What advice would you give to someone on the path of recovery?
Keep it in the day. Don’t drink or use drugs. Nothing material or external is ever going to fulfill you. The thing that you’re looking for, the sense of redemption and connection is available to you if you’re willing to follow instruction.
You actively speak about your own addiction and pathway to recovery. What is the role your practice has played?
On one very basic level, the person that I used to be when I was a drug addict would not practice yoga. Therefore by being a person that practices yoga I am no longer the person that was a drug addict.
More empirically, it gives me a connection to my body, to my breath, to my spirituality, that can be quite practical as opposed to abstract. Like my mate used to say, “You know you talk all the time about communism and equality, but actually in practice you’re a tyrannical madman, you know, just in personal relationships.”
Yoga gives you a real connection to spirituality. There’s no point in doing yoga, if while you’re doing yoga you’re thinking, “Shit I’ve got to do that,” or “No I should never have done that.” It is a genuine opportunity to synchronize your breath and movement, and through it induce a kind of hypnotic state. In the type of recovery that I worked, 12-Step recovery, the 11th Step is about prayer and meditation, which I means communing with your innermost self in a lucid fashion. Yoga is part of Step 11.
What are some of your go-to practices?
At least three times a week, I do yoga. Once or twice a week, I do Brazilian Ju-Jitsu. If my dogs are with me, I go for little runs with my dogs.
I meditate at least once a day, hopefully twice a day. I pray every morning. And I try to stay connected to the community of drug addicts and alcoholics to which I belong.
All of this, the point of all of this is to keep a kind of fidelity to the inner voice, to the inner connection, not to become hypnotized by external things.
Russell Brand on Recovery at the Conscious Life Expo
Felicia Tomasko has spent more of her life practicing Yoga and Ayurveda than not. She first became introduced to the teachings through the writings of the Transcendentalists, through meditation, and using asana to cross-train for her practice of cross-country running. Between beginning her commitment to Yoga and Ayurveda and today, she earned degrees in environmental biology and anthropology and nursing, and certifications in the practice and teaching of yoga, yoga therapy, and Ayurveda while working in fields including cognitive neuroscience and plant biochemistry. Her commitment to writing is at least as long as her commitment to yoga. Working on everything related to the written word from newspapers to magazines to websites to books, Felicia has been writing and editing professionally since college. In order to feel like a teenager again, Felicia has pulled out her running shoes for regular interval sessions throughout Southern California. Since the very first issue of LA YOGA, Felicia has been part of the team and the growth and development of the Bliss Network.