Yoga Teacher Training

Registered Yoga Teacher, RYT

Good day everyone!  I hope this WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY blog post finds you well.  I have had a pressing urge to tell a small story about how I became a yogi, why I became a registered yoga teacher, and how you can do it too!

For starters, I had no idea what I was in for when I first stepped foot in a yoga studio around my early 20’s.  I had been an elite gymnast and runner my entire life, and figured I would give it a try, just for fun, no commitments, just something new.

After experimenting with different types, I ended up practicing yoga for about 10 years before I finally took the plunge to stop being a yoga student alone, and become a registered yoga teacher (RYT)!  I had no idea where to start or what I was doing.  The only thing I knew about becoming a teacher, was teacher trainings offered in the current studio I had practiced (WAY overpriced).  So, I searched and searched until I found what I needed.  I hope this blog post helps you decide if becoming a Registered Yoga Teacher is right for you, and also takes out a lot of the work and questions on how to get there.

Before I get started, I want to inform you (because many don’t know this….I didn’t!), there are MANY yoga teachers that are not even registered yoga teachers.  They are practitioners and you’ll see the difference through this post.  That is extremely scary to say the very least, knowing that a lot of gyms hire personal trainers or even just yogis to teach yoga, and this is a big no-no.  There are so many different types of yoga, so many modifications, and yoga teachers require a lot of experience and training in order to prevent injury.  The poses may seem minimal at first sight (especially beginner yoga), but everyone is different anatomically.  An experienced certified trainer is able to offer modifications and really stay hands-on with their students.  Even the best yoga teachers can make one small move and injure THEMSELVES!  (One of my former teachers injured his groin for an entire year!)  That is why becoming a registered yoga teacher, or taking classes only from a registered yoga teacher (RYT) with the proper credentials and experience is so important.  I cannot stress that enough.  Even more, yoga is not just a physical practice.  Yoga is mind – body – soul.  It may seem like an exercise of the body, but it is so much more.  You reap benefits of the mind while practicing through the body.  We have so many channels and sources of the subconscious, while we are doing everyday tasks.  Yoga truly hones in on our subconscious, conscious, channels, vessels, and we really aren’t even aware.  (Usually we just note that we “feel good,” and I always attributed that simply to endorphins.)  You can let go of stress, ailments, dis-ease, clutter of the mind, and reach a new level of consciousness, selflessness, awareness, soulfulness (the list goes on) through the art of yoga.

One of the first things I want to press is that the Yoga Alliance is the GO TO. Please don’t be sucked in to getting certified if it’s not through a Yoga Alliance school. The protocols they adhere to are strict, in a good way – no one should be helf-certified through other means. I would never direct someone to take any type of training that is not with a designated, certified Yoga Alliance School. You can go to https://www.yogaalliance.org to search for schools, but I have a lot of experience and this post will lead you to the absolute best school out there! If you are ready and your schedule permits, start as soon as you can! You will not regret it.

It takes a lot of time, dedication, energy, passion, and effort to become a registered yoga teacher.  Below I will outline the different main designations, as you have to start at step 1 and work your way up (if you want to, or you can stay there.  The choice is all yours).  The possibilities are endless.

RYT 200 – Registered Yoga Teacher 200 Hour – this is your starting point!

RYT 300 – Registered Yoga Teacher 300 Hour – I recommend this next, to go to:

RYT 500 – Registered Yoga Teacher 500 Hour

(I will add there are other designations, for example YACEP, and other certifications (such as prenatal yoga).  I totally recommend, but for starters I outline the 3 above as my personal go-to.

Now, I will add in a side note, you can choose to be an E-RYT 200 instead of jumping to 300 and 500 hour.  However, for my experience, the above is what I recommend.  After you’ve completed those, you will then add up hours to becoming an E-RYT 500.  The sky is the limit!  YOU choose where you want to be!

What’s wonderful is that you will not just learn anatomy & physiology (like physical trainers), but also mindfulness, grounding, coping mechanisms, restoration, and so much more.  If you’re choosing to be a student and not ready to take the plunge, just know that there are so many different types of yoga.  If you don’t like your first class, that’s OKAY!  Try another.  I can say without a doubt that there is a yogic practice for everyone.

Now, let’s back up.  I try to connect with my bloggers on a personal level.  So, while I do give facts and recommendations, I also connect with you and allow you into my life, as I know someone will connect.  I also want my personal experience to help you through whatever journey you choose.  I always pray before I post anything, that someone who needs this will be led here. 

