Yoga On Drugs

My search began as a child.
I didn’t know what I was searching for, just that there was ‘something’.
My sister and I were brought up atheist but as I approached my teens I found myself secretly reading the Bible at night with a torch under the covers when I should have been sleeping.

But what was ‘it’?

The search continued during my teens in an ecstasy tablet.
Well actually quite a lot of them.
And they were usually taken back then whilst in a field dancing to rave music.

After a long hard slog of a week at work, it was party time, from the rave in a field to the London club, with ecstasy always coming along for the ride.

The party for me then moved to Thailand where I quite literally rocked up to party central on arrival. Little did I know that the cute bungalow operation whose cool tunes lured me in from the beach, was actually about to become the hottest and coolest club venue on Koh Samui.

I’d moved to Thailand in 2000 to become a yoga teacher, but hedonism wasn’t ready to let me out of her grip and the all night partying continued for a further 6 years at this happening beach bar.
Jo in 1993
I’d pop my first pill of the evening and watch the tourists speedboat over to the Full Moon Party whilst remaining in the comfort of my select group of fellow high-seekers. And as the tourists returned the next morning we’d all still be there pill-ed up to the eyeballs with our own DJ, still going strong and satisfying ourselves ceaselessly as the sun came up.

There is something about when I listen to really good progressive house music that takes me somewhere, inward, and I feel totally connected. When I was dancing under the stars there were no worries, cares, problems, issues or dramas.
Life was perfect.
I was at one with myself and the whole world.
CONNECTED to source.
An escape from normality and transported to a dream world.
It’s like the music touched a piece of my soul and there was an ultimate connection.
The drugs enhanced this a-hundred-fold it seemed.
Magic opened up within me.
I felt complete.

I HATE you, I LOVE you
Back then I was partying with my ex and we fought all day long, but take us to a party and fill us with ecstasy and we were a team.
The connection was there, and in that moment (and for however long the high lasted) we were best friends.
I loved him unconditionally in the high of ecstasy, and the music accompanying it, all expectations and problems magic-ed away.

How could we be so happy by night and so miserable the next morning??
It didn’t make sense.
Another dimension.
Another world.
A high so high that nothing could bring me down.
Magic opened up within me.
I felt complete.

But god was the comedown awful, made all the more terrible by hating him again once the veil of drugs had been lifted….

Who The Hell Am I?
My life was now playing out in two different directions.
The old Jo: party animal
The new Jo: yoga and health
And the two were about to collide as I was on the verge of teaching my very first yoga class.

The plan was that first class to be in my gorgeous rooftop yoga studio overlooking the sea and Koh Phan-gnan on Wednesday 3rd January 2001.

The reality was my first class was a few days earlier on New Years Day, on the beach at before-mentioned ‘venue’ having been up all night on ecstasy and having just consumed a magic mushroom omelette ‘because I was hungry’, and wanted to stay high.
I’m not proud of it and actually cannot believe I am admitting this.
But ‘authenticity’ is my new middle name, and to do it justice I have to come clean….

By this time yoga and meditation had been in my life for about 4 years and I was getting high from it: the same kind of high that drugs and house music had been giving me.
I loved it!
And so I juggled my natural and chemical highs for the next few years, but the incongruence became too much of a strain and in the end something had to give.

Epiphany Moment
I now KNEW that yoga and meditation was what I had been looking for all these years.
This was the connection, space, belonging and high that I had been searching for my whole life.
And so the pendulum began to sway further and further towards the new Jo. The old me just didn’t fit any more.
I tried her on a few final times but it took longer and longer to get back to the healthy version of me, and in the end enough was enough.

I was done.
There was going to be no more chemical highs.
That was 2006.
Goodbye cocaine, goodbye cigarettes, goodbye ecstasy.

A Life Of Service
The hedonistic existence that had been normality for my whole adult life fell away, and what emerged was a desire to share what I had learnt along the way.
How did I ‘give up’ the toxic lifestyle that I had lived for so long and have no apparent withdrawal? Why do some hanker after a drink years into sobriety, while I find it easy to say “I’ll NEVER drink again.”?

I’ve unlocked the door, discovered the answer and happily live in a clean and sober world. EVERYTHING in my life now comes from a place of wanting to serve others and I look back on my old life sometimes wondering who the hell I used to be, but ultimately so thankful that I found my way out. If I hadn’t of found yoga and meditation I wonder where I’d be today, and I know that for sure I would not be as happy as I am now (and probably I’d be in a real pickle!).

However, I have no regrets because it is all part of who I am.

And now it’s time to show everyone HOW I did that. How I turned my life around.
How frigging EASY it was!

The New Way To Get High
Although the drugs are thankfully long gone I still love and listen to the music, but now it’s when I am exercising.
I have so much energy from my clean and healthy lifestyle!
I’m getting YOUNGER everyday.
Jo Post Workout!
My morning high is spinning, planking, sprinting, squats: a HIGH ENERGY start to the day!
And what I realise is that the music that I’ve always loved helps me push through those difficult workouts.
It drives me.

I LOVE getting out of my comfort zone and pushing my limit: that is who I am.
And I accept who I really am (definitely not something that I’ve always been able to do, but VERY liberating. I highly recommend it!).

And MEDITATION is my real magic.
Where I get my connection these days.
It is REAL, PURE, and there are no hangovers!
And do you know what, the high that I sometimes get when meditating is SO MUCH HIGHER than any drug I’ve ever taken, and in my opinion I have found the ultimate high anyone can: the one you find within yourself.

For me life has come full circle.
The search is over.
Day-to-day life is perfect and I feel truly blessed.

The Expectation Of Others
Is this who you thought I was?
Have I surprised you?
Shocked you perhaps?

Maybe you thought yoga teachers were packed up in shiny boxes eating perfection for breakfast and sleeping in a bed of flawlessness?

Perhaps you assumed that yoga/meditation teachers have had it easy?
That there has been no struggle?
It’s ok to be you you know.
Whoever you are or have been.
And I wanted to share a little bit more about me so that you can see that wherever you are, and whatever you’ve done, what you are doing NOW is what counts.
So make it count.
Believe in yourself.
Because I believe in you.

What you are thinking NOW is shaping your tomorrow.
It matters, YOU matter, so lets do this!
Let’s turn the music up, and get on the dance floor of life!

In a couple of weeks I am holding a one day workshop and will exploring Meditation and Manifestation in great detail, so if you’re up for diving in to the life that you’ve always dreamt of then I’d love to meet you at my retreat centre in Suffolk!
Meditation and Manifestation
Inner Guidance Retreat Centre, Lavenham, Suffolk.
Saturday 27th June
10am to 5pm

Let’s get real, and let’s get clear about where you are headed….
Let me know if this blog resonates, and I’m dying to know how REAL you are keeping it. Namaste xx

1st picture: Jo smoking a joint in 1993
2nd picture: Jo this week post workout and listening to her beloved house music!
Copyright: Jo De Rosa June 2015

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