Vernon Kenny was very reluctant to go to a yoga class when his wife asked him to. She had been practicing for years in Japan, but wanted to attend her first class in the UK. She was worried about attending a yoga class in English. So, she dragged Vernon along with her. He moaned all the way there. 

“Can I not just wait for you in the pub?” I asked.

At this point in Vernons life, he was drinking every day and smoking a lot. He was experiencing low-level depression which he thought he was managing through excessive shopping and substance abuse. That was 10 years ago – he was 40. He is now 5o and a regular yoga practitioner.

His first class  was  a regular one in a gym. But at this class everything changed. He was hooked straight away and six months later, he has stopped drinking and smoking. His family and friends noticed the difference too. They noted that he was happier, friendlier, more open and compassionate. As a result his relationship with his wife was much better too. Their silly arguments over stupid things all but stopped. 

Giving up smoking was perhaps his greatest achievement. He had tried for years to do it but found it impossible. Yoga helped him because smoking and drinking were just a manifestation of his desire for happiness.  And as he became more happy and contented, he realised that he didn’t need these substances any more. He experienced some physical discomfort for a few days after quitting smoking but that soon passed. Yoga helped him control his psychological addiction to smoking. 

Yoga has the ability to bring you into a deep sense of relaxation physically and mentally. He started to understand that there was no satisfaction in trying to find happiness outside himself, for example through material possessions. All this stuff brought only temporary happiness, nothing permanent. 

Vernon now practices every day. He does an hour and a half before work. Then he meditates every e evening. He also attends group classes. 

“Yoga isn’t going to turn everyone’s life around, but it has the potential to do so. You just need to be open to it. I don’t know whether it was luck or karma but yoga came to me at the right time. If I had gone to a class four years earlier I think I would have walked out immediately and gone straight to the pub. I wasn’t ready then but when I eventually found it. I was.”

Originally published in the Guardian, Wednesday, 22 June 2016

Dr Nitasha Buldeo is an Integrated Medical Practitioner, Entrepreneur, Scientist and Yogi. She created  I-Yoga & Organic Apoteke and is Director of the Centre for Exceptional Human Performance. She researches human potential and delivers programs that encourage you to live exceptionally. Nitasha believes that every one of us is striving to be the best we can. Her passion is bringing you experiences that inspire you. Her intention is for you to unlock your genius.

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