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Kundalini Yoga for Addiction

New to Kundalini Yoga or been doing it for years and have questions, ideas, comments?

Kundalini Yoga for Addiction

Postby amarpreet » Mon May 14, 2012 3:32 pm

The following is an article that I wrote for a the Spirit Voyage Blog last year that some may find helpful. Sat Nam, Amarpreet

If you have decided to cease an addictive or destructive habit such as excessive alcohol use or the abusive use of some other mind altering substance, then you are undoubtably looking for more than just abstinence from the substance. Most of us are seeking a much more inspirational, productive, and enjoyable life experience free of toxic substances. Whether you have stumbled upon Kundalini yoga as a primary recovery program, or as a way to supplement a 12-Step or other program, there is a wealth of teachings that Yogi Bhajan gave to us to overcome and surpass obstacles, and train healthy habits into our routines.

Kundalini yoga is essentially a program of recovery, whether the student is attempting to overcome a vaguely bad additude or life threatening substance abuse. The exercises (kriyas) were specifically taught to build discipline, overcome conscious and unconscious blocks, and develop an overall sense of physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being.

There are several core or foundational Kundalini techniques that a person in recovery should focus upon including breathing techniques (pranayama), kriyas, and meditations. Mehtab Benton of Yoga Yoga Austin suggests that the practitioner keep it simple; thus, every good practice begins with a focus on breathing. Many of us have never breathed consciously before being asked to do so in yoga class, and the effects of adjusting how we breathe are immediate and revitalizing. Start by exhaling all of your air, and hold the breath out briefly - for a few seconds before inhaling. The result is that you will automatically take a full breath in - retain the breath in briefly, and take a few more sips of air in before exhaling. Repeat by holding the breath out again, and repeat several times. Do this throughout the day, regardless of the activity you are engaged in, and watch your ability to function effectively in all of those activities improve.

An energizing and cleansing Breath of Fire is essential. A 3-minute Breath of Fire will oxygenate the entire circulatory system with prana because 3 minutes is about the amount of time that it takes for the blood to circulate through the body once. Use Breath of Fire to treat substance toxicity and electromagnetic field overload. Gradually build Breath of Fire to 31 minutes at least twice a day: in the morning upon waking, and in the evening at sunset. [Editor's Note: Try starting with 1 minute of Breath of Fire twice daily if it is difficult for you. Smokers especially may find they have to strengthen their lungs and rid themselves of may toxins through this powerful pranayama.] Build in a third session at noon to tune up for the second half of the day.

Building new habits takes repetition and commitment: do it every day, and do it at the same time every day. If you have been successfully working a program of recovery already, don't replace it with Kundalini yoga-- do both; don't risk relapse by discontinuing what has been working for you already. The quality of your sobriety is directly proportional to the amount of time that you devote to building the new habit. Finally, make sure that your doctor, healer, or other medical practitioner is 100% in the loop with what you are doing! Conscious, honest transitions are the safest and most effective paths to embark on. 8-)

amarpreet
 
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Re: Kundalini Yoga for Addiction

Postby amarpreet » Mon May 28, 2012 11:01 am

Yoga for Addiction: Breath of Fire, Sat Kriya and Kirtan Kriya

Originally published for the Spirit Voyage blog on 1/7/2011; slightly revised. ~Amarpreet

Kundalini yoga is a profound recovery tool for overcoming addiction. The simple effort of paying attention to my breathing was one of the most important breakthroughs in my recovery from drugs and alcohol. To this day I use a 3-minute Breath of Fire a couple of times a day just to clear out the cobwebs in my thinking, shift emotional gears, and get a cleaner, less toxic feeling in my body.

A few of my favorite teachers also suggested that I try Sat Kriya, and to try to practice it up to no more than 31 minutes a day for at least 40 days. At first I had a lot of trouble keeping my arms up and the posture nice and stable, but after a couple of weeks I was able to jump from 7 minutes a day to 11 minutes a day. At one point I got up to about 20 minutes a day, but because of time constraints in the morning I settled on 11 minutes. I chose to do the exercise at the same time every morning so that I could set my mood and intention for the entire day. It is a powerful kriya, and Yogi Bhajan advised us to rest in savasana for the same amount of time that we are active in the kriya, so make sure you schedule in enough time to experience a full rest afterwards (for me that meant 22 minutes total). My experience was that I felt a bit discombobulated when I cheated on the rest session after Sat Kriya.

There is something extremely powerful in doing anything every day for 40 days or more - one entire cycle of the moon, a little over a month, because it is the repetition that helps you build the new habit. The fact for me is that I desperately needed healthy habits; I was determined to feel better because my moods were bordering on clinically neurotic and anxious. The effect of Sat Kriya on me was so positive and tremendous that I did it every day for almost a year (actually about 11 months). Even though I experienced some discomfort while active in the posture, including a racing mind and shoulder fatigue, I would simply settle in and remember that 11 minutes passes fairly quickly. The payoff was relaxing on my back afterward for 11 minutes as my entire body buzzed, tingled, and vibrated with deliciousness. More information about Sat Kriya here: http://www.3ho.org/kundalini-yoga/kunda ... tKriya.pdf

I also work a 12 Step program every day, and the combination helped me to recover rapidly and achieve a level of well being that was unexpected. As I've said previously, Kundalini yoga is not a substitute for working a 12-Step program, but rather should be used to supplement the program that you already have in place. If you don't like Sat Kriya, then try some other kriya that resonates with you, and just do it every day no matter what.

Many people have had amazing recovery experiences with Kirtan Kriya. All of my teachers at one time or another recommend Kirtan Kriya as one of the most important Kundalini yoga exercises for growth and change. I have not used it continuouisly for 40 or 90 days, but I did it for 2.5 hours during teacher training level 1, and it was phenomenal. For more information about Kirtan kriya, look here: http://www.3ho.org/kundalini-yoga/kunda ... nKriya.pdf

Regardless of which kriya you choose, there is something about making a commitment to a healthy habit and doing it every day that builds character. If you do the work, there will always be a payoff, whether it is a better general sense of well being, greater strength of mind and body, or simply the ability to say that you accomplished it... Others will always be inspired by your accomplishment.


~Amarpreet

amarpreet
 
Posts: 91
Joined: Mon May 31, 2010 6:00 pm
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Re: Kundalini Yoga for Addiction

Postby twestned » Thu Oct 04, 2012 1:35 am

You gave some good advice! May i also suggest a workshop w/ Superhealth, Yogi B.'s program designed specifically to overcome addictions. there is a 3 day workshop coming up in Nov. in sterling ,va. -we'd love to see you there! please conatct Gurusimran for any questions , or to register for this class at: [email protected] peace, giandev kaur

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Re: Kundalini Yoga for Addiction

Postby amarpreet » Thu Oct 04, 2012 10:33 am

twestned wrote:You gave some good advice! May i also suggest a workshop w/ Superhealth, Yogi B.'s program designed specifically to overcome addictions. there is a 3 day workshop coming up in Nov. in sterling ,va. -we'd love to see you there! please conatct Gurusimran for any questions , or to register for this class at: [email protected] peace, giandev kaur


Would LOVE to attend, but I live in Austin, and I have several trips already planned in the next two months. :roll: Would you please promote that workshop here by opening up a new topic or forum?

Thanks!

Amarpreet

amarpreet
 
Posts: 91
Joined: Mon May 31, 2010 6:00 pm
Location: Austin, US
Gender: Male
Spiritual Name: Amarpreet Singh
Legal Name: Derek Whitman


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