Make Yoga Your New Addiction

Image: via user Trollderella on en.wikipedia.org

Image: via user Trollderella on en.wikipedia.org

The following message was written for BYC by one of our readers, an all-star yoga teacher and mother of two, Jennifer Lewis. We are posting this article for you because we believe it will be of value or interest to many members of our community. The message was written by Jennifer Lewis and does not necessarily reflect the views of Burlington Yoga Conference. You can email Jennifer (at) jennifer.lewis@acrotray.net. Thanks Jennifer! ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Make yoga your new addiction Drug addiction seems to be the curse of the 21st century. It’s never out of the news, be it celebrities caught snorting cocaine at an A-list party or another gang murder after a drug deal gone wrong. Drugs and drug addiction permeate all works of life, all classes and all sections of the community. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AInsulin%C3%B3wka.jpg Baby born with an addiction We often read about drug related murders but perhaps one of the most disturbing tales is the story of innocent baby Enoch who was born addicted to cocaine, heroin and prescription drugs. Through no fault of his own, he was brought into the world addicted to a lethal cocktail of drugs as a result of his mother’s own drug abusing lifestyle. His birth mother was addicted to drugs that she was unable to stop taking even though she knew the damage it was doing to her unborn child. The story highlights the corrosive and all consuming power an addiction has on a person. If a mother can’t give up a drug she knows will damage her unborn baby, the hold that drug has on her is abundantly clear, crystal clear, chillingly clear. Enoch had to suffer withdrawal symptoms that push any adult to the brink, but despite going through tremors, vomiting and severe diarrhoea, he is now through the worst of his “cold turkey”. His cruel ordeal seems to be coming to an end and he faces the healthy, happy, “drug free future he deserves. But of course inevitable, and sadly, many other drug related cases do not have a happy ending; many result in serious crime, jail sentences, and in the worst scenario, death. So what is the best form of attack for such a deadly addiction? Doctors often prescribe morphine to wean drug addicts off their chosen poison, and this can work. But could there be another way to tackle drug addiction? Some argue you can learn to refocus the mind off the drug and into a healthy alternative, yoga. The thinking behind yoga The goals of yoga are varied and range from improving health to achieving Moksha (enlightenment). Moksha means liberation from the world of suffering (Samsara) and realization of identity with the Supreme Brahman (to live in God or in the light). Quite apt in the liberation from the suffering of drug addiction. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3ALululemon_Yoga_Lotus.png Despite this obvious link, it is only in the past 10 years of the 5,000 year old discipline that yoga has been linked to drug rehabilitation. It is not just stretching, relaxing, caressing and sitting in awkward positions – it is far more about freeing the mind, releasing the toxins from the mind and living an all together less stressful and angst ridden life. How yoga can help rehabilitate drug users The principle that links addiction treatment and yoga is focus. The emphasis yoga places on concentration, and impulse control is key to drug addiction rehabilitation. People who abuse drugs and alcohol or engage in other addictive behaviours often feel compelled to follow their urges and let their thoughts and emotions dictate their actions. A drug addict in a time of uncertainty will reach for an impulse answer. Presented with a challenging dilemma rather than fathom a logical, sensible resolution, they reach for the drug because habit tells them it will release them from the problem and they won’t have to make a decision at all. Yoga teaches slow, controlled movement instead of reactive, automatic behaviour, and helps enthusiasts become more aware of their self-damaging thoughts and triggers for use, and achieve greater self-mastery and self-control. As an individual becomes more adept at yoga, skills permeate into every area of life, encouraging moderation rather than extremism or compulsive behaviour. The USA is now one of the world leaders in the use of yoga in the rehabilitation of drug addicts and Florida is in the vanguard. The Florida case The Sunshine State has a far darker side with unique drug problems. Cocaine, the drug users must have fashion and lifestyle accessory, poses a serious threat to Florida. It is readily available, commonly abused, and its distribution and abuse are more often associated with violent crime than any other drug. The state is the primary destination for cocaine smuggled from South America through the Caribbean. With easy access for importation, combined with an ethnically and financially diverse population and bourgeoning “drug tourism”, addiction and crime related to drugs is vexing police, politicians and the health sector. While the police seem to be fighting a losing battle chasing the tails of dealers who are better financed and better armed and organised than any other criminal fraternity, and those in power seeming to play gesture politics while remaining impotent, Florida crack cocaine addiction treatment centers’ have become more important than ever in dealing with the drug dilemma.
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