So – when I decided to take that leap from student to teacher (I had been wanting to for YEARS), I was going through an arduous divorce (as a new mom – arduous is putting it lightly).  I couldn’t sleep.  I couldn’t eat.  I was in a constant state of fight or flight.  My mental health and my energy, my prana, my frequency was at an all time low (higher frequency = better health).  I cannot explain to you how bad it was, and I can honestly say I didn’t even know how bad it was until I’ve looked back in retrospect. 

I loved the practice of yoga, and how I felt energized after classes.  I’d go in drained, and leave renewed.  I felt SO HAPPY, even when I was SO LOW just an hour prior.  I didn’t know until I took YTT (Yoga Teacher Training), why I felt the mental clarity and complete change in my mindset.  It was a complete 180.  All of the years I had been practicing, I thought I was simply working out.  Not the case!  As a yoga teacher, we learn not just anatomical safety, teaching, but we also learn the background of yoga.  We learn the origins.  We learn yin and yang.  We learn duality, polarity, mindfulness, grounding.  We learn why these poses affect us mentally and physically and how they connect to certain organs and systems of the body.  We learn breathing exercises (try looking up alternate nostril breathing for brain hemispheres!), and how to connect the breath and the body.  We understand fight or flight, anxiety, stress, root chakras, and so much more.  This helps us as teachers to send that to our students, aid them in achieving their highest potential and awareness, and we learn the art of letting go.  The timing of taking the training during my divorce, at my absolute lowest point ever, was a complete miracle.  I honestly don’t know where I’d be if yoga was not integrated so deeply during that time.

I’ll add once more – I was able to handle things that I couldn’t handle before.  (As you know, I am a single mom).  So not only was I able to handle this tremendous anxiety, depression, fear…I was able to become a better mother. A better parent since I was playing both roles.  I started noticing the way I spoke (not even just to my daughter, but to everyone), the way I was parenting, the way I handled myself, the way I carried myself…everything had shifted.  I was always a kind and patient parent, but it was so difficult being a single mom (my daughter having an absent father almost her entire life).  I had always made sure not to let that show to her, but prior to YTT, I would have intense meltdowns after she went to bed.  Then, suddenly everything shifted. It became less and less tough and more and more fulfilling than it even was before.  The way I handled the stress was different.  No more meltdowns and panic attacks.  (If they arose, I knew exactly what to do).  I even noticed that I was talking to her in the same way I’d talk to a class (or teachers talked to me), and my energy plus my frequency was extending to her.  I was extending the light and extending the love even more than I knew possible. 

[Since this is also a parenting blog, side note to parents: Our children are so resilient, and they feed off of what is around them.  When there is chaos in you, they will be in chaos in them.  When there is tranquility, they will be in tranquility.  So, again, the timing couldn’t have been better.  The training served my daughter, just as it did me. (My daughter was 2 years of age).]

So, now that I’ve revealed my personal experience, perhaps you have more of an idea of what you may want to do!  If you feel teacher training is good for you – I have great resources to share.

Disclaimer: this is not an ad.  My blog is 100% not for profit.  My blog contains nothing but my own experiences and thoughts. 

There are many schools that you can find, but you definitely need to make sure that they are a registered yoga school (RYS) through the Yoga Alliance (you can do an easy, super user-friendly search to verify at www.yogaalliance.org).  However, as I’ve said above, I have a lot of experience with different schools and teachings.  For the purpose of this blog, I’d like to give you a straightforward path to get you where you need to be, if it is your desire (I’m cutting out a lot of work for you that I had done on my own for a long time!) 

The best school that I have ever encountered is My Vinyasa Practice (www.myvinyasapractice.com) – https://www.myvinyasapractice.com/online-yoga-teacher-training/ . They are a registered yoga school (RYS) that offers an array of trainings, workshops, personal FAST support (and even phone lines for assistance), in person and ZOOM classes, recording libraries, book clubs, peer reviews, live peer review practice teachings, insurance, help for business growth and development, podcasts, and so much more (every week they are collaborating something new; this is the most IN DEPTH studio ever!), and you can still sign up online through 2021 – so no need to worry about location! They are fully accredited through the Yoga Alliance and AFFORDABLE. So to cut out all of the searching, if you are ready to take that plunge, I highly recommend heading straight there, they are a one stop shop for literally everything. See what they have to offer, as they have more offerings than any other school I’ve ever come across (and I’m talking YEARS of research and personal experience). Even if you’re already an RYT, but ready for other designations or just want to learn more or take a retreat, I highly suggest to check them out. (Again, this is not paid, not an advertisement, it’s simply me helping my readers with what I wish I would have read years ago!) It has been my delight and such an honor to have come across them. Also, you can search their Youtube for classes too! You can take it with you wherever you go with their live-stream as well!

