4 Concepts to Help You Get Rid of Destination Addiction

July 8, 2018

Photo from Elre7la Retreat


A few days ago, I read this post shared by fellow yoga teacher Hibbah ElSayad and it got to me. I shared it on Bindu’s Instagram page and wondered if many people relate to it and found that most people do. As a yoga community, the community that supposedly knows how to live in the present, I didn’t expect to see 87% of those who answered the poll relate to destination addiction, like I do sometimes. The post was a quote from Dr. Robert Holden: “Beware of Destination Addiction – a preoccupation with the idea that happiness is in the next place, the next job, and with the next partner. Until you give up the idea that happiness is someplace else, it will never be where you are.


I couldn’t stand the idea that many of us fall victim to this. Like I usually do, I sought answers within yoga. Below are 4 concepts to help you get rid of destination addiction and own your life.


Vira – Brave person or Hero

The first thing you can do is to understand that you need to take matters into your own hands. You can’t sit around and wait for things to happen. You need to be your own hero and make things happen for yourself. The root of the word Vira means “to overpower”. We often seek refuge into feeling victimized but that only harms us. Just like a warrior, you need to overpower that feeling and either accept your circumstances or change them. Similar to the Islamic concept of Jihad (spiritual struggle), Vira also signifies winning that internal battle inside your own head and heart. So here, you’ll have to fight the fight. You can’t walk away from it, you can’t walk away from your feelings, negative as they may be; embrace them and understand them. Your life is your own and you’ll need to fight for it. 

Photo from Nile Yoga Sessions by Mandala Yoga Retreats 


Purusha – Realizing your True Self

In yoga, there’s Prakriti and Purusha. Prakriti represents the material, things that can change. Purusha represents the unchanging, non-material. It also represents your true inner self. We spend years either running away from who we are, things we don’t like about ourselves, or fighting who we are. Rarely do we stop and actually experience who we actually are. One way of fighting the idea that happiness is elsewhere is to actually give up that quest altogether. Getting to know ourselves, getting to experience who we are, delving deep into our emotions, we must live it all, the good and the bad, the happy and the sad. Struggles, pain, sadness are all great teachers. Take those away and we’re happy, we’re satisfied. So perhaps, it’s not about finding happiness, it’s about dealing with sadness and healthily overcoming it. Reflect on your emotions, your reactions, your feelings. Don’t dismiss them but instead, understand them, delve into them, learn the lessons and move on.


Tapas – Discipline

Along with the self-realization and reflection, you need to add discipline. Going back to taking matters into your own hands, you need a practice, a disciplined, consistent practice to actually make a change. Tapas are spiritual practices that involve heat, passion, discipline and deep reflection and meditation. All a goal to reach Atman, the true self, or understanding Purusha more deeply. Inspired by Kino Macgregor’s book, The Yogi Assignment (p.154), here’s how you can use tapas to improve the quality of your life:

  • Purify your day to day life by breaking toxic habits. Understand and note, even write down if you have to, anything that doesn’t align with your values or with where you want to be in life. Be it waking up late, smoking, drinking, swearing, lying, anything at all. Note them, understand the need behind them, learn your lessons from them and break them.

  • Create new healthy and helpful habits. You need a commitment, you need discipline. Again, you can’t sit and wait for life to happen. Set a schedule, commit to a new hobby or a habit that you know will lead you to where you want to be and commit to it.

Photo from Nile Yoga Sessions by Mandala Yoga Retreats 


Shanti – Peace

To me, living at peace and in peace is a better goal than trying to be happy all the time. Accepting life, experiencing life, making a difference in life, that’s what I’m looking for. During practice, we often chant Shanti three times, each to represent mind, body and soul. And to me Shanti, being at peace, is finding harmony between these three and practically speaking, aligning my thoughts, feelings and actions. When my heart and mind are in agreement and I act accordingly, this is union, this is yoga, this is the balance that I seek. When your heart wants one thing and your mind another and you act in accordance with only one of them, that peace is shaken, there’s an imbalance, there’s even unhappiness. Linking all the concepts included here together, this union, this Shanti, will be the product of everything you work on. Being your own Vira, realizing Purusha, following Tapas, and finding Shanti, all remedies to get rid of destination addiction once and for all; remedies to improve your life, to change your perspective and be in charge of your own happiness.


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