There are many reasons why addicted people may benefit from yoga.
·       Stress, anxiety and depression relieving effects of yoga (e. g. Michalsen et al. 2005, Pilkingtona et al. 2005).
·       Safer social network. According to the author’s experience yoga-minded people are less prone to addictive behaviour.
·       Yoga enables safe management of some psychosomatic problems such as insomnia, headaches, and some painful problems. It may be possible in this way to avoid addictive analgesic or sedative drugs (Goyeche 1979).
·       In the author’s experience, yoga and relaxation, as the part of a complex treatment programme, can counterbalance less pleasant aspects of treatment, strengthen the therapeutic relationship, and decrease the number of patients leaving the programme prematurely (Nespor and Frouzova 1985).
·       Yoga and meditation develop and emphasize self-awareness, which is important in many ways. It is a common experience that sufficient self-awareness is required e.g. for early identification of internal or external clues triggering craving for alcohol or drugs.
·       Yoga compensates for long sitting during psychotherapy.  In-patients are frequently obliged to sit during psychotherapeutic activities for up to 4.5 hours. This can prove tiring and uncomfortable. Yogic practices, especially those with the spine in the horizontal posture such as the “cat pose” (or marjariasana) variations are useful to counterbalance this.
·       The author presumes that yoga also enhances spirituality. The term spirituality, however esoteric it may look, has become the serious topic of medical research. In September 2006 the Database of American National Library of Medicine contained 2496 references to the search word “spirituality”. Lower occurrence of daily smoking in spiritually minded people has been identified in the Czech population (17.6 % in those believing in God and 28.6 % in those not believing). Among substance-dependent individuals, higher levels of religious faith and spirituality is associated with a more optimistic life orientation, greater perceived social support, higher resilience to stress, and lower levels of anxiety (Pardini et al.. 2003).

Some problems with yoga
When the author was 26 years old he visited a noted Czech professor to whom he suggested that all his addicted patients could be cured by means of yoga. Having been offered the opportunity to test the claims the author found that it was not quite so easy; and that there were some problems, such as:
·       Long-term compliance of patients (the enthusiasm for yoga of most patients was much less than the author expected).
·       Systemic (domestic) interactions (e.g. lack of understanding of yoga by family members).
·       Practical problems (for some patients it was difficult to find time and place to practice).
·       The trainees were competitive and not patient enough.
·       The need of a qualified teacher to modify the practice according to the needs of an individual. As somebody said: “An individual should not adapt to yoga, but yoga should adapt to him.” This is especially important in physically or mentally challenged people.
Despite these problems, the author still believes that yoga is useful for this patient population. The aim of this paper is to investigate the above mentioned problems in more detail.

Formal sessions of yoga
The yoga protocol has been described in a previous paper (Nespor 2000). The structure of two typical 30 to 45 minute sessions is outlined below. Regardless of the duration, the lesson is usually divided into three roughly equal thirds.  This scheme is not rigid and can be modified according to the situation.
·       1st third: Physical exercises of Yoga
·       2nd third: Full yoga breath and/or some simple pranayama and some short story symbolically related to common patients’ problems.
·       3rd third: Relaxation with sankalpa (resolve)
Most of the following practices are described according to Satyananda (1996).

