Dr. Gabor Maté And Tommy Rosen Stretch Their Spirits While Exploring Addiction In Hollywood

By John Lavitt 02/12/16

The Fix's John Lavitt reports on the all-day event featuring Dr. Gabor Maté and Recovery 2.0 founder Tommy Rosen.

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Dr. Gabor Maté And Tommy Rosen Stretch Their Spirits While Exploring Addiction In Hollywood
Tommy Rosen with Aykanna, the duo of Akahdahmah & Sukhdev Photo: John Lavitt

On February 11, 2016, Dr. Gabor Maté, Tommy Rosen and Jamison Monroe led an experiential yoga event and spiritual investigation at Wanderlust Hollywood. Entitled “Healing Addiction: The Nexus of Science and Spirit,” the event was located at the former home of Golden Bridge Yoga. Informed by Tommy’s Kundalini-inspired yoga of relaxation and Maté’s investigations into the roots of childhood trauma behind the veil of addiction, I attended the all-day event with my wife Matianna Baldassari, a Kundalini yoga instructor certified by Gurmukh at this very Golden Bridge location.

After an introduction by Jamison Monroe, the founder of The Newport Academy, Tommy Rosen took the stage with Aykanna, the dynamical musical duo of Sukhdev and Akahdahmah, well known for their celebratory offerings of sacred music and Kundalini Yoga. As the founder of Recovery 2.0, Tommy Rosen is a recovering addict and yoga teacher who has spent the last two decades immersed in recovery and wellness. Tuning in with the receptive crowd of 200 enthusiasts, you could feel the energy. 

Tommy began by having everyone sit in silence for 60 seconds. Despite horns in the parking lot from frustrated late arrivals, a peace spread across the room. Promoting an ethic of “healing from addiction and thriving in your life,” Tommy led a Kriya; an interactive session where the group practiced yoga postures in unison. 

Tommy Rosen leads a Kriya at Wanderlust Hollywood  Photo: John Lavitt

During the Kriya, when Tommy initiated an anger exercise to help people release the stress stuck within, I watch my wife doing it, and I hope she’s doing it well. For my sake, that is. Watching the compassionate vibrations and soft music of the yogic experience, my own vulnerabilities are revealed as the line between journalist and human being are crossed. 

Later, when Dr. Gabor Maté takes the stage, he talks about his own resistance to yogic practice. In the past, he has never done yoga, but today he found himself being drawn to some of the exercises during the Kriya. Dr. Maté ponders:

“Why am I excluding thousands of years of yogic practice from my life? I don’t want to be excluded. I don’t want to limit myself. The problem comes from the ego. Who I think I am is a limited, insufficient person who excludes himself because he’s afraid, dissatisfied. Those thoughts continue to come because the ego just doesn’t quit. Even if I am able to smile today when those thoughts arise, they still come. This happens for almost all of us… Bad things that happen to you are not the essence of trauma. Trauma is the disconnect that happens from yourself as a result of those experiences. Reacting to the external event, the trauma happens inside of you. When working on this, I really encourage you to be so compassionate with yourself.”

The assembled crowd is captivated by the quiet charisma of Dr. Maté’s presentation. Many profound traumatic events are revealed during the extended Q & A section. In the end, the combination of Tommy Rosen’s Kriya and Dr. Gabor Maté's insight into the traumatic roots of addiction give the day a lasting impact.

Dr. Gabor Maté  Photo: John Lavitt

After the event, when asked what she felt was most meaningful, Matianna Baldassari said, “Returning to the former home of Golden Bridge, my spiritual fountain for many years, I re-experienced the value of yoga as a technique of relaxation and connection. I saw from both Tommy and Gabor how their methods could help people process the trauma behind their addictions.” As the writer in the family, I could not have said it any better.

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Growing up in Manhattan as a stutterer, John Lavitt discovered that writing was the best way to express himself when the words would not come. After graduating with honors from Brown University, he lived on the Greek island of Patmos, studying with his mentor, the late American poet Robert Lax. As a writer, John’s published work includes three articles in Chicken Soup For The Soul volumes and poems in multiple poetry journals and compilations. Active in recovery, John has been the Treatment Professional News Editor for The Fix. Since 2015, he has published over 500 articles on the addiction and recovery news website. Today, he lives in Los Angeles with his beautiful wife, trying his best to be happy and creative. Find John on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.