Alcohol is probably the most socially acceptable intoxicant in our society. In 2012 almost 90% of Americans, aged 18 and over, said they had used alcohol at some point in their lifetime. Nearly 60% of adults in America have used alcohol in the past month.
Most people understand that too much alcohol, especially an addiction to alcohol, is unhealthy. But research indicating there may be some health benefits from light to moderate alcohol consumption may confuse the issue.
It’s a fact that alcohol takes a significant toll on our society and individuals. According to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, nearly 88,000 people die from alcohol-related causes each year, making it the 3rd leading preventable cause of death in the United States. Other research has shown that alcohol abuse costs over $220 billion each year in the United States alone.
Excessive drinking causes the most harmful effects of alcohol use, contributing to a number of chronic diseases and health problems, such as cardiovascular disease, cancer, liver disease, digestive problems, dementia, depression, nerve damage, infectious disease, and pancreatitis.
On a physiological level, alcohol slows down the processing from your sensory organs and makes thinking more sluggish. This is one reason why people are more prone to violence, accidents, or poor judgment when they are under the influence of alcohol. Alcohol also impairs the area of the brain that is responsible for balance and movement and may even cause blackouts, where a person has no memory of events over a period of time.
From the standpoint of the ancient science of yoga, our health on every level—mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual—is optimized by refraining from intoxicants. Practicing Yoga Sound Meditation on a regular basis promotes inner peace and happiness, leading to a higher taste that allows one to naturally give up habits, such as alcohol use, that have the potential for harm. Yoga Sound Meditation and yoga asanas also help to reduce stress and bring the mind and body into a more harmonious condition, so that we almost effortlessly make better choices for our health and well being.
Many practitioners of yoga asanas and Yoga Sound Meditation find that they are naturally less attracted to alcohol, cigarettes, and other intoxicants simply because they find a greater happiness in their own yoga practices. By cultivating the healthy habits that are naturally part of a yoga lifestyle, you can make a positive impact on your own life and the lives of those around you.