies come into play. 

Holistic Therapy as Exercise in Recovery

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports that 5% of the world’s burden of illness or disease is owed to alcohol and drug use. The WHO’s report can cause you to worry more about relapsing, chronic illness or financial burdens caused by substance use. Studies also show holistic therapies like yoga, aerobic exercise and meditation can complement your recovery process because they focus on stress triggers, feelings or harmful behaviors.

When you include holistic therapies with your addiction or mental health treatment, you allow yourself to open up and explore your spiritual, physical and psychological well-being. A part of recognizing that you’re not broken is to connect with your body and mind. Mental health disorders or long-term substance use affect your well-being, but your recovery can benefit from exercise

Types of Exercise


Anaerobic exercises are any type of exercise that connects a short burst of energy with a large amount of effort. Exercises like weight-lifting, jumping or sprinting are considered anaerobic because they don’t require as much oxygen as aerobic exercises. Anaerobic activities like resistance training can decrease the neurological effects of synthetic drugs and increase cardiovascular fitness.


Studies show aerobic exercise can aid in repairing the brain and increase dopamine and serotonin levels. A few aerobic exercises are:

  • Walking
  • Running/Jogging
  • Swimming
  • Surfing


Yoga is a holistic therapy that increases your flexibility and helps you reconnect with your mind and body. However, yoga is more than poses, whether you believe in the Hindu (Ashtanga) or Western (Hatha) philosophy of yoga. Both forms of practice center on building a solid foundation from within the mind-body connection. 

Ashtanga Yoga

Ashtanga yoga asks you to incorporate moral and ethical principles and self-discipline into your daily habits. Those who practice Ashtanga yoga are guided to pay attention to their health while also being mindful of their spiritual well-being. 

The principles of Ashtanga yoga are founded on the eight practices.

  • Ethical practices
  • Individual observation
  • Postures
  • Breath control
  • Disengagement of your senses
  • Concentration
  • Meditation
  • Self-realization

Hatha Yoga

Hatha yoga is practiced more often in Western countries. The focus on postures and breathing is emphasized in this practice. The following types of yoga are considered Hatha yoga:

  • Iyengar
  • Kundalini
  • Bikram
  • Ananda
  • Vinaya
  • Anusara

Hatha yoga encourages you to focus on your breath throughout your yoga practice. Hatha yoga is more physically challenging than Ashtanga yoga, yet both create a space for you to heal your body and mind.

Is yoga considered aerobic exercise? You will flow from one pose to another throughout a yoga session, mindful of how your body responds to those poses. While yoga is not considered aerobic, some yoga forms like power yoga can increase your sweat output. The purpose of yoga isn’t to increase your muscle size or lung capacity; its goal is to help you find mental and physical wellness. Yoga is an excellent exercise for developing your overall well-being. 


When you think about exercise or fitness, you probably don’t think about meditation. Yet, focusing on your breathing, letting go of your thoughts or emotions is a type of activity. Exercise doesn’t require pushing, sweating or moving. Mindfulness or withdrawing into yourself to let go is work. Your mind is learning how to replace harmful behaviors with healthy behaviors. You are increasing your perfection by rethinking how you react to your thoughts or outside stimuli.


Fitness is an integral part of your substance addiction treatment. Fitness and exercise go beyond keeping your body in shape; they increase your emotional and spiritual well-being. Your mind and body can heal from your substance addiction. When you take part in holistic therapies like weight training, yoga, walking, running or meditation, you build a foundation for long-term well-being. Casa Palmera helps guide you through your addiction treatment with traditional, evidence-based practices and holistic therapies. We believe you are perfect and want to help you develop self-acceptance, appreciation and mental and physical stamina to achieve long-term recovery. Our treatment program is based on helping you delve into your treatment, who you are and your spiritual journey. Call (855) 508-0473.


This blog is for informational purposes only and should not be a substitute for medical advice. We understand that everyone’s situation is unique, and this content is to provide an overall understanding of substance use disorders. These disorders are very complex, and this post does not take into account the unique circumstances for every individual. For specific questions about your health needs or that of a loved one, seek the help of a healthcare professional.