From September 28th-October 2nd, yoga teacher and addiction recovery expert Tommy Rosen hosted the online Recovery 2.0 Beyond Addiction Conference. For 5 days, he interviewed mind body practitioners and leaders in addiction recovery, along with individuals who are in recovery and using yoga and other mindfulness approaches in their journey. I tuned in as much as possible throughout the conference and was able to listen to some of the most inspirational stories of hope, recovery, and transformation.
One interview that touched me was with Kripalu yoga teacher Aruni Futoronsky. She shared her own story of recovery and her journey of using the strengths of yoga and a Twelve Step Recovery program to help her achieve now 27 years of sobriety.
In the middle of her story, as she was discussing the thoughts she had during the beginning stages of recovery, she said that she began to think, “I don’t want life to be as hard as I make it.”
This phrase has been at the forefront of my thoughts since I listened to her interview. I began to examine my own life and discovered areas where I could simplify. As I was rushing out the door the following day trying not to be late for an appointment, I spilled my coffee, my dog was barking to go outside again, and I couldn’t find my car keys. Although minor problems, my stress still began to escalate and I began to feel frustrated, when the words, “I don’t want life to be as hard as I make it,” came into my head. I stopped, closed my eyes, and began to focus on my breath. After just a moment I felt calm and centered, where I could maneuver through the challenges in my morning. I was able to come back to a point of truth….that my day did not have to be as hard as I was making it and that I was creating the difficulty around being late by how I responded to the situation.
As I went throughout the rest of my day, I was constantly thinking about how we can be catalysts for the youth we serve at Street Yoga by sharing what we know of yoga and mindfulness so that the youth can become aware when they are creating their own obstacles, so that they can begin to realize areas in their lives where they are fighting against themselves, and so they have the tools to return to a place of ease, groundedness, and confidence. Often the youth we serve face many challenges that are not self-induced, but if we can help them to be able to overcome the challenges they did create then we are are giving them a tool to carry with them throughout their healing process.
Regardless of addiction, all can benefit from becoming aware of areas of self-created challenges and from practicing ways to breakdown and remove those obstacles. I hope to continue to hear Aruni’s words in my head when I am creating my own difficulties, reminding me to practice yoga even in the midst of difficulty.
Love and Gratitude,
Street Yoga Program Director