Yoga Therapy for Addiction

12 week therapeutic course for secondary level addiction (one year minimum in recovery) that addresses deep seated causes of addiction and integration of long term healing techniques.

Yoga Therapy

Yoga therapy for Addiction:


The Addiction program is a 12 week course that addresses whole body health. In yogic terms this means being able to use all of our concentration, focus, discipline and vitality to achieve union with our true reality, the Infinite Self. The program focuses on reversing alienation from Self, which happens organically as we learn to survive in our materially focused environments. We are taught to rely on very limited resources – the mind and physical body – to the exclusion of the rest of our energetic being which is composed of progressively more refined sheaths of energy. The addiction program is a journey through these layers of our energetic beings, learning how to utilise them to realise the vastness from which we arise and to which we have constant access. It is this ultimate realisation of connection and unlimited potential that addresses the causes of addiction. The course seeks to highlight and address the multifaceted causes of addiction. It includes group process work, individual healing tools and techniques, and work to do at home in between the weekly sessions. The group setting is crucial to the healing process and is an intentionally used facet of Ravi Kaur’s healing work. It builds a sense of community which also addresses the alienation and sense of isolation that is endemic to addiction. The capacity to build and maintain relationships is also incorporated into the healing program and begins with the capacity to build and maintain a healthy relationship with Self.


The program is suitable for people who have entered into a recovery process with their addictions (with serious drug, sex, gambling, pornography and/or alcohol addictions where the addiction has disrupted ordinary functioning in daily living, they will have been in recovery for the minimum period of a year) and for people whose addictions have not disrupted ordinary functioning.

The 12 week protocol costs R6000 and must be done as a whole for best results. There are 12 segments with in-depth information on Addiction, awareness raising exercises that highlight the parameters of the condition, and tools and techniques to replace these parameters with healthy behaviours. There are some home practices to assist in the integration of the learning. The course can be repeated many times in order to fully integrate all the healing processes.

What is Addiction?

Addiction is defined as the strong physical, emotional and/or psychological dependence on a substance or behaviour (such as alcohol, drugs, sugar, coffee, gambling, sexual obsession, shopping, overwork, exercise, the internet, video games or television) that has progressed beyond voluntary control. An addict feels an uncontrollable, compulsive craving and/or psychological dependence on or for the addictive substance or behaviour, regardless of the outcome or potential to cause personal harm, or to disrupt close relationships. Addiction is a chronic and progressive condition, with genetic, neurobiological, hormonal, nutritional, psychosocial, environmental and spiritual factors contributing to its development and manifestation. Over time the addict takes increasing doses of addictive substances or spends more time involved in the addictive activity to maintain the same effect. Often unpleasant symptoms (withdrawal) appear when the addictive substance is stopped and disappear when it is reinstated. At its extreme, an addiction may become an obsession to the exclusion of everything else in one’s life.

In modern times addiction can be seen everywhere. It is linked to many mental illnesses particularly Cold Depression and trauma. We use addictive substances and behaviours to ease emotional such as loneliness, alienation, rejection, fear, abandonment, neglect, insecurity, feeling unsafe, emptiness, depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress and/or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. In his book, In the Realm of Hungry Ghosts, Gabor Mate´ writes, “the very same brain centres that interpret and “feel” physical pain also become activated during the experience of emotional rejection: on brain scans they “light up” in response to social ostracism just as they would when triggered by physically harmful stimuli.”


For thousands of years yoga has been taught as a method to tranquilise the mind and enliven the body. In recent times evidence-based research shows that the practices included in yoga like postures of the body, relaxation, visualisation, and controlled breathing and meditation, can normalise an activated autonomic sympathetic nervous system, calm tension in the muscles, lower blood pressure, enhance endocrine system activity, reduce physical and emotional discomfort, and improve general wellbeing (Emerson et al, 2009). The conclusion of a large meta-study analysing the results of many research studies highlights yoga and meditation as a very effective complementary treatment for severe mental illness, particularly for reducing symptoms of anxiety and depression (Cabral et al, 2011).  The difference between yoga therapy and a yoga class lies in the intention. In yoga therapy sessions for either individuals or groups, the intention is to focus on the specific condition that is being experienced by the client/group, while in yoga classes the intention has a more general focus on strength building, stretching and breath and visualisation exercises. Kundalini yoga, as taught by Yogi Bhajan, was taught to healthy people, while Kundalini yoga therapy has a very specific focus on how to treat illness. After an appropriate intake, and assessment, therapists will focus on the specific symptoms that are troubling their clients and identify methods to help them manage those symptoms. The therapist’s job is less about teaching yogic techniques and more about helping clients to overcome their challenges and gain independence.


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