I had the honor of training with Nikki Myers last weekend, after making the decision to start my certification as a Y12SR instructor. Y12SR was founded by Nikki in 2004 as a way to delicately integrate the practice of yoga with the 12-step recovery model. In the Y12SR About Us description, it states: “Addictive behaviors separate and disconnect us from ourselves, our loved ones, our environment and so much more. Conversely, yoga itself means union, integration, balance.” Y12SR also builds upon the teaching of Gary Kraftsow who says “Yoga isn’t about getting to know the postures. It’s about getting to know yourself” (source).
Nikki saw yoga as the missing link during her many years of addictive behavior. It helped her find peace in the mind and body of an addict (this can be anyone and everyone from an alcoholic to a shopaholic to a codependent) by moving the energy, by allowing herself to “reset the button,” and by finding balance in an off-balance world.
Not to generalize…but most if not all of us possess some sort of addictive behavior (I blogged about mine in May 2013). Nikki reminds us that we are meant to be fully passionate and fully alive human beings. The problem, however, is that many of us don’t know where to begin. (Is there an app for living life passionately?!) So while we are lost and looking for meaning in our lives, potentially trying to heal from past wounds, those hairy addictions carry us along. A bumpy road, yes…but at least we’re moving.
Healing begins not when we stop the addiction but when we become aware of why we’re doing it. Nikki’s acronyms (a section she should consider putting in her upcoming book) are myriad; one of them is a reminder of what triggers addicts, a potential pothole into the dark and shameful world of relapse: HALT. We are more likely to reach for–or do–that thing when we are Hungry, Angry, Lonely, or Tired.
But how on earth do we find joy when we are mired by suffering? As T.S. Elliot said, “Hell is a place where nothing connects with nothing.” Suffering occurs when our mind, body, and spirit are each off doing their own things. Peace, on the other hand, is when they are all aligned. When we pause long enough not to take a swig, smoke a joint, overeat, invent a story about how worthless we are…or whatever it is that we turn to in our addictive behavior…we soften the sharp edge of addiction and allow for alignment to guide us down a different road.
Finding a neutral place from where we can begin again requires a desire to find the Truth (however buried it may be) and the guts to know that a balanced mind, body, and spirit is the most joyful way to live one’s life. Making the decision to survive rather than escape pulls us from coach and seats us in the first class section of our Integrity.
It’s nice here, isn’t it? Stretch out your legs. Take as much room as you need.