Honestly, I could write forever, as this is such a passion and has changed my life tremendously, given me so much gratitude, but I’ll let you all soak in this WONDERFUL WEDNESDAY post! As always, the choice is yours, but now you have my personal, unbiased feedback on training, teaching, schooling, and more. I hope this has helped guide you, wherever you are at. I’ve listed the links below for reference in one place as well. May you be safe, may you be happy, may you be whole.

Until next time my friends, NAMASTE

My Vinyasa Practice

MVP Online Yoga Teacher Training

Yoga Alliance

Happy Fourth of July!

July 4th, 2021 on the lake Arkansas

First and foremost, I want to express my gratitude to all of our servicemen and women that make this , abundantly special. I want to take a moment to honor the servicemen and women who have given their lives for our National Pride. We seem to forget in our everyday lives the freedom we do have, and it certainly didn’t come without a price.

As I will expand on this post, because I want to celebrate it with loved ones, I couldn’t skip it.

This morning, I spent the dawn at the lake simply meditating. I lost my grandmother, who was as close to me as my mother, just on November. Her birthday is today, and she will always be our firecracker. It’s strange and doesn’t feel real, but that’s because I don’t believe she’s gone. She’s with me, and us, wherever we go.

I felt a range of emotions, while sitting by the lake, reminiscing on the mission trips I have taken, and the life I have lived, and the life I live now. There are not enough words, so I’ll sum it up with gratitude and blessed.

I meditated, practiced, prayed, and just set in serenity. I can’t wait to celebrate but I hope we can all remember this isn’t about partying and going crazy. We have this freedom at a price, and I hope this touches each and every one of you to thank a veteran, as I don’t think there’s anyone reading this who can’t think of one.

So, this post will be expanded later, and I’ll be adding pictures, especially of my morning (multiply the serenity times 100), but I wanted to post this before I get started with anything else.

Lastly, this day is so special because it is the day I announced that I was carrying my lil’ firecracker 9I was already 4.5 weeks – halfway there!) I remember that time with her dad like it was yesterday, and again, a barrage of emotions overcame me this morning. Never. Would. I . Ever. Think….And it’s still hard to believe and keep the tears at bay. But, I have her and that’s a blessing to say the least! She will always be my firecracker.

Pregnancy Announcement July 4, 2017!

So again, please take some time out to meditate, pray, and be thankful before getting started with your festivities. We are beyond blessed my friends.

Until next time my friends, NAMASTE

Ms. Health & Fitness 2021

Help me win the cover of Ms. Health and Fitness Magazine!

Ms. Health & Fitness Magazine Competition

Vote here

As you all know, I’m a single threenager mom and I could use the proceeds tremendously! All proceeds would go to my baby girl. AND – since I love to give back, I’m choosing one voter for a gift bag (male or female – your choice) of $200 of supplements and workout equipment, PLUS 2 FREE Zoom 1:1 Private Lessons with me, up to two hours each! (1 hour is $65, so that’s a total of $260 in training specifically for YOU! Any questions, or if you just want to train and up your level with a registered yoga teacher through the Yoga Alliance, this is an amazing deal! I will never ask for something and NOT give back tenfold!

Voting is not only FREE, but today votes are 2 for 1!

When you hit the link to vote, there are two options! To vote for FREE, hit the “free daily vote,” rather than the first button in blue “Warrior Vote.” I am not asking for anyone to pay anything! (I’m a non-profit blogger). And it takes two seconds!

Lastly, I’ve chosen this competition because it is not only my niche and could help my daughter and I so much (we don’t receive child support or any aid), BUT this company GIVES BACK! They help Homes for Wounded Warriors, which is my main reason I have chosen Ms Health & Fitness! Homes For Wounded Warriors builds handicapped accessible homes for disabled veterans, and THAT’S what I’m about. I salute our vets to the fullest. Gratitude is far too short of a word for my feelings towards veterans.

The double promotion ends at midnight, so let’s do this my friends!

If you vote, please drop me a comment so I can enter you into my gifting!

Until next time my friends, NAMASTE 🙏🏻

International Yoga Day!

Happy International Day of Yoga 2021 Campaign 🙏🏻

This year, the Yoga Alliance Foundation is launching an International Day of Yoga, Matching Donation Campaign! It will match dollar for dollar contributions in support of COVID-19 aid for India! Please consider even just $1! Find the link below:

https://www.yogaalliance.org/Donation

I’ll be adding to the post but wanted to get it posted ASAP! You can donate any amount, if you feel led to contribute! It’s an amazing cause with an amazing alliance. http://www.yogaalliance.org

Until next time, Namaste my friends! 🙏🏻


Happy Father’s Day! Don’t Forget the Single Moms!

Father’s Day has turned from an amazing celebration, to a bittersweet day. I have an amazing familial unit, the best I could ask for. My father is my rock. He is my everything (and my daughter’s too!)

