03 Jun Addiction Free Yogic Lifestyle
Adopting Yoga in everyday life is a matter of practice. I was the poster child of self-indulgence. I chased highs and tried to escape the lows. I ate, drank, smoked and gossiped a lot. Worked and slept too many hours etc. However, one day life crashed, and things came to a grinding halt. I was hospitalized for a month after my car accident and was under observation for a month. It gave me perspective and time to reflect. The answer was – Because I felt so empty on the inside, and I was trying to fill the void with external things to please the senses. I was ready for change and hungry to fill my holes within and seek spiritual fulfillment. The timing was impeccable since I came across the perfect Yoga teacher back then.
Detaching the senses –
Yoga teaches awareness. It helps us to know how to work towards self-development & uplifting consciousness by way of various techniques of Pratyahara and Yoni mudra, taking one away from the external stimuli, and bring in calm and detachment from our senses. It was a load off. Initially uncomfortable but with practice, I could feel the transformation slowly helped to replace artificial highs for natural ones by harnessing the right bhavas (right attitude) and mental peace through meditation and relaxation.
While I do cheat here and there with “external pleasure of dark chocolate and coffee from time to time, now I only crave the natural high I get from Yoga and meditation.”
Reducing reactions and learning to respond –
My mood was in constant flux, instant reactions, irritability, and out-of-control temper were frequent. With yoga, meditation, and proper breathing, I have naturally calmed down. It gave me space and centeredness in my awareness about not reacting and has taught me to respond to situations. I learned to be in another person’s shoe. There was a shift of transformation that power lies in my ability to control my reactions and to learn to be objective about the situation. Initially, I would walk away, by taking long walks instead of reacting and then trying to resolve the situation after a long walk. Slowly focus shifted, and responses were strengthening my relations. I stopped reacting and overreacting. Today to provoke me is not that simple. Even then if the occasion arises, I find my calm faster than earlier.
Yoga community –
AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) and other drug meets did not interest me. Yoga community through workshops, classes, teacher training, and engaging activities has made a lasting impression on me. I now feel a sense of belonging with like-minded individuals with similar experiences who share outlooks on health, spirit, and life balance.
Daily meditation helped me develop control over my mind. Practicing meditation every day for 15 minutes helped me attain my center and balance. I took charge and learned to be a captain of my mind rather than a slave or victim. This control has helped me in my recovery. I found a path to create stability of mind that I have never had before in my life.
Routines that helped me:
- Wake up early by 5.30 am. I use the washroom and then drink 2 to 3 glasses of lukewarm water with few drops lemon in it.
- Light, healthy home-made Sattvik breakfast.
- Two hours later Yoga practice comprising of kriyas, asanas, pranayamas, and meditation- Because it works at the nervous and hormonal level (different sets of asanas and mediations and breathing exercises designed to bring about a particular outcome) and meditations that work on the nerves directly. The kriyas help to detox the nervous system. Not only I feel that my nervous system has been repaired, but the severely depleted nerves are in order. I slowly noticed that panic attacks and fears have reduced. Stress is manageable, and on the spot, cooling exercises help.
- Work hours limited to six hours and moved closer to my office to cut back on commute hours. I make sure to drink sufficient water to keep myself hydrated. I eat healthy snacks and probiotics.
- After work, I relax with friends and family sharing stories and a joke or two.
- Make dinner at home and eat early by 7 pm
- By 9 pm, relaxation in any meditative posture or do reflection for 15 minutes each day.
- Going to bed early by 10.30 pm. Rest and relaxation at night are vital for the body to rejuvenate.
Yoga has now become my ultimate coping mechanism. The biggest problem was the gap I had to fill at home after work and would take up liquor during the day and later weed/pot/ marijuana. Where formerly I would take the edge off the day by smoking, drugs or drinking, but now I hit my Yoga mat and do Yoga meditation. Now I am addicted to a new high in life that is Yoga but without the downside!
Yoga taught at the Institute has been a blessing. I recommend the 21 Days Better Living Course. Click here for more details.