For people dealing with addiction recovery, a way to kick their habits could be practicing yoga.
Beyond Addiction is an alternative treatment program option to look at, compared to traditional rehabilitating methods for addiction.
The program is founded by Sat Dharam Kaur, a naturopathic doctor and Kundalini yoga instructor for 40 years.
The method integrates Kundalini yoga with the teachings of Yogi Bahjan, addiction expert Dr. Gabor Mate and other experts in the field of addiction.
The program in Vancouver was incorporated three years ago.
Beyond Addiction has expanded from other Canadian cities like Toronto and parts from all around the world.
Kundalini is a contemporary form of yoga that combines breathing techniques, meditation, mantras and movements to help strengthen the nervous system.
Beyond Addiction is a 16-week module program and was developed to help those dealing with addiction issues.
Soraya Romao, the Vancouver program coordinator for Beyond Addiction, says Kundalini yoga is the fastest way to go from point A to B with a recovery process from addiction.
“So [there is] a saying that says if you want to go [from] A and B, it depends on the way you want to go. If you want to go very slow, you want to take different types [of steps]. If you want to go really fast and figure out your life really fast, you do Kundalini yoga.” Romao said.
Romao is a Kundalini instructor and says not only does the practice help people to be strong physically, but mentally as well.
“[Kundalini is] a yoga of awareness, you become aware of yourself, you become aware of the world around you and more above all, I think what Kundalini yoga gives me is the ability to be an observer of myself,” Romao said. “People are talking more about it. It’s wonderful to see people coming and having an experience and going ‘Wait a minute, there is something here.’ So it’s just incredible.”
At Bridge and Enrich Lives Society, a studio centre on Fraser Street and E. 20 Ave. in Vancouver, Romao is teaching a gong bath meditation class, a sound therapy method of the gong playing while combined with meditation.
She starts the class with a room full of participants, although none from Beyond Addiction.
Romao begins repeating this mantra: Gobinde, Mukande, Udare, Apare, Hariang, Kariang, Nirname, Akame.
It is a mantra created by Guru Gobind Singh from the Jaap Sahib, a morning prayer for Sikhs.
This mantra contains the eight facets of God we deal in this order:
Gobinde; the one who sustains us, Mukande; the one who liberates, Udare; the one who uplifts us, Apare; who is infinite, Hariang; who does everything, Kariang; for grace everything has done, Nirname; nameless, desireless and Akame; by itself.
Har is the creative energy of the God, included in four repetitions. It gives power to all aspects and provides power to break down barriers of the past.
Romao has been practicing yoga since 1999. She started with learning Hatha and teaches various forms of yoga classes, such as meditation, Vinyasa and Kundalini.
Originally from Brazil, Romao came to Vancouver and said she was very young when she came to Vancouver.
Romao wanted to explore while travelling around Canada and explains how she ended up in the city.
“I fell in love with the city and again, I thought the spiritual, there’s almost like a cloud of spirituality on top in Vancouver you know and this kind of vibration, that air, somehow attracts a lot of people” Romao said. “I felt it was a great opportunity to grow as well. [There are] many things that I learned since I arrived here, so I’m very grateful.”
Romao became involved as program coordinator with Beyond Addiction, wanting to help people after completing her Kundalini training six years ago.
“Coincidence in life, I was talking to a person and this person [asked] have you heard about Beyond Addiction?” Romao said. “I met [Sat Dharam,] took the program and fell in love. I told her I want to help you, I want to keep this program in Vancouver.”
Moving forward with the program, Romao hopes people dealing with addiction issues will invest joining the program, especially youths dealing with addiction.
“I hope we can organize a program for youth. This is my dream to have youth taking this program because I have said addiction goes beyond the substance. It’s the behaviour, the thoughts, the relationships and everything.”
Near the end of the gong bath meditation, a participant was selected by Romao to recite a poem called ‘the Guest House,’ written by Persian poet and scholar, Rumi.
She repeats the mantra from before with the class and blesses everyone to stay in tune to their soul, be active and not to procrastinate.