The following are a few of the ways that Kundalini Yoga helped me recover from substance abuse and make profound changes in my life:

1. Kundalini Yoga helps us calm down and achieve the serenity often sought after vainly  with drugs and alcohol, but without the negative side-affects of hangovers and dependency.  Quite the opposite, we activate the energy centers in our bodies that bring us balance, and essentially make our own calming and/or mood altering drugs naturally.  The Ganesha meditation with the Ganpati Mantra is a frequently recommended practice for addiction relief, but also Opposite Nostril Breathing helps to clear the cobwebs from our minds, calm our emotions, and balance out the hemispheres of our brains.

2. We use Kundalini Yoga to detoxify our bodies of the harmful chemicals we’ve consumed.  There is literally a kriya (set of exercises) for every body system.  There are many kriyas specifically designed to adjust our nervous systems and balance our glandular systems.  Breath of fire is crucial for oxygenating the blood and clearing away the debris, but also try: Kriya for New Lungs and Circulation, and Exercise Set for Glandular Strength and Liver Health.

3. KY meditation helps us identify areas we’d like to change and personality characteristics we want to improve.  Meditation helps us to be neutral, mindful, and selfless.   We clear away the clutter that prevents us from progressing.  Kirtan Kriya clears past karma so that changing attitudes have a chance to flow into us.  It’s difficult to say too much about Sat Kriya, as it’s benefits are many.  Sat Kriya will rectify imbalances in the body’s lower triangle.  The root of my dysfunctional thinking was insecurity and fear; in fact, every dysfunctional behavior that I practiced was some form of fear manifesting and left to fester, so 11 minutes of Sat Kriya was part of my daily practice for almost a year.

4. Service work and helping others is essential for recovery, and the teachings of Yogi Bhajan encourage everyone to make sacrifices.  We make service work part of our daily routine for connecting with others, improving our communication, and increasing empathy toward others.  By connecting with others, we feel a part of our community – our sangat.  We evolve from being mostly selfish to a more useful, selfless existence.  The spirit of Seva is the spirit of Guru Ram Das.

5. Finally, Kundalini Yoga helps us to connect with a power greater than ourselves.  Relying primarily on self-propulsion rather than our inner guide has led many of us to wildly insane self-induced calamities.  We finally get into alignment with what we know is right, pure, and in balance with the beings around us.  Connect to Grace with the Guru Ram Das Chant, Dhan Dhan Ram Das Guru, and Ardas Bhaee.  These miracle mantras can heal even the most lonely, broken hearted, spiritually bankrupt person.

Willingness and open mindedness are the only prerequisites to healing.  Anything is possible with a burning desire and a set intention.

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