The following is an excerpt from the article “Yoga Classes become Prominent” by Gary A. Enos. Addiction Professional is the official publication of NAADAC, The Association for Addiction Professionals
Fox practices and teaches Kundalini yoga, an ancient technique that emphasizes maintaining a balance among the physical, mental and spiritual. One of its most well-known practitioners is Mukta Kaur Khalsa, PhD, who conducts trainings around the world under the organization name SuperHealth and who formerly ran a rehabilitation hospital in Tucson, Ariz., that emphasized yoga and dietary interventions.In written information provided by Khalsa, she explains that Kundalini yoga works to correct imbalances in the parts of the brain affecting relaxation and activity-imbalances that often lead individuals to using substances at harmful levels. Kundalini yoga is considered the yoga of awareness, Khalsa says.
“By learning Kundalini yoga techniques, recovering addicts can adjust their nervous systems to respond to the stresses of life through the practice of yoga and meditation,” the written summary states. It adds, “Kundalini yoga uses words or sounds called mantras, which create positive thoughts within the mind. The sounds are linked to the rhythm of the breath and serve to remind us to breathe properly.”
In practice, Khalsa believes Kundalini yoga can be useful to individuals in treatment, even at the earliest stages-although clearly individuals’ stamina will be fairly low at that point. “Whatever a person can do is going to have a benefit,” she says.
A person who learns deep breathing techniques, from the abdomen instead of the chest, will achieve greater clarity simply by virtue of how much oxygen he/she is taking in, Khalsa says. Using a positive mantra to command one’s thoughts will help withstand pressures associated with going through treatment and maintaining sobriety over the long haul, she says.
Khalsa emphasizes in working with the addiction treatment field that yoga should be looked at as an adjunctive service, not a replacement for other therapeutic interventions.
“Kundalini is very specific; it’s about strengthening a broken-down nervous system,” says Khalsa, author of the book Meditations for Addictive Behavior: A System of Yogic Science With Nutritional Formulas. “Kundalini is 5,000 years old. We think it’s new because it’s new to us.”
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