Want to know what happens when a yoga teacher notices that a student has an addiction problem? I asked a group of teachers who are also therapists. Although every teacher had a slightly different perspective, each showed a tremendous respect for the yoga student and for the yogic process. I wondered if this group would respond differently than teachers who are not also therapists, but found that these teacher/therapists drew careful boundaries between their two callings; since they were giving yoga classes for the general population, not classes designed to help people with addiction problems, their focus was on teaching yoga, not doing therapy.
For the last several weeks we’ve been thinking about addictions, especially to drugs and alcohol, but addictive behaviors can include attachments to food, people, ways of doing things. I’ll bet you can think of many more examples, so, if you like, let me know your thoughts, feelings and ideas. 12 step programs, therapy, yoga, these are some avenues that can help. Remember, if you’re fighting with addiction, fight like your hair is on fire.[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=obdd31Q9PqA]
The first step in any 12 step program is admitting powerlessness–you have no self control confronted with the addictive substance or behavior. What does it mean to admit powerlessness? Even children pretend to themselves that they are empowered when they are not. We are all superheros in our imaginations, sometimes. Admitting powerlessness is frightening- you are not in control and can’t defend yourself. You belong to the whims of your addiction. You can do nothing to fight it. Will power does not work, in fact, it’s an illusion. You are powerless and defenseless and out of control. It’s terrifying. You… Continue reading →