70. Yoga in Recovery – with Tom & Tamsin


Tribe Sober – inspiring an alcohol-free life!

My guests this week are Tom and Tamsin Sheehey, co-owners of The Shala Yoga Studio in Cape Town, South Africa.  They are both yoga teachers and Tom is also a health coach with expertise in nutritional guidance.  They will both be offering their expertise to the Tribe Sober members.

In this Episode

  • Tom’s studies were in what is now called “complimentary medicine” which we both agreed is a better description than “alternative medicine”. If we want to use things like nutrition, yoga, massage, acupuncture, etc as part of our healing process then it should be seen as complimentary to traditional medicine – not as an alternative.
  • He talks to us about how regular alcohol use can put the body in a state of chronic inflammation which is a precursor to many illnesses including cancer.
  • In fact a recent study showed evidence that alcohol is linked to 7 different types of cancer https://www.webmd.com/cancer/news/20160722/alcohol-seven-types-cancer
  • From his nutritional viewpoint, Tom also pointed out that alcohol is simply liquid sugar which will affect our blood sugar levels which can lead to diabetes which again can lead to multiple health issues.
  • We talked about whether alcoholism is genetic and Tom agreed that if people have alcoholism in the family then they may well be more pre-disposed to developing dependency issues but he firmly believes that our health is dependent partly on our genes, partly on environment, and partly on our lifestyle. More on whether alcoholism is genetic in this podcast episode with Mary Anne Shearer – episode 31.
  • When Tom works with his clients he tends to coach people mainly on lifestyle changes as that is what is usually in our control.
  • He talked about the negative impact of alcohol on the gut which is twofold. Not only does it prevent us from absorbing some of the nutrients in our food but it also means we are less efficient at expelling metabolic waste – resulting in increased toxicity.
  • Tom coaches people around the 4 pillars of health which are diet, stress reduction, toxin reduction (alcohol being a toxin of course) and moderate exercise.
  • He advises us to increase the three dietary essentials – oxygen, water, and vegetables and reduce refined sugar refined salts, and synthetic foods…. If you do this and remove the toxin that is alcohol you are going to feel amazing!
  • Tamsin explained that she took up yoga because she wanted to access her body’s natural vitality. Although she was only in her early twenties she didn’t feel great and wanted to understand her body better.  20 years into her yoga practice Tamsin is a wonderful role model of health, strength, and serenity.
  • Becoming a yoga teacher has made her own practice sustainable as she integrates what she is teaching into her own body. She loves her healthy lifestyle and the fact that she now gets to “teach it forward”
  • We talked about how yoga can help in recovery and Tamsin explained that it’s about coming home into your body. With the focus on breathing and mindfulness, we become aware of what’s going on in our bodies.  Getting on our yoga mat gives us the opportunity to check in with our bodies and discover how we actually feel.
  • If recovery is about connecting with something greater than ourselves then there is a consciousness that comes with yoga that can facilitate that.
  • Yoga is not a competitive sport and Tamsin urged us not to be intimidated however old or unfit we are – especially now that we can do yoga online in the privacy of our own home!
  • As we get older a yoga practice becomes more and more important – we need to keep our bodies strong and flexible and we need to move our joints to prevent arthritis.
  • We are never too old to begin yoga and Tamsin explained that she has clients that do chair yoga or even bed yoga. She adapts the classes to her clients.
  • I discovered Tamsin after reading a feature in a magazine about “lymphasising” – I was recovering from cancer and read that it was an aid to recovery. So that’s how I discovered trampolines.  You heard her saying that bouncing was essential to health and wellness.  Tamsin begins her day with a session on the trampoline and sees that as a lifetime practice.
  • If like me you spend all day sitting at your computer then get a mini trampoline and get up and bounce for 5 minutes every hour. There are SO many health benefits and we really do need to keep “doing the dishes” as Tamsin described it!
  • Sobriety is a journey of self-discovery. When we give up drinking we have time on our hands and recover our energy– we actually want to try new things and start to look around at other areas of our life. Do we need to clean up our eating habits, do we need to do more exercise and some yoga for example?   One of my podcast guests (Will Black on episode 52 calls this the Domino Effect)
  • So if you think your diet could do with a bit of a review and if you are ready to give yoga a try then please take this opportunity.
  • If you are not yet a member of tribe sober then please sign up today – go to tribesober.com and hit join our tribe.
  • Once you are a member go into the “members only” area of the website and you will see an ICON for yoga and one for nutrition – just hit the Icons to read more about Tom and Tamsin what they are offering to our members.
  • You can do just one online Yoga session with Tamsin and a couple of sessions with Tom – so much to gain and absolutely nothing to lose!
  • You can read about The Shala Yoga Studio on their website www.theshala.co.za

More info

  • Subscription membership for Tribe Sober  – you can join up HERE
  • To access our website click HERE
  • If you would like a free copy of our “Annual Tracker” or our e-book “66 Days to Sobriety” please email janet@nulltribesober.com
  • If you would like to come to our Saturday afternoon Zoom Cafe as a guest and meet our community just email janet@nulltribesober.com

Episode Sponsor

This episode is sponsored by the Tribe Sober Membership Program.  If you want to change your relationship with alcohol then sign up today.

Read more about our program and subscribe HERE. Book a Discovery Call with me to find out if our membership would help you


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Till Next Week

Janet x

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The 11 Year Fact

Did you know that the average dependent drinker will struggle alone for 11 years before reaching out for help?

Don’t wait for 11 years – join Tribe Sober today!