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Yoga and Addiction

by Octavian Sarbatoare

Yoga, is a path of human optimization in order to redesign ourselves consciously. Thus, it has to do a lot with body and mind as locations of our experiences. Yoga experiences are perceptive experiences, therefore to obtain high perception will be the primarily purpose of various Yoga techniques and practices. One of the obstacles in obtaining higher perception is the human addiction.

Addiction can be defined as a condition of more or less of a necessity leading to a certain path of action and therefore more or less independent. However the condition of necessity is not an excuse to perform criminal acts or even acts of self-destruction. For the acts of destruction or self-destruction are what we are engaged in, when addictions are present in our lives.

The addictions might be classified in body and mind addictions, although in many cases it will be hard to place a certain addiction in one category for the simple fact that body experiences take mental forms in order to be known by a human recipient. The body and mind addictions intermingle, having a reciprocal deterministic influence. It is very important to understand the body-mind relationship as far as the human addictions are concerned.

To start with, the body addictions can range from addictions to various toxins as tobacco, alcohol, etc. to addictions of kinds of food or any dependency that gives gratification to the human senses. For it is the gratification of senses that created body addictions in order to experience the mind awareness we are dependent on.

Mind addictions can be projections of body addictions or can be more independent from a causal body-mind relationship. As projections they follow body addiction with all the consequences. More or less independent, are various other mind addictions like watching TV or computer games, anger, sorrow, the need to criticize somebody, etc.

As kinds, human addictions can take many complex forms sometimes not obviously in the open. The addictions can be disguised, as the human mind can take many forms and therefore able to mimic a positive aspect under a negative umbrella for example.

Yoga is about becoming conscious about addictions in trying to do something to diminish or get rid of them. Yoga as a methodology to obtain lasting awareness sees addiction as a less qualitative way to become conscious and fully experience life. For indeed we can say that there is awareness of pleasure and satisfaction when drinking a grass of wine, but how qualitatively significant is the experience? If the high moments last only for a couple of seconds after which even the prior level of awareness was lost, what was the point? It seems that the rocket took off but for only a couple of seconds, than fell to the ground destroying some of the parts. This is really far from any conscious way to live a flourishing life as Yoga wants us to.

Yoga is primarily concerned to obtain lasting states of body and mind optimization, the state known in the specialized literature as Ananda. These kinds of qualitative experiences can be acquired in many ways, through various Yoga practices, Tantra practices, etc. Ananda is most of all a state of body and mind in which the optimum is experienced. The body is thus healthy and in good shape, the mind is stable to a high degree. Only than the mind becomes more independent of addictions and is able to experience a wider panorama. For awareness through Yoga means the capacity to experience a wider panorama of an environment as well as an extended mental panorama.

As a conclusion of this paper we might say that as far as the human body and mind are concerned, progress in Yoga means a gradual parallel elimination of body and mental addictions. If the body is not optimized, the mind is busy to pay attention to those addictions and therefore not free. The sine qua non condition of liberation in the Yoga sense is for the mind to be free.