Meditation to Fight Addiction - Aura Wellness Center

Meditation to Fight Addiction

Meditation to Fight AddictionBy Faye Martins

How can we practice meditation to fight addiction? With Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras we are taught the higher value of meditation.  Yet, Hatha and Vinyasa Yoga classes are filled with people who focus only on the physical body.  You can’t blame the masses for taking care of themselves physically, because that is what they initially become aware of, but the mental and emotional Yogic benefits are worth serious consideration.  Yoga and its forms of meditation are being taught to support groups of all kinds for the purpose of eliminating addictions.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, one of every eight Americans has a problem with drugs or alcohol; and at least ten percent of all young people have used illicit substances by the time they reach the age of eighteen. Our society spends billions of dollars on the compulsive consumption of food, cigarettes, games, gambling and other risky behaviors every year.


The successful treatment and management of addictions require a wide range of medical and behavioral therapies, and studies show that meditation to fight addiction is one of the most effective complementary practices. Not only does it help to re-program the brain’s software, but it also eases symptoms of withdrawal and reduces the chances of relapse.


How does meditation meditation to fight addiction work?

• Overwhelmed by the need to satisfy their cravings, addicts often take poor care of themselves. Meditation encourages a healthier lifestyle.

• The spiritual aspects of meditation blend well with self-help programs, such as Alcoholics Anonymous or support groups.

• Addictions numb the senses. Meditation encourages awareness of bodily sensations and feelings.

• Awareness, or living in the moment, quiets the mind and releases blocked energy and repressed trauma.

• Meditation allows addicts to observe and understand cravings and desires without automatically reacting to them.

• The practice teaches self-control and increases confidence in a person’s ability to tolerate painful memories.

• The act of meditating alters brainwaves and leads to the release of feel-good hormones called endorphins.

• Meditation to fight addiction, reduces stress, teaches patience and lessens depression.

• Breathing exercises and meditation practices can produce natural highs – a healthy alternative to addictions.


Meditation to fight addiction creates a space to examine the events that trigger their cravings, to observe their reactions, and to substitute healthier behaviors. A method as simple as deep abdominal breathing may be all it takes to create a moment of awareness. Another technique easily used in any situation involves placing attention on the heart chakra while imagining feelings of love or forgiveness.


Regardless of the style, meditation to fight addiction quiets the mind and encourages self-inquiry. As people become more comfortable in their own bodies, the need to deaden emotions decreases; and the likelihood of healing grows stronger. When we rid addictions our relationships recover, health improves; and confidence expands, reducing the need for compulsive behavior.

© Copyright – Aura Wellness Center – Publications Division

Do you want to become a mindfulness meditation teacher?

To see our selection of Yoga instructor courses and continuing education courses, please visit the following link.

Click here to see our online Yoga Nidra teacher training course.

Are you an experienced teacher looking for YACEP credits or continuing education?

Subscribe to Our Newsletter for Special Discounts and New Products

Related Resources


52 Essential Principles of Yoga Philosophy to Deepen your Practice

by Rina Jakubowicz


A Relaxing Way to De-stress, Re-energize, and Find Balance

by: Gail Boorstein Grossman


by B.K.S. Iyengar

TEACHING YOGA: Essential Foundations and Techniques

By Mark Stephens

Baijal, S., and N. Srinivasan. 2010. Theta activity and meditative states: Spectral changes during concentrative meditation. Cognitive Processing 11: 31–38.

Benson, H., and M.Z. Klipper. 2000. The relaxation response. New York: Harper Collins.

Bishop, S.R., M. Lau, S. Shapiro, L. Carlson, N.D. Anderson, J. Carmody, et al. 2004. Mindfulness. A proposed operational definition. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice 11(3): 230–241.

Brand, S., E. Holsboer-Trachsler, J.R. Naranjo, and S. Schmidt. 2012. Influence of mindfulness practice on cortisol and sleep in long-term and short-term meditators. Neuropsychobiology 65: 109–118.

Brefczynski-Lewis, J.A., A. Lutz, H.S. Schaefer, D.B. Levinson, and R.J. Davidson. 2007. Neural correlates of attentional expertise in long-term meditation practitioners. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 104: 11483–11488.

Bujatti, M., and P. Riederer. 1976. Serotonin, noradrenaline, dopamine metabolites in transcendental meditation-technique. Journal of Neural Transmission 39: 257–267.

Cahn, B.R., A. Delorme, and J. Polich. 2010. Occipital gamma activation during Vipassana meditation. Cognitive Processing 11: 39–56.

Cahn, B.R., A. Delorme, and J. Polich. 2012. Event-related delta, theta, alpha, and gamma correlates to auditory oddball processing during Vipassana meditation. Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience 8: 100–111.

Davidson, R.J., J. Kabat-Zinn, J. Schumacher, M. Rosenkranz, D. Muller, S.F. Santorelli, et al. 2003. Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine 65: 564–570.

