Yoga and meditation can transform a person. It’s a blend of body, mind and soul. It’s a celebration of life.Father Joe Pereira
An inspirational Catholic priest and yoga teacher who has a long history of helping people overcome addictions has shared his teachings with the south-west.
Father Joe Pereira was a guest speaker at Western Region Alcohol and Drug Centre annual general meeting on Tuesday evening.
WRAD also unveiled its 2017-18 annual report, which shows alcohol remains the most problematic drug in the region, followed by methamphetamine-like substances and cannabis.
The report shows there has been an increase in the number of clients aged 45 and over presenting for treatment, as well as a rise in the number of self-referrals.
Males made up 58 per cent of those seeking treatment.
Father Pereira founded the Kripa Foundation, which had humble beginnings in a church compound in India.
At that time there was three patients in residence, a priest, a doctor and a recovering alcoholic as a role model for recovery and sobriety.
Since then the charitable trust has spread all over India with 69 varied facilities addressing addiction.
Father Pereira says the traditional 12-step program as used by Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous combined with Iyengar yoga and meditation practise offers a holistic approach to recovery.
He studied directly under the founder of Iyengar yoga, BKS Iyengar, for 46 years.
He is now considered one of the world’s leading instructors and on Tuesday morning he took a class at Warrnambool’s Iyengar studio with Karen Wilde.
“The 12 step program is the backbone of recovery,” he said.
“When you listen to your body you begin to realise the truth about your self.
“When you bring people together and address the body through yoga – the body has its own wisdom – it gives us an opportunity to address disorder.
“Iyengar is bringing about a triple effect for change – body, breath and transpersonal.
“Yoga and meditation can transform a person. It’s a blend of body, mind and soul. It’s a celebration of life.”
At the Kripa Foundation patients stay for an intense three month treatment to complete a lifestyle change.