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Kundalini Yoga and the Use of ‘Recreational Drugs’
“If you have to be addicted to something, be addicted to doing sadhana daily. Otherwise, addiction is not a source of freedom. And you are not free by taking drugs. The neurons of the brain will become feeble. You will lose your nostril pituitary sensitivity. You can never smell the subtlety of life. You’ll always be dragging your life.”
–Yogi Bhajan, Kundalini Yoga: The Flow of Eternal Power, p. 104
Kundalini Yoga and drugs don’t mix. This is one of the first things Yogi Bhajan taught. When he came to Los Angeles in December of 1968, he witnessed the height of the self-destructive behavior of the hippie drug culture. He was appalled by the tragedy that addictions and drug use brought into people’s lives.
Many of his first students came to his classes high. He was quick to instruct them that combining Kundalini Yoga with recreational drug use was unhealthy at the least, and could be dangerous. According to yogic thought, drugs interrupt the natural flow of the energy of the chakras and the aura, and put strain on the nervous system to compensate. In addition, the drug-induced high and the powerful energies released from the practice of Kundalini Yoga can get out of control with unpredictable results.
At the time, drugs seemed the only way to attain the high that was longed for, the only way to pass through the doors of perception into experience. He reminded his students that the strongest mood and perception altering drugs were endogenous—we produce them in our own internal biotech factory—our bodies!
“Although many drug users thought of Kundalini Yoga as another way to get ‘high,’ Kundalini Yoga is a way to becoming the higher self. It is getting out of pain, subconscious turmoil, and boredom. It gives you energy from within that cannot be given or created by any outside substance.”
-Shakti Parwha Kaur
Drugs like cocaine prevent the parasympathetic nervous system from doing its job. Marijuana severely affects the functioning of the brain. It is like running an engine without oil. It interferes with spinal fluid circulation. It also lowers testosterone levels and reduces the number of connections between neurons in areas that affect memory and motivation. It attacks the nerve centers in the spine. The entire nervous system—all 72,000 nerves in the body—are damaged. Whenever the brain is affected by drugs, its usual control of the expansion and contraction of the brain hemispheres is destroyed. Then whether the person is using more drugs or not, that brain hemisphere can expand at any time. People get spaced out, forget what they are doing.
Yogi Bhajan knew that by practicing Kundalini Yoga, his students would not only experience an even higher ‘high,’ but they would be repairing their nervous system and brain. It’s not a temporary ‘high,’ but a permanent spiritual experience with no damaging side-effects. He said it would take three years of doing Kundalini Yoga and eating a healthy diet to repair the damage that drugs had done.
Yogi Bhajan never told his students to stop taking drugs, but he pointed out the effects of taking them, and he gave simple things to do as an alternative:
“When you feel the urge for a stimulant, take seven long deep breaths, holding each inhalation to the maximum. Or do Breath of Fire. It is the most powerful remedy! If you do a half-hour of Breath of Fire every day, there are a lot of troubles that you can keep miles away.”
–Yogi Bhajan, Kundalini Yoga: Flow the Eternal Power, p.101
Fortunately, it’s never too late to try to improve conditions. By practicing Kundalini Yoga you have begun to mend and repair, heal, and strengthen your body and mind.
If you have taken drugs, you can get rid of the after-effects by doing sadhana every day.
“Many people who stick to sadhana have been found to be totally clear of the effects and abnormalities created by the use of drugs.”
–Yogi Bhajan, The Aquarian Teacher Training Manual Level 1, p. 250
Yogi Bhajan reached out to all those young students who had fallen into drug use. He inspired and guided a SuperHealth program in Tucson, Arizona, for many years in the 1970s and 80s. He consulted with programs in Boston, Moscow and elsewhere. He shared many techniques to help with detox and recovery from drugs and alcohol: yoga, meditation, body treatments, special nutritional guidelines and food supplements, counseling and more.
Pure diet, vegetarian foods and special medicinal foods are signatures of Kundalini Yoga therapies. Change the nutritional and herbal support of the body and you change the energy signature of stress. It is like giving a helping hand, or an infusion of hope, to every cell of the body.
Examples of foods that help remove the impulses and irritations from the body are:
Basil and Fennel Tea: Make a combination of basil and fennel to help relax the nervous system and reduce impulsiveness.
Onions, ginger and garlic: combined and eaten three times a day— 1/2 cup at a time—steadies the nerves and eases digestion.
Fresh juices: a good combination is 8 oz. of carrot juice and one half to I oz. of garlic juice. Sip it a bit at a time. Your body responds to the quality of the taste as much as the components of the food. This combination changes your feelings from negative to positive, increases your immunity and supports the liver.
And there are many more! Find more information at SuperHealth
[Source information: The Aquarian Teacher Training Manual Level 1, Aquarian Teacher Level 2 Vitality and Stress, and Kundalini Yoga: The Flow of Eternal Power]
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- Yogic Living: Trauma & Addiction Recovery
- Beyond Addiction: The Yogic Path to Recovery
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- Meditation for Healing Addictions
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