After I had my daughter, it was a long drawn out divorce. I want nothing more than for her to have exactly what I had – a traditional family unit.

Things don’t always go as planned, and I’ve accepted that. I trust the Lord and His ways are not always our ways. So, albeit not my wish – holding resentment/anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to hurt. The Lord says, love thy enemies as you love yourselves. Do not resent. If you have, repent. Forgive. My parenting style as a single mama may be different than others, but I will always tell her always how loved she is by her dad, show her photos from when she was a baby, but she doesn’t understand at her age. It breaks my heart. I even kept the ring that was given to me when we found out and were so ecstatic, that is going to still be given to her on her 16th birthday. I know many women would sell it but I’m just not an erase type of woman.

Before I get too mushy, I want to wish a Happy Father’s Day not just to the dad’s/father figures/step dads, but also the single mamas playing both roles. It is not easy, but we do what is best for them and that’s what matters. Although her father figure is amazing, to me it is not the same as her biological dad – In which you only have one blood father, other than our Father above, FATHER GOD, the greatest of all. He will never leave us nor forsake us.

I pray one day God’s will to be done. I pray for her dad, as I will always love him from afar. I hold no resentment, and if you’re in my position, I encourage you not to as well. Be kind, love anyway.

I know this is a short post, but this day is now a very emotional one as I’ve become a mother (3.5 years), and previously a step mother.


Until next time my friends, NAMASTE

Juneteenth 2021

As an indigenous minority, June 19th, also known as Juneteenth, is near and dear to my heart and soul. I will expand later as this was emotional as an activist, philanthropist, social work warrior, humanitarian, minority, and so on (see one of my Bachelor’s degree’s transcripts above). It reminded me of the days I would go home and cry because people would ask me, verbatim, “What are you?” Out of negligence, meaning, what race/ethnicity I was. I am naturally extremely tan with black hair, until this last year I changed my look to be “twinning” with my daughter.

There is only one race: the human race. Be kind, love one another, love is blind. Beauty is only skin deep. We are simply souls with a body, not the other way around. I applaud the work that has been done and will continue to use my voice for activism and philanthropy. I invite you to as well.

One more time: folks. Remember: There is but ONE race. The human race. -Dara Singletary, RYT, B.S. Humanities, Social Sciences, & Community Studies, CPR/AED, activist, humanitarian, yogini, human, lover, philanthropist, fight for what’s right, above all – mama bear and BELIEVER

Until next time my friends, NAMASTE

Memorial Day 2021

I wrote this in the wee hours of the morning yesterday, but was not prepared for the emotions it would bring.

In Memorial

I want to wish each and every one of you a Happy Memorial Day. Remember it’s not about the day off, partying, (no judgment), but I hope we can all band together and see the meaning behind this federal holiday and all that it brings. I salute each and every one of you who has served and will be lighting a candle in memory of all who gave their lives for our freedom. I love you all. May we be the light. Thank you more than I could ever express. My hearts go out to those who hurt today. We celebrate in our household in a different manner than most modern day, honoring and cherishing those lives that gave their all, and those who have served and continue to do so. I come from a long line of military, and this isn’t a party and intoxication holiday. This is a THANK YOU SALUTATION! Stay blessed.

Until next time my friends, NAMASTE

Mercury Retrograde – The Biggest of 2021!

So for the last 2 weeks I have been on edge. Sleeplessness, irritability, impatience, resentments that I let go of arose, and I just thought I was going through the motions. Not so much. My body, mind, soul, spirit was preparing me for today and the weeks to come.

I generally go to bed around 7, (I know), but I couldn’t sleep or turn my mind off. I’m a mom and play the dad role, so I am exhausted at the end of the day, really by 4 or 5. However, I thought, are we in Mercury Retrograde? I figured we’d be somewhere in retrograde as I’ve felt such a shift lately (but didn’t think once about retrograde until tonight…), so I looked up to see. I was not one bit surprised to see the blasted that this is the “Biggest Mercury Retrograde of 2021” and that it started TODAY. (I don’t need a retrograde calendar, I have a built-in body/mind/soul retrograde alert system if you will!)

Again, I wasn’t alarmed to see that May 29 is the start of the biggest Mercury Retrograde of the year. No wonder my body has been so out of tune – when you are in sync with your mind, body, and soul, you just know. My being was preparing me for this.

This is going to be a short post, but there’s the reason why I’ve been so out of sorts and not posting like I have intended. For that I apologize because I have so much more to share!

Regarding Mercury retrograde, it is May 29-June 22. Trust me y’all, I haven’t looked up the dates in forever. I just knew.

