If one year ago you asked me why am I doing yoga, you wouldn’t get a meaningful answer. I would say something like – it’s good for the body, it’s some movement, yoga is useful – I didn’t really know why am I doing it. I was going there because it was fancy to do so(everyone does!), but it felt like Im trying to convince myself that it has any benefits for me.
After few months of a regular practice, I stopped it. Exactly for that reason – I didnt know why the hell do I need it. I felt more flexible, true, but so what?
I didnt return to yoga for the next 8 months.
This year, as Im becoming more conscious about my life choices – I’m starting with yoga again, but now I have a very specific purpose for doing so.
Do you know why they say that yoga heals? Well, it doesn’t directly heal anything. It’s just one of the tools to master your mind.
For me, yoga has the same goal as does alcohol: forget about worries and dissolve in the moment. This is what we want to achieve when we drink: “relax” after the hard day – means to let go of heavy thoughts. To allow ourselves to have fun in the moment and believe that life will take care of itself.
Yoga does the same to my mind. If I set an intention to fully be present with poses and focus on how my body feels rather than on worries of my mind – after the exercises, I feel flexible not only in muscles but also in the head.
It might sound strange to compare yoga with alcohol, but for me, the aim is the same for both. The only difference is that with alcohol I was doing it unconsciously and temporarily, meanwhile killing my physical health, while with yoga I do it intentionally, long-term, and with benefits for my body.
Alcohol temporarily lets us get loose, forget our masks and problems. It’s an escape from the heavy thoughts, from society and our own impossible standards. It’s a chance for us to feel free. And it’s a normal human behavior to attempt to live an easy life. We cannot live in a constant darkness of our mind, and if we are not able to change it consciously – we need help in form of addictions.
When we start the journey of deliberately mastering our mind – the need for alcohol, cigarettes, or any other addictions dissipates by itself.
After a decade of living in a half-drunk state – I no longer have a need for this type of escape. I stopped drinking effortlessly. Now Im letting go with yoga and meditation.
I never liked the taste of alcohol. But I constantly ignored this fact in exchange for the freedom it gave me. Even if for a little while. Even if followed by horrible hangovers. I was ready to pay this price for few hours of feeling myself. Feeling confident, doing silly things and covering it with “hey, I wasn’t myself. I was drunk”.
Instead of having anonymous alcoholics clubs, I think we should attend lessons on how to master the mind and how to stop creating personal hells. Then the need for external escapes will disappear by itself.
No willpower, no force, no medications are needed in order to eliminate alcohol or another dependency if we only learn how to stop our mind from suffering. How to be free and limitless in daily life.
In fact, no willpower has ever helped me to stop drinking. No force has ever helped me grow. It is by simple faith in life that I started to question my habits and daily choices. At some point, I refused to believe that we are born to suffer and worry the whole life and then, still suffering, just die.
After few months of not drinking, I received a funny question: So you can have fun without drinking?
At that moment I realized that OMG, I really don’t need to drink to have fun! Which was not the case a year ago.
In a long-term, we don’t need alcohol. At all. But we use it as a temporary medium to get to that state where we feel free. Where we can cry, say what we want, do what we feel like doing.
Same goes for eating chocolate (or anything) as means of achieving (temporary) fulfillment and happiness. Same goes for coffee as means of achieving a higher level of energy.
Until we are able to achieve these goals by mastering our thoughts – we need substances to temporarily help us. When we no longer need that help – we will eat and drink only for the pure pleasure of taste. Then anything that is damaging our health will drop by itself. Overeating, overdrinking, and anything that is “over” – will disappear.
Everything starts and ends in our minds. The choices we make. The evaluations we give. The perceptions we have. If we were taught mind mastery at schools – life would be much easier. But it’s never too late to start.
Learning to be ourselves, to love life, to be thankful for what we have, celebrate and focus on wins rather than on failures – it all helps us switch our thoughts from heavy and dark to light and loving ones. And if we don’t feel heavy in our heads – we won’t need any heavy escapes.
We are here on this planet for this purpose – to master our own inner worlds. That skill is the hardest to get, but it’s the most rewarding one.