My relationship with yoga has been a love affair for the majority of my life. My relationship with yoga for addiction came off the back of my own addiction. Yoga saved my life, you may have heard this before in the numerous podcasts that I have taken part in about survival. However I always knew, if yoga saved my life then I would share its wonders with others and that’s exactly what I started to do. Nearly twenty years ago now.
But as a little bit of a background I suffered from anorexia throughout my teens. I was seriously ill. I wasn’t just a kid having a fad few months out from eating. I was sick. At 18 I weighed 4.5 stone which in pounds is around 65. One day in hospital I collapsed and that (they thought) was pretty much the end of me. However something eventually took over and after a series of events and incidents I was lead to the healing path. I furthered my yoga practice and found teachers who I resonated with and who would teach me what I needed to know to help heal myself and eventually help heal others and that is exactly what I did.
I speak about searching for the external guru, I did all that. Eventually after time I worked out that the guru was in me and ‘I’ was all that I needed to heal.
I Set up a Programme
After many years of walking the teacher in training path:
- Yoga for the special child
- Integral Yoga
- Ashtanga Yoga
- Kundalini Yoga
I decided to stop training and began to create my own creative way of working with addicts. I was and still am very aware around this energy. I’ve been greatly involved in the world of alcoholism and heroin addiction so it felt like the next step for me to create something that would help and support this epidemic. To offer my services to something I was good at dealing with in my own creative way. I stress the creative because my programme is based around playing and flowing with the energy that I receive from the group or the individual on that day. Addicts or any one dealing with a mental health issue can change from one minute to the next and as a facilitator you have to be adaptable and able to flow with that. Working with my intuition and working spontaneously is why what I do works. It doesn’t work to have a linear programme because that isn’t the energy of this work. There is no main structure, the key is finding the freedom to play with what is and to create the best possible healing session for the group or individual at that particular time. Not tomorrow or the next day, but in that particular moment.
Issues I work with
- Addicts from all walks of life. Addictions include:
Drugs, Alcohol, Sex and Love addiction, Food addiction and eating disorders, Social media addiction. The list is endless
- Mental Health issues:
Anxiety, Depression, Self harming (see also addiction) Suicidal thoughts, Abuse (mental and physical) PTSD, Relationship breakdowns and what may occur from those, Grief and loss.
Obviously there are numerous others, the above being the majority of what I do.
Who Do I Work with and How Does the Programme Work
There are various different aspect to how the programme can work depending on what is required and the group/individuals state. There are a variety of things to take into account:
- Is the client on medication. This may alter their balance which can mean certain physical activities may need to be avoided in the beginning stages.
- Is the client intoxicated. This programme will only work if the client acknowledges there is a problem and wants to do something about it. Therefore I have the right to refuse sessions to anyone who is still under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Is the client under section and do I need assistance. Some clients I work with are under section therefore I assess the situation and note whether I need support in the room while facilitating a session. I DO NOT refuse to teach people who are under section. However I also have to prioritise the safety of myself and others .
- Is the client a danger to self or others. As I mentioned above with the intoxication issues, safety is also a vital part of this work and although I love to be able to include everyone first and foremost the client has to feel safe and the client has to want to partake. I encourage participation by talking to my clients first especially if they are fearful of how the session may make them feel. It is important to put them at ease. However I also have to be aware that if the time is not for them to participate in this particular modality of healing then this needs to be honoured until the time is right for them to move on.