What is Mercury retrograde? I will let you do your homework until I edit this, but it is when Mercury is in apparent retrograde motion. But what does that mean? Mercury retrograde is a time when there may be confusion, frustration, anger, feelings all over. “Coincidences” can be huge, although I’ll link a podcast on how this sentence is a catch 22 because I don’t believe in coincidence. However, the notice of “coincidence” will probably be extreme. Intuition is super high during this period, and if you’re already intuitive well … double whammy. However, I see the intuitive trait as a GIFT.

Lastly, since it’s past my bedtime and retrograde is going to be quite long, I have a few things to add (I will be editing when it’s not past my bedtime (😉)…I am the epitome of “wanderlust,” free-spirited, and a moon child. HOWEVER, I disagree with a LOT of astrology and there are things I won’t allow in my head. Retrograde has proven time and time again, I mean hello, how “coincidental” that I would think, maybe we are in retrograde, and BOOM it started TODAY, AND it’s the largest retrograde of the year!So for closing on this note, I want to say this: during retrograde, it’s great to note that you shouldn’t be quick to make commitments. You should look out for “coincidences” and make note of it! It will peak your interest. Stay flexible. Take extra measures to guard your heart and soul and to stay on the course of soulfulness, rather than to stray, which is what many people will end up doing. Most of all stay positive, don’t blame Mercury retrograde or use it as an excuse for poor behavior, communication, attitudes, etc. Stay authentic, stay true, stay you!

Until next time my friends, NAMASTE

P.S. Do NOT fear Mercury Retrograde, or (anything for that matter). Embrace it! Use it to become a stronger, patient, loving, soulful person, even more than you already are! This is the perfect opportunity.

Soulful Sunday

SOULFUL

We all have our days where we don’t feel Soulful.  WE have a hard time connecting our body, mind, and soul.  This is usually due to a shift in our energy (previous post regarded the loss of a friend), a decrease in our frequency (yes, this can be scientifically measured!), and just the day-in day-out stressors of our lives.  However, you’d be amazed at how quickly you can change that by integrating soulful practice in yoga.  There are many classes that specifically focus on just this.

For instance, I have been going through an arduous divorce for the past 3 years, fighting for my daughter.  I know many moms and dads can relate to being the single parent who does their duty, whilst the other parent does nothing and gets by, all the while we pay.  Integrate drug abuse/alcoholism/mental illness in the other party, and it’s even more difficult.  That is my situation, that I don’t want to post on, but I think it will really help people that there is a way to LET GO of that bondage.  The reason why the other party may not feel what we do is, simply they don’t care, OR, as I mentioned if there are other factors such as drinking and drugs, illnesses of the mind, etc., they don’t feel.  They are able to numb while we are not, because we don’t use substances or have mental illness that causes such behavior.  So the burden is horrific on us…and it just isn’t fair.  Unfortunately, life isn’t fair.  We have to do all the work while they lie back and do whatever they please.

I have personally been struggling with this for 3 years now, and it has outspent me completely.  However, there is no dollar amount when it comes to the safety of my child.  To make it more worse, though, yesterday, alone, I had to take my daughter to the emergency room, pouring rain.  I HAD to get her help.  However, I am still so drained that I can’t think straight.  Adding all of these stressors, financial, emotional, etc. has lowered my frequency to something I have never experienced.  I can feel it.  Today I will embark on raising it, and letting go of what I cannot control.

A lot of people modern day choose yoga as a fitness regime.  It’s popular, it’s so fun, but there are so many other benefits and I’m here to explain how to get out of that dark spot and become Soulful.  Afterall, it is SOULFUL SUNDAY!

There are things such as Soulful Yoga Therapy which combines counseling, psychotherapy, etc.  However, you don’t need to be led to thinking this is the only way.  You can absolutely come to your true self and highest frequency and bliss simply by doing the simplest things.

For one, meditate.  Sit there alone and meditate.  Think of what is hurting you and ruminate on what you want to, and if done with a true heart, will achieve.  This means letting go of all the anger, resentment, pain, turmoil, stress, whatever it may be.  Throw it away.  None of that serves you.  “Bitterness is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.”  You are poisoning yourself if you are bitter or angry.  Let it go.

Another would be to practice yoga, whatever level you’re at.  Anything that can release those feel-good hormones (that’s why it is so common that all doctors recommend walking every single day.  That is not hard, but getting there may be).

