Benefits and Challenges of Integrating Yoga in Government-Funded Substance Addiction Treatment Programs in India: Results from a Mixed Methods Research Study with Exploratory Sequential Design.
Clinical research studies report that integration of yoga in substance addiction treatment programs benefits patients and improves treatment outcomes. When combined with evidence-based substance addiction treatment programs, yoga further reduces patients' anxiety, depression, stress, impulsivity, addictive behaviors, and psychosis and improves the patients' overall mental, physical, and social health. While no previous studies examined the challenges of integrating yoga, this study examined the benefits and challenges of incorporating yoga in India's addiction treatment programs. Using a Mixed-Methods-Research approach with Exploratory Sequential Design (i.e., initial qualitative method of data collection and analysis followed by quantitative research methods to collect and interpret data), this study examined the benefits and challenges of incorporating yoga in government-funded substance addiction treatment programs in India. Research participants (n=127) were treatment providers working in India's addiction treatment centers. This study showed the main benefits of consistently integrating yoga (i.e., practicing yoga under certified yoga instructors for 45 minutes a day for five days per week in a month-long residential treatment program) for patients like these: better management of withdrawal symptoms; improved inner strength and will power to stay engaged in treatment programs; enhanced focus and concentration; improved physical health; high tolerance for emotional and physical pain; increased ability to self-soothe and relax in the face of stressors; improved self-awareness and emotional regulation; reduced craving for addictive substances; changes in addictive consciousness; enhanced optimism in life; and improved self-discipline. Challenges associated with integrating yoga in treatment programs included patients' physical inability to practice yoga; and opposing views towards yoga that stem from patients' religious upbringings. Findings from this study will contribute significantly to research literature, provide essential pointers to developing evidence-based and cost-effective treatment programs, and provide rich insights on treatment efficacy to scientist-practitioners, treatment providers, and policymakers in the global substance addiction treatment context.