An example of a yoga session (30 minutes)
Marjariasana (Cat stretch pose): Instructions: Place the hands flat on the floor beneath the shoulders with the fingers facing forward. Inhale while raising the head and lowering the spine and create a hollow between your shoulder blades. Exhale while lowering the head and stretching the spine upward. The trainees may be instructed to emphasize the movement of the thoracic spine while inhaling, and the lumbar spine while exhaling.
Vyaghrasana (Tiger’s stretch): This usually commences from the marjariasana (cat’s pose) which is for trainees easy enough. Instructions: While inhaling straighten the right leg, stretching it up and back. Bend the right knee and point the toes toward the head. Look up and try to touch the toes to the back of the head. Hold the breath for a few seconds in this position. While exhaling, straighten the right leg, bend the knee and swing the leg under the hips. At the same time arch the back up and bend the head down. The right foot should not touch the floor. Press the knee against the chest and, if possible, touch the nose to the knee. Fix the eyes on the knee for few seconds while holding the breath out. With the next inhalation start to repeat these movements 5 times or so. Then repeat it with the left leg.
Shashankasana (Hare pose): This is also started from marjariasana. Instructions: While exhaling move downward and back so that the head and the arms rest on the floor in front of the knees. If you want to relax, just observe your natural nasal breath. As you breathe deeply be aware of your abdomen. After a while return back to marjariasana.
Sphinx asana and its variations: Instructions: Lie on the stomach. Bend the arms and place the forearms on the floor with the palms facing downward. The upper arms are vertical. Raise the head but relax all the muscles which are not necessary to maintain correct pose. The possible variations include hitting one’s buttocks with the heels, gentle rotations of the head and spine. Backward bending should be increased during inhalation and relaxed during exhalation.
Jyestikasana: Instructions: Lie down on your belly with the legs straight and the forehead resting on the fingers, with both hands interlocked, palms facing up. Be aware of your body and let it relax. Then observe your breath.
Supta udarakarshanasana (sleeping abdominal stretch pose or supine rotation with the knee bend): Lie on your back, bend the knees and place soles flat on the ground in front of the buttocks. Keep the knees and feet together. Interlock the fingers of both hands and place the palms under the back of the head. While breathing out slowly lower the legs to the right. The knees move down to the floor. At the same time move the head in the opposite direction. Hold the breath in final position for few seconds. While breathing in move the legs back to the upright position. Repeat to the opposite direction. Repeat 5 times.
Spontaneous abdominal breathing: I usually let the trainees to be aware of their spontaneous abdominal breathing on the back with the legs bent. Only after that we practice deep abdominal breathing, as something based on spontaneous abdominal breathing. Eventually we also add thoracic and clavicular breathing.
Full yoga breath
Stories symbolically related to common patients’ problems. An example of a story: Swami Satyananda often received visitors who sought his advice in spiritual or personal matters. Some visitors were satisfied with his advice but some were not. They objected “Yes, but it can be done so and so.”
“It is also good,” replied usually Swami Satyananda.
A disciple once asked Swamiji doubtfully: “Is it really also good?”
“Of course,” replied Swamiji. “The karma of some people does not allow them to accept good advice. They have to commit mistakes, to suffer and to learn through their painful experiences. That is why it is also good.”
This story is liberating. It shows that even our mistakes can be instrumental to our ultimate awakening. In the same time it shows that it is better to avoid these mistakes and related suffering.
Brief yoga nidra or yogic relaxation. During yoga nidra, I tend to offer to the trainees three sets of images they can choose from. Images for vata types (air and ether prevail; these people need grounding, stability, the feeling of safety): You are looking at the quiet surface of a lake. Its firm reliable banks are full of flowers whose fragrance is sweet. Somebody at the bank is singing a calming, sweet song. Images for pitta types (fire and water prevails; they need calmness and detachment): You are in rocky maintains at night. You see a pine, rooted firmly in the stony soil. There is plenty of free space around. Far away above your head Moon and stars spill their silver light all around. You feel pleasant breeze bringing to you cool fragrance of jasmine from some distant valley. Somebody is playing there a flute and its melody is detached and calm. Images for kapha types (earth and water prevails; these people need stimulation): You are looking at Sun high at sky. It shines brightly and colours the clouds by its orange and yellow light. The clouds move to the horizon. You smell sharp fragrance of eucalypt. Somebody is playing a drum fast and skilfully far away. Alternative symbolic imagery for everybody: You see a quiet surface of a lake reflecting nature around it. Similarly your mind, calm and sober, perceives things as they are. Now see a river, mighty and moving on and on.  Similarly you are able to overcome every obstacle if pursuing good and appropriate goals. Finally you see a strong, healthy pine tree with strong roots in the soil and its branches open to the sky. This tree is resistant against storms and winds. Similarly you are grounded in reality and in the same time open to positive spiritual influences. You are able to cope with all challenges in this way.
Namaste: Beforehand I usually explain that this mean “I bow to the highest in you which is the same as the highest in me.” I found this simple practice very useful. Our patients need very much to learn to respect themselves and others. They like this practice.
An example of a yoga session (45 minutes)
Marjariasana (Cat) on forearms. This variant diverts blood from pelvic area which is useful after long sitting.
Vyaghrasana (Tiger’s stretch)
Shashankasana (Hare pose):
Sarpasana (snake): Lie on the stomach, interlock the fingers and place them on top of the buttocks. Raise the head, neck and chest from the floor. Push the hands back and up. Squeeze the shoulder blades together and look forward. Hold for as long as comfortable. Then return to the starting position and relax the whole body.
Tiryaka Bhunjangasana (twisting cobra).
Ardha shalabhasana (a variant of half locust pose): Lie on the stomach, legs are together and the forehead touches the floor. Stretch the arms above the head and place them and the chin on the floor. Simultaneously raise the stretched left leg, the head and right arm. Hold for as long as comfortable. Then lower the leg, head and arm. Repeat the same movement with the right leg and left arm.
Jyestikasana: Lie down on your stomach with the legs straight and the forehead resting on the fingers of both hands interlocked and palms facing up. Be aware of your body and let it relax. Then observe your breath for a while.
Supta udarakarshanasana.
Spontaneous abdominal breathing and full yoga breath.

Seetkari. Cooling pranayamas seetkari and sheetali, according to Satyananda (1996) cool the body and the mind as well and decrease thirst. They are recommended in ayurveda especially for pitta (fire) personalities. Maybe they can also help to cope with craving for alcohol. The advantage of Seetkari compared with sheetali is, that seetkari can be performed in its mild form, inconspicuously, even during daily activities. Seetkari is practiced as follows: Hold the teeth lightly together and separate the lips. The tongue is passive in khechari mudra. Breathe slowly and deeply through the teeth. At the end of inhalation close the lips and keep the tongue where it is and breathe out slowly through the nose. Inconspicuous variant: Lips are separated very little and breathing is not as deep as during the normal practice of seetkari.

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