Ground yourselves.  Through grounding, you connect yourself to the Earth.  I love to sit outside and just stand in tree pose with my bare feet in the grass.  You’d be surprised that feelings of joy and gratitude will enter without even trying.  Yu can also sit, just ground yourselves.  Think of what you have, rather than what you lack.  We are so blessed for the smallest things. (Commentary:  This really hit me when I went on a mission trip to Guatemala (Chimaltenango), and to see the conditions they lives in.  We built stoves for them, we ministered to them, we fixed their houses, we prayed over them…but I will never forget what I saw.  Life that I didn’t know existed because I have been abundantly blessed, simply to have a stove and a shower!  Did you know that they had to shower in home-made saunas, as in the sweat being their water to bathe themselves?  Ruminate on that.)

Therapeutic yoga – it is different than the other types.  If you need a mental release, this is for you.  That doesn’t mean you can’t do the “fun yoga,” too; but it is different and we need to understand that difference. As a practitioner, you may always email me for a free consult.  However, I can tell you here what it is and how you can do it on your own too.  What it is: a way to help students accept whatever circumstances they are currently in.  Maybe it is the loss of a loved one, or any of the examples I’ve given above.  Anything that does not serve you.  Therapeutic yoga helps you to accept that this is just a space in time, and that you can handle it in a way that heals you.  Transforms you.  Empowers you.  Sometimes we just need that push.

With a practitioner or not, you need a safe space.  You need to be mindful.  You need to honor your body (mind, soul, heart).  You must nourish yourself in every aspect in the present moment.  Remember, you cannot neglect one aspect of “you,” simply because you are focusing on another.  We have an innate way (usually subconsciously), of neglecting our body’s role in mental health care.  Yoga in particular gives us that chance to explore in our PHYSICAL BODY what is happening with our energy levels, our functionality, our ability to be our true selves, our frequency…the list goes on.  I like to call our bodies our “soul tents.”  It’s really what they are.  Our body doesn’t come with us when our time is up.  It’s all about what is in our being, however, what we FEEL (such as depression, anxiety, PTSD) is also felt in our bodies.

Breathwork – did you know there are so many exercises that can reduce the heart rate (anxiety, PTSD)?  Did you know there are so many breathing exercises that can change your left and right hemispheres of the brain?  (Examples are bumble bee breathing, alternate nostril breathing).  So when I say breathing exercises, I am going far beyond “just take a deep breath.”  There is physical modalities that you integrate to perform these exercises.

With a practitioner, they are usually very intuitive and pick up on things you may not.  So it is great to have an outsider (who knows what they are doing) guide you through soulful yoga. 

Lastly, if you don’t have the money or aren’t ready to take that leap of faith with a practitioner, you can always use one on Zoom (I am available), or there are so many mindfulness apps that you can download for free.  There are so many YouTubes that can guide you, for free.  The bottom line is, if you are reading this still, you need to do something.  Stress, anxiety, depression, etc. makes your body more susceptible to disease, even cancer.  There is so much more than I ever knew before becoming a practitioner.  Soulful is a word that has so much more meaning behind it.  If you want a healthy mind, body, soul, then please honor yourselves and take the time to practice self-love and self-care.

Yoga + Addiction

In Loving Memory, Ashley, 35

Roughly 22 MILLION Americans* battle some type of addiction, whether it be alcoholism, drug addiction, or both. 1 in 8 Americans is an alcoholic.

Freeing oneself from the stronghold of addiction can seem unbearable, rather impossible, but yoga can be the miracle of release from bondage. With global rehabilitation facilities, there are few who DO NOT include some type of yoga as a part of their program.

This has been a hard post for me as I am a volunteer to help aid addicts into recovery through the yogic process.  The harsh reality is that when you enter into the realm of being an addictionology, the odds are against addicts, which means they are against us.  I would be shocked to know if there is one person who cannot state an encounter with an addict, moreover someone close to them (or previously close, if we choose to use the tough love method, or have to distance ourselves for our safety, well-being, etc.)  Why are the odds against addicts?  Addiction is a HABIT, and many say it takes 30 days to form a habit.  Unforming a habit (or forming a new one, such as recovery/sobriety), takes an army and in my personal experience, YEARS, if not decades.  For the addict (interchangeable the word addict will be used for addicts and alcoholics/binge-drinkers alike), one relapse can lead to immediate death even after years/decades of sobriety, and that is the very cruel, painful truth.  Since I can speak from experience on both sides of the field, I will state that to be fact, as I’ve painfully experienced it time and time again.  May is Mental Health Month and I want to make sure that I post this now because addiction is a mental health crisis.  What has made me choose to post this today, is the fact that I just experienced another loss.  This time, I lost a best friend of almost 18 years and now I personally struggle to cope.  That being said, this is for parents/friends/family members of addicts as well (many of whom are in Al-Anon), to support their loved ones and simply keep them alive and give them a new life.  It is just as hard on that person as it is the addict, and the turmoil is just as deep, if not deeper (we who help don’t have the numbing of emotions by usage of substances, like the addict).  This is why there are many interventions, tough love approaches, etc.  In the spiral of addiction, reality doesn’t exist.

