Addiction is a sad story, both for the addict and for those around him. Finding a solution becomes more of a challenge because not only are the reasons for this problem innumerable and unsolvable, but the moral, legal and social implications make it more of a challenge for the addict.
Yoga, along with other collaborative efforts like counseling and social organizations like AA, can do wonders for both the person and the caregiver. Here we will see how and why yoga works on various levels to not only detoxify a person but also help integrate a person’s personality by removing the root of the problem, be it psychological, emotional, hereditary or indirect.
Multipoint, layered yoga will include the following:
1. Detoxification through the Six Shatkarmas of Hatha Yoga: They detoxify, purify the internal environment to start a person on the path of experiencing a purified body with layers of toxicity that are thrown away. Cleansing the body brings balance to a person’s nervous system and thus induces a feeling of health and an overall good feeling. This helps a person to experience a good state differently than when under the influence of any addiction, be it alcohol, drugs, substance abuse or even socio-psychological addictions such as gambling, workaholism, compulsive shopping and so on.
2. Simple asana practices: Following the Shatkarmas, they further help in removing body stiffness, bring flexibility to joints, muscles and release accumulated stress and tension in various parts of the body. Asanas also improve various systems, nervous system, endocrine system, hormonal and digestive system. This helps to improve the physical, mental and emotional state of the person as it brings the feel good factor of looking better with the skin and overall appearance of the person, bringing confidence and self-confidence.
3. pranayama it helps in strengthening one’s life force or prana and most importantly brings self-awareness, starting with the simple act of watching one’s breath. Most habits are compulsive. As you progress in the practice of observing the breath, you automatically imbibe self-awareness. This will begin to affect your life as your presence of mind becomes sharp. An unconscious smoker compulsively lights a cigarette or an alcoholic pours a drink. With practice, they become more aware of this act. They become observers of their thoughts and actions. This helps them break the compulsive, mindless act of indulgence.
In addition, pranayama affects the brain and activates latent neurons. It clears the subtle pathways in the body that carry the life force, prana, throughout the body and help with all bodily functions.
4. Shavasana, Yoga Nidra: In today’s dazzling city life, even freelancers face stress, tension, both physical and mental, trying to cope with fulfilling an endless list of desires, achievements and acquisitions. A huge panacea for many problems, including addiction, is therefore relaxation. Both are wonderful practices where you lie flat on your back and give the reins of your mind to the instructor. You mechanically follow some of the yoga teacher’s instructions to relax each part of the body. It activates the return path of communication between the body and the brain. Normally the senses, the organs of action, serve the commands of the brain. But through Shavasana and Yoga Nidra, the opposite happens and a relaxed body helps to relax the brain and mind.
What addicts seek in their addiction is release on all levels and an escape route from reality to an induced alternate reality. Shavasana and Yoga Nidra provide this not as an escape route, but as a grounding of the self.
1. Breath Awareness: Sit in any relaxed position. This can be practiced almost anytime and anywhere without disturbing or disturbing anyone. Just watch your incoming and outgoing breath on the disposable tip. Track at least 10-20 laps. At first, the mind wanders, or a train of thought can hijack your practice. But then you have to bring your awareness back to observing your breath.
2. Anulom Vilom: Alternate nostril breathing, which is now a well-known pranayama practice.
3. Sheets: Sit in any relaxed or meditative pose, make a funnel on your tongue and inhale through this funnel and exhale through your nose. When you inhale, you will feel the air cool down through the funnel and warm up when it comes out through the nose. Do 10 laps.
4. Sheetkari: Continue in the above pose, bring the upper and lower teeth together, open the mouth, and with a hissing sound, inhale through the outer sides of the mouth, through the gap between the clenched teeth, and exhale through the nose. Do 10 laps.
5. Om I chant: It can end with an Om chant, starting with five rounds and continuously increasing the capacity to do more rounds.
(Kamini Bobde is a Kundalini practitioner who follows the yoga tradition of Swami Satyananda Saraswati. She is the author of Kundalini Yoga for All: Unlock the Power of Your Body and Brain. Published by Penguin)