Yoga therapy & Reiki healing for people with addictions | 27 January 2020
After completing an honours degree in social work and education, Natalie Dubois began her career as a counsellor working with people who have addictions.
Since arriving in Seychelles to accompany her husband who is working here, Mrs Dubois told Seychelles NATION that she would like to share her own knowledge and experience of the potential benefits of yoga therapy and Reiki healing in battling addictions.
Seychelles NATION: Tell us a bit about your professional background.
Natalie Dubois: I received yoga training through the World Yoga Alliance Thailand Yoga Division on the beautiful island of Koh Chang and was taught by Guru Dharm, a Yoga Master Degree holder from the GKV Haridwar University (India). I have practiced and taught yoga across the globe, in North America, Southeast Asia, Europe, India and the Middle East.
One of my many passions is helping people which is why I chose to complete an honours degree in both social work and education. I began my career as a counsellor working in addictions and I found adding yoga as part of other conventional therapies to be extremely beneficial.
While teaching yoga in the United Kingdom, one of my students was a Reiki Master who then taught me Reiki healing thus qualifying me with levels one and two, as well as a Master in Reiki healing.
Reiki is an extraordinary therapy which helps improve just about any aspect of a person’s life, from physical health to emotional well-being, stress reduction and mental clarity. If you are interested in receiving treatments, find a qualified Reiki Master near you to assist on your journey to optimal health.
Seychelles NATION: Can you explain how Yoga therapy and Reiki healing can be of benefit to people with addictions?
Natalie Dubois: Here in the Seychelles it is said to be the highest use of heroin per capita. I was very surprised when I arrived on the island and learned about the addictions people are facing here. I am not claiming to be an expert in the field of addictions, I only wish to impart some light on how yoga and Reiki can be of potential benefit.
I believe that many people are dealing with chronic stress these days and that this is an underlying cause of illnesses and diseases. When you have chronic stress, your cortisol levels increase.
Many studies show that practicing yoga and meditation decreases your cortisol levels. When you have a calm mind by using yoga or Reiki to heal chronic stress, then you can avoid self-harming behaviour like substance abuse.
The body and mind must be treated as one and I believe that this is the missing link between traditional approaches to working with people who suffer from addictions. According to yogic science, the health of the psyche is reflected in the body.
BKS Iyengar, one of the foremost yoga teachers in the world, states that “The aim of yoga is to calm the chaos of conflicting impulses”. The word yoga can be translated as to focus attention on. When we practice yoga, we practice union of the body, with the mind and the self, and through this unification we can find mental equilibrium.
Yoga practice teaches us to be present and to try not to avoid any feelings or emotions that arise. Learning to be more present is so useful when dealing with addictions as substances are used to inhibit sensations of addictive behaviour. Yoga can help you on this path by realising these sensations in your mind and body, and finding healthier alternatives.
It is important to note that yoga therapy for addictions is an extremely specialised form of yoga, so it's not enough to go to a local yoga studio. It is crucial that you work with a trained yoga therapist. Social workers interested in bringing the benefits of yoga to their clients must have studied yoga themselves.
Seychelles NATION: You mentioned that you want to share some ideas to people who would like to kick start their own home practice routine, and to aid them in reaching out to the community for support. Tell us about some of these ideas.
- Practice Guided Meditations – Focus on an image that is meaningful or positive, e.g. a loved one. Another way to practice guided meditation is to focus on a positive outcome, e.g. feeling at peace and balanced.
- Healing Light Meditation – Focus on your inner healing light that radiates within, filling your entire body, mind and spirit. Use every inhale to bring in positive energy and every exhale to release any hurt, tension or pain.
Meditation can help you detach from cravings by bringing awareness to your breath. You can practice allowing thoughts to pass by without judgment and try refocusing on the breath.
- Practice Powerful Mantras – Mantras are used to turn inward, to help you express your intention and to shift away from negative patterns of thinking and behaving.
“SA TA NA MA” is a mighty mantra which translates as “Infinity, Life, Death, Rebirth”. Or else, find a mantra that works for you! You can chant your mantra out loud or silently.
Mantras help through the subtle vibrations they cause in your being when practiced.
- Practice Breathing Techniques – Try taking deep breaths in, allowing for a quick breath retention before you breathe out, trying to exhale for a longer count than your inhale. Repeat up to 10 times.
- Slow It Down – Try slowing your breath down to less than 11 breaths per minute.
Breath is the essence of life or energy. By focusing the mind totally on the breath, we allow the energy to flow freely through the body and connect us with the life force.
- Yoga Poses:
Child’s Pose – The shape reminds us to nurture our inner child. It symbolises returning to childlike innocence and allows feelings of peace to flow within us. This is a very restful pose since it soothes the nerves and calms the mind.
Warrior One – This pose helps us to find our inner strength and reminds us to remain strong when pressure or triggers arise.
Fish Pose – This pose is said to be the destroyer of all diseases. It relieves stress and anxiety.
Corpse Pose – The stillness and silence of this pose can help us connect to ourselves on a deeper level. With space and time, we can finally let go.
Image source: Pocket Yoga
Addiction is a serious condition which could happen to anyone. It is important to remember that there is always hope and that recovery is possible. Find what works for you. As Buddha says, “Every morning we are born again. What we do today is what matters most.”
*This article and all included information is not intended as medical advice and does not treat or diagnose. Please consult your doctor for any health-related questions or concerns.