Beyond Addiction The Yogic Path to Recovery
When we think of addictions, we typically think of the most serious substances people become addicted to—like alcohol, drugs and tobacco. But many people are addicted to things or behaviors that are more socially acceptable and not typically viewed as "real addictions," such as drinking coffee, working or shopping too much, or constantly checking electronic devices. According to Sat Dharam Kaur, one of the founders of Beyond Addiction: The Yogic Path to Recovery, every addiction at its core is a weak substitute for deep, inner fulfillment.
"Addiction is displaced longing—we all have a longing to be ‘at home’ with ourselves, comfortable in our own skin, and to be loved," says Sat Dharam. "Often, because of early childhood stress or abuse, lack of safety, or unmet developmental needs, we look for that longing in other places. Those other places can take the shape of a daily Starbucks coffee, a cigarette, glass of wine every night before dinner, closet full of shoes, marijuana a few times a week, checking Facebook every hour, a string of unfulfilling relationships, or the need to be constantly pushing for success. There are so many ways it expresses itself. We can do this for decades before realizing that what we are really looking for is unattainable from external sources. It all comes back to acknowledging the pain, hurt, discomfort or emptiness we’ve been carrying, then developing the capacity to give ourselves the love, time and space we crave from other sources, and opening to receive that love and support from those who can provide it to us."
Beyond Addiction: The Yogic Path to Recovery was developed by Sat Dharam Kaur, ND and Jivan Joti Kaur, PhD, and integrates the teachings of Yogi Bhajan, Dr. Gabor Maté and experts in the addiction field. It is designed for individuals seeking to develop healthy habits and overcome addictive behavior, for health professionals who work with addiction, and for certified Kundalini Yoga teachers who would like to teach a yoga-based addiction recovery program.
According to Sat Dharam, "At the foundation of Beyond Addiction is the belief that it is not so much the addiction itself that is the problem, but rather the unmet needs at the core of our addictive patterns. Within the framework created by the practice and philosophy of Kundalini Yoga, the process of addiction recovery becomes an invitation to a deeply personal and transformational healing journey that draws additional strength from the group experience where the shared pain reveals our shared human condition."
Sat Dharam explains, "From a yogic perspective, we are all addicted to our finite identity, the egoic personality, the known small self. We attach to this as ‘me.’ At some point in one’s yoga journey, the awareness comes that we are so much more than that. The practice of yoga and meditation can reveal to us that we are all connected as One Being, existing in a sea of universal energy, responding with our finite selves to the great creative consciousness as it flows through us, informs us and connects us. When the small egoic self experiences separation from the larger creative consciousness (existing within and externally), a spiritual distress sends it seeking a replacement for that connection. This can manifest as any addictive substance or behavior."
Sat Dharam goes on to say, "The very nature of addictions—the specific physiological underpinnings that lead to the dependency, combined with the very strong spiritual component—puts yoga and meditation in a unique position to offer a pathway out of the often difficult to break cycle. Kundalini Yoga, in particular, has a rich history of offering yoga-based programs to help people regain their physical, emotional and spiritual health."
Beyond Addiction will be offered this fall for the first time ever in Florida by Yoga Village’s School of Yoga, beginning in September. The program consists of 16 modules, taught over four months, which include weekly themes, Kundalini Yoga, breathing techniques, meditation, relaxation, self-reflection, lifestyle and dietary guidelines, stress management, group support, hydrotherapy, and naturopathic detoxification and nutritional and herbal supplementation for neurotransmitter and glandular balance.
The course will be led by Wendy Harris (Livtar Kaur), a Kundalini Yoga teacher and doctoral candidate in clinical psychology at California School of Professional Psychology, and Sat Kaur Khalsa, a certified Kundalini Yoga teacher and professional trainer.
For details and registration, call 727-712-1475 or visit AYogaVillage.com/beyond-addictions. See ads pages ??.
Adapted from an article by Sat Dharam Kaur, naturopathic doctor, and Caroline Haverkort, holistic practitioner, both Kundalini Yoga teachers. See ads pages 8 and 33.