Desbordes, G., L.T. Negi, T.W.W. Pace, B.A. Wallace, C.L. Raison, and E.L. Schwartz. 2012. Effects of mindful-attention and compassion meditation training on amygdala response to emotional stimuli in an ordinary, non-meditative state. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 6: 292.

Esch, T., and G.B. Stefano. 2004. The neurobiology of pleasure, reward processes, addiction and their health implications. Neuroendocrinology Letters 25: 235–251.

Hanson, R. 2009. Buddha’s brain. The practical neuroscience of happiness, love and wisdom. Oakland: New Harbinger.

Kabat-Zinn, J. 1990. Full catastrophe living: Using the wisdom of your body and mind to face stress, pain, and illness. New York: Delta.

Lustyk, M.K., N. Chawla, R.S. Nolan, and G.A. Marlatt. 2009. Mindfulness meditation research: Issues of participant screening, safety procedures, and researcher training. Advances in Mind Body Medicine 24: 20–30.

Manoch, R., A. Gordon, D. Black, G. Malhi, and R. Seidler. 2009. Using meditation for less stress and better wellbeing: A seminar for GPs. Australian Family Physician 38: 454–458.

Mantione, K.J., W. Zhu, R.M. Kream, T. Esch, and G. Stefano. 2010a. Regulation of the transcription of the catechol-O-methyltransferase gene by morphine and epinephrine. Activitas Nervosa Superior Rediviva 52: 51–56.

Mantione, K.J., R.M. Kream, and G.B. Stefano. 2010b. Variations in critical morphine biosynthesis genes and their potential to influence human health. Neuroendocrinology Letters 31: 11–18.

Marchand, W.R. 2012. Mindfulness-based stress reduction, mindfulness-based cognitive therapy, and zen meditation for depression, anxiety, pain, and psychological distress. Journal of Psychiatric Practice 18: 233–252.

Russ, T.C., E. Stamatakis, M. Hamer, J.M. Starr, M. Kivimäki, and G.D. Batty. 2012. Association between psychological distress and mortality: Individual participant pooled analysis of 10 prospective cohort studies. British Medical Journal 345: E4933. doi: 10.1136/bmj.e4933.

Salzberg, S., and J. Kabat-Zinn. 2000. Achtsamkeit als Medikament. In Die heilende Kraft der Gefühle, ed. D. Goleman, 134–181. München: Dt. Taschenbuch-Verl.

Sauer, S., H. Walach, and N. Kohls. 2011. Gray’s behavioural inhibition system as a mediator of mindfulness towards well-being. Personality and Individual Differences 50: 506–511.

Singer, T. 2010. Motivational systems in the brain. Mind & Life XX conference: altruism and compassion in economic systems. Session: Altruism: Evolutionary origins and modern expressions. Host: Mind & Life International, Co-Sponsored by The Mind & Life Institute and The University of Zürich, Kongresshaus, Zürich, 9 April.

Solberg, E.E., A. Holen, Ø. Ekeberg, B. Østerud, R. Halvorsen, and L. Sandvik. 2004. The effects of long meditation on plasma melatonin and blood serotonin. Medical Science Monitor: International Medical Journal of Experimental and Clinical Research 10: CR96–CR101.

Sonntag, U., T. Esch, L. von Hagen, B. Renneberg, V. Braun, and C. Heintze. 2010. Locus of control, self-efficacy and attribution tendencies in obese patients – implications for primary care consultations. Medical Science Monitor: International Medical Journal of Experimental and Clinical Research 16: CR330–CR335.

Teasdale, J.D., Z.V. Segal, and J.M. Williams. 1995. How does cognitive therapy prevent depressive relapse and why should attentional control (mindfulness training) help? Behaviour Research and Therapy 33: 25–39.

Teasdale, J.D., R.G. Moore, H. Hayhurst, M. Pope, S. Williams, and Z.V. Segal. 2002. Metacognitive awareness and prevention of relapse in depression: Empirical evidence. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology 70: 275–287.

Walton, K.G., N.D. Pugh, P. Gelderloos, and P. Macrae. 1995. Stress reduction and preventing hypertension: preliminary support for a psychoneuroendocrine mechanism. Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine 1: 263–283.

Zeidan, F., S.K. Johnson, and B.J. Diamond. 2010. Mindfulness meditation improves cognition: evidence of brief mental training. Consciousness and Cognition 19: 597–605.



Please feel free to share our posts with your friends, colleagues, and favorite social media networks.

To see our selection of online yoga teacher training courses, please visit the following link.

2 thoughts on “Meditation to Fight Addiction”

  1. Meditation allows addicts to observe and understand cravings and desires without automatically reacting to them. Thanks for sharing this good article.

Leave a Comment

Your Cart