Many people don’t realize that alcoholism is just as bad as addiction.  It is legal.  “Drugs are bad, alcohol is okay”.  Both are destructive beyond belief, and I believe alcohol to be the gateway in the majority of cases.  However, the stigma that addiction to drugs rather than alcohol is different (and even furthermore, different addictions have different “levels”), all of that thought process has got to go.  Addiction and even dependence (per say, you had a surgery which required medications and you became dependent)  — addiction is addiction, folks.  Bundle it all together.  I cannot sugar coat this.

Many addicts fail because AA/NA (Alcoholics Anonymous/Narcotics Anonymous) doesn’t sit well with them.  AA/NA is NOT the only way.  It can be integrated, and if it works for you, keep doing it.  If it doesn’t, I am one of the few to tell you that there IS another way.  The choice is yours, and I fully respect that.  For instance, one addict may be because of familial reasons, whilst another may be because of dependence, mental health, lack of ability to cope, lack of ability to complete everyday tasks (hence why many “Wall Streeters,” executives, people with high demanding jobs or lives, (I say this because we have a huge stigma of what an addict looks like), but addiction has no target.  Anyone can be an addict.  Anyone can be sober, too.

What does this even have to do with yoga?  If you’ve read my posts before, yoga is a mind, body, soul practice.  “Addiction takes a person out of their body and prevents them from connecting to who they are physically and feeling what their body is telling them,” says Jennifer Dewey, fitness manager at Betty Ford (a renowned rehabilitation centre).  Alcohol and drugs numb the mind.  BINGO!  We are about MINDFULNESS.  If that’s not a polar opposite then I don’t know what is.  Ms. Dewey also states, Yoga is a great way to slowly reintroduce someone to physical sensation…’ (the body is also numbed), ‘It’s also very relaxing, so in terms of the anxiety, stress, and depression that arise from detox, it’s invaluable in helped people stay calm and grounded.’”  Now let’s expand.

It’s wonderful to integrate yoga in a rehabilitation center in regards to detox and the program of reforming habits.  However, we need to keep in mind that Rome wasn’t built in a day, and a 30-60-90 day program isn’t going to keep people clean.  The odds are against, and the relapse rate is unbelievable.  Almost every addict will relapse.  Almost every addict will relapse more than once.  Almost every addict will relapse for years.  And many will never recover.  That is the problem I have with strictly AA/NA being “the only way.”  It. Is. Not.  I may ruffle some feathers but I have extensive experience in this area (I was also married to an addict, who was probably the most addictive person I can imagine, not to be cruel, but adding the mixture of Narcissim and mental disorders, for 3 years he has not been able to pass a drug test to see our 3 year old daughter (her lifetime). 

I will give a short commentary for myself, because addicts come from all places.  For me, I was born with a genetic condition, Ehler’s Danlos Syndrome, and it took 30 years to get a diagnosis.  I gave up hope as Doctors could not find an answer, and it was always labeled as their favorite term for people with invisible illness (or rare medical conditions)…depression.  I had a catecholamine test and I did not have clinical depression at all.  My body was failing me, and I had no help.  To be able to physically move, I had to have something to PHYSICALLY numb the pain.  I am fortunate to be one of the few who did not have trauma (trauma is a huge precursor for addiction), familial history, mental disorders, or an unstable household.  We were a traditional family unit and we remain that way to this day.  I am blessed that my family all got on board and no one drinks.  We live so abundantly.

So let’s cover the mind once more.  Yoga is a spiritual practice.  For addicts, there will be (some say often, I say always), a hole in one’s life, in which they are filling with some sort of substances.  Instead, you can choose to fill it differently and live freely by doing so.  Integrating the spirituality and the philosophy of yoga, connecting to our Higher Power/Creator/Source/GOD, we can leave that realm of addiction and enter a realm of tranquility, spirituality, security…the list is endless.  Did you know, that is a high too?  The highest high you could ever get.  Would you like to be successful and mindful, addicted to yoga, spirituality (be that spiritual gangster! Sobriety IS COOL!); or does being addicted to a substance, being unpresent, numbing your life, eventually going down a spiral to being so low in frequency…does that sound like a better option? (Rhetorical question).  No answer needed.

