Friday, May 11, 2012

Addiction and Ashtanga

This week I have been really confronting addictions on a personal and social level. As an instructor (and friend for that matter), I pride myself in being able to be open about who I am, what I struggle with and offer an open forum for those who deal with their own personal demons. We all have them. So when I made the decision to finally and resolutely quit smoking, I had to tell those few that knew that I was really struggling with it, that support and encouragement no matter how small was much appreciated.

In came the candy and gum and honey sticks and supportive words of students and coworkers. This subject is a little humiliating for me being that I advocate a healthy lifestyle and lead yoga yet I would be smoking up a small dust cloud behind buildings and out of sight of judging eyes.

Who is judging though? Within the Ashtanga system we learn to practice not only on the mat with our asana, but off the mat with Yamas and Niyamas. Yamas are the ethical restraints that we make to not harm, to be truthful  and not covet. Niyamas are the self-observations we make regarding contentment, purity, cleanliness, surrendering to God's will.

In light of these practices, I find myself surrendering to God's will. Who I envision in myself doesn't match up to the yogini closet smoker. So throughout this day, I keep reminding myself it is okay to be powerless in some situations, especially when you let it go and just let it be. This is no way means I am taking a back seat to my quitting smoking, but it does mean that I am going to be less hard on myself with the end result.

With surrendering to addiction, I have actually never felt so empowered. Day 2 and going strong!


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