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Why Yoga Is Just Like Alcoholics Anonymous

09/22/2014, 5:00am PDT
By Kelvin Cech

A heavy take on severe & lesser-known vices.


It’s unfortunate, but people employ vices for a reason. They drink to forget their problems, they use drugs to hide from reality and they smoke to alleviate stress.

Reality and stress can add up, and it’s often too late when someone close finally notices.

Now, in no way am I directly comparing the debilitating effects of a chemical dependancy with working the 9-5 grind, but there are parallels, or warnings, we can take from the darker side of human vices.

Acknowledgement of Stress

There are days where we’re convinced we’re not going to accomplish anything. There are other days when we actually don’t accomplish anything, other than driving 2 kids to a hockey practice, another to the soccer field and heating up leftovers for everyone else.

Life can be frustrating when we live it exclusively for someone else. 

Hockey is an appropriate reminder of this notion. We want our kids to do well in hockey so badly that it consumes us more than the little guy who’s wearing the skates. It becomes a competition between parent and child, between adults and between organizations. 

Frustrating. Stressful.

Dealing With Stress

The moment we deny our stress is the moment it begins to consume us.

  • What have you done for yourself in the past seven days?
  • What will you do for yourself next week?
  • Who is actually in charge of your life?

Again, these problems aren’t in the same universe as drug addiction or mental illness, but ignoring them can certainly lead to issues such as alcohol abuse or neglecting what’s really important to us: our family, our health and our sanity.

Unofficial Support Groups

Joining a yoga class can be just like joining an alcoholics anonymous session. Both groups of people have an acknowledged issue, and they’re taking steps to deal with it. 

*The caveat here is that there is only one reason for joining alcoholics anonymous, while there are several stress-free reasons to do yoga.

Both groups of people also benefit from the support of their peers. As we learned from Lauren MacRitchie, yoga classes are beneficial because they allow the group to sync up their breathing and their movements. Yoga students are bolstered by the people around them. Their positive energy is maximized in much the same manner as the energy of an AA student who gets to tell his story in front of a caring, empathetic audience. 

Addicted to Activity

The original title of this post was something along the lines of ‘How Yoga Can Cure Our Stress Addiction’, but after writing it, I no longer believe in that idea.

We’re not addicted to stress, we’re addicted to the activities that create stress. We’re not about to leave it all behind, but we need to find outlets for the pent-up frustration that naturally comes with all the driving, the food prep and the sleepless nights spent worrying about ice-time. 

Yoga offers perspective.

Yoga classes are a place where people are free to turn their minds inward, to remember the steps they took to got to a place where they can enjoy their children and their activities. If we need it to be such, yoga is a healthy vice to help us deal with our problems. 

Instead of coffee, beer, wine or complaining, yoga can fill your need for an outlet in a healthy, easy-to-repeat way.

Look at the NSWC Yoga schedule.

photo credit: CJS*64 via photopin cc

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