Back to the body (bare with me, as this is post in it’s entirety would take a lifetime for me to explain addiction alone).  Let’s BREAK THIS BONDAGE!  We’ve covered the spiritual/mindful part, let’s talk about the body.  Yoga is so amazing as it has so many different asanas, which sets it aparts from other fitness practices that you’ll likely get so hyped on yoga and the next goal, to the next, that you forget about substances and fill your mind with all the desires of your practice.  You’ll see amazing poses and it’s an automatic subconscious “alert” in your mind that you’ll be thinking, there’s my next goal!  Chances are you’ll look back in disgust and wish you knew this sooner.  To be fair, if yoga isn’t for you, and you prefer dancing, running, lifting, whatever physical practice that you are passionate about, just substitute my lingo for whatever your choice is. 

So regarding the body, many people “get sober,” but they are still bound by their physical ailments.  That’s why fitness (for this post, yoga) is SO important.  You can read ‘”The Big Book” (AA/NA) all day long, you can attend every meeting, counselors, talk about your problems all day long…but what does that serve for your physical issues?

Let me back up here, and say, maybe you don’t have the physical issues, or you don’t realize that you may.  It still doesn’t matter.  Science is LIT (trying to be cool here to connect to everyone).  But it’s true.  I promise I will never state anything that I don’t believe to try to sway anyone’s opinion.  However, you need to understand science plays a big role in the whole process of recovery.  Let me quote “Dr. Drew” (Dr. Drew Pinksy, Sober House), “If you don’t know how to modulate your own anxiety,  depression, or fatigue through healthy means, then you’ll turn to things like sedatives, pain relievers, amphetamines, and alcohol.”  I pretty much already said that, but it’s always good to have a renowned and reputable source to back it up.  Now physiologically (functionality, different from psychology), science can back it tremendous (if you’re skeptical, case studies are all over the place), yoga is very effective (as is any physical exercise) for regulation of our stress hormones, such as adrenaline and cortisol. This includes “fight or flight” responses, which is innate and usually subconscious to protect ourselves.  High levels of hormoones are extremely toxic and dangerous to not just your body, but your central nervous system.  Yoga in particular (but not limited to) creates a reduction and balance of such hormones.  So…if you’re less stressed, wouldn’t it be without question that you’ll be less likely to “have a glass of wine,” or “just one pill”?  Rhetorical again. 

With all of the physical, psychological, physiological combined, your odds of getting clean and STAYING CLEAN are tremendously higher.  I emphasize staying clean because getting clean is so much easier than staying clean.  The slightest instance can trigger you and put you right where you left off…and you may not get another chance to get back on the wagon.  You may not be open again and willing to get back on track.  I can’t tell you how many people have long-term decades of sobriety, and ruin 30 years of sobriety in ONE relapse.  It seems far fetched but it is so true, and I know many people who it has happened to.

I hope that this reaches at least one person, whether they are an addict or a loved one in despair, fear, hopelessness, that there is light at the end of the tunnel.  Just take that leap of faith, and I can promise you will not regret it.

Lastly, I’d like to offer to anyone struggling, please email me at bombyogamom@gmail.com, for a FREE Zoom call, email, phone call, text, whatever you need to help set you or a loved one free.  I am here to serve.  Of course there are so many resources, but I will post them below for professional organizations to help you:

SAMHSA’s National Helpline (24/7, 365 treatment referral service to help you find resources, including rehabilitation centers in your area): 1-800-662-HELP

Unbiased data: www.verywellmind.com highly recommended

Alcoholics Anonymous Website https://www.aa.org or https://alcoholicsanonymous.org for immediate hotline assistance (24/7) 1-800-839-1686 (Alcoholic Resource Center)

Narcotics Anonymous Website https://www.na.org

Narcotics Anonumous Virtual Meetings: https://virtual-na.org

Narcotics Crisis Hotline (visit the NA Website (www.na.org) to find the best local helpline)

American Addiction Centers: https://americanaddictioncenters.org

For Victims of Abuse- The Domestic Violence Support National Domestic Violence Hotline: https://www.thehotline.org 1-800-799-SAFE

Lastly, I want to give you all a tip before I go, which is to please know that if you simply google AA or NA, a lot of websites will pop up that are actual centers.  Rehabilitation programs make a LOT of money, and please be aware there are scammers.  American Addiction Centers is great, but I have found them to be somewhat unhelpful in that they do follow up in hopes that a person has relapsed and will re-enter treatment (which can be good or bad.  Ex. A person relapses and dies, yet they still follow up with the grieving family).  That is just MY experience, and I want you to make sure you have someone helping you so that you are not scammed.  Do not let that deter you, because, I will reiterate, the odds are greatly against addiction.  Again: Greater than half of alcoholics/addicts who undergo treatment die (that’s just for people who undergo treatment!  THIS IS A CRISIS!)  I lose someone close to every month.  This is why treatment alone is not sufficient.  This is why this is a crisis far greater than any other.

Stay happy, stay healthy, stay kind

Until next time my friends, NAMASTE