Addiction Therapy with YOGA

Drug addict left physically and mentally broken by 20 years of heroin abuse turns life around with YOGA

It gave me an inner confidence. I want people to know that you can recover from long-term drug abuse and yoga can be beneficial in recovery. It has done so much for me.
— Terence Teven
Terence Teven with yoga techer Lou Prendergast (Photo: Garry F McHarg/Daily Record)

Terence Teven with yoga techer Lou Prendergast (Photo: Garry F McHarg/Daily Record)

A drug addict left physically and mentally broken by 20 years of heroin abuse has told how he turned his life around with YOGA.

Terence Teven's illness saw him lose his health, confidence and dignity.

But he kicked his drug abuse 18 months ago and has since turned his life around with the help of a special kind of yoga loved by sports stars and celebrities around the world.

Terence, 55, from Stirling, took up Bikram yoga on the suggestion of instructor Lou Prendergast, who found it helped her to recover from a life-threatening illness, the Daily Record reports . 

He said: “I would never have considered yoga but I would have tried anything to help my recovery. I am so glad I did it.”

Terence had been clean for a couple of months and was depressed, with heroin leaving him physically and mentally wrecked.

He had lost everything and for a while he was homeless on the streets.

He said: “Heroin had virtually destroyed my life. I was completely broken. I could barely walk, I ate very little and my self-esteem had gone. I was ashamed and destitute.”

Terence gave up the drug with help from Narcotics Anonymous, and the Salvation Army and Bikram yoga became his new passion.

He said: “When I first went to the class, my head was down and I couldn’t even make eye contact but then I stood up straight for the first time in years.

(Photo: Garry F McHarg/Daily Record)

(Photo: Garry F McHarg/Daily Record)


Terence met Lou his yoga teacher: ....

Lou is a mum of two and a grandmother of three. Seven years of practising Bikram yoga may be why she looks so youthful at 50.

She only became a teacher after suffering serious illness. Lou has lupus, an autoimmune condition, which sees the immune system attack and inflame healthy cells, tissue and organs.

Without treatment, she can suffer painful inflammation and swelling in her joints.

The condition became near fatal two years ago when it attacked Lou’s kidneys, preventing them from filtering her blood properly and causing a clot on her lung.

Over a period of weeks, her ankles became swollen, her breathing was laboured and her face puffed up.

She had dismissed the symptoms as typical lupus until one night she became so breathless that she was admitted to Glasgow’s Western Infirmary.

She credits the renal unit with saving her life but believes yoga was also instrumental in her recovery.

On her release from hospital, her ankles were still swollen but instead of taking water tablets, she sweated the excess fluid out with Bikram yoga.

She said: “I didn’t overdo it. I took it at my own pace but every day I watched my ankles going down.

“I am the living proof that it is possible to push yourself and to achieve great things through this practice, even with a chronic illness.”

After hospital, she also went on a meditation retreat to help her gain some perspective after the shock of almost losing her life.

Lou said: “If I had just been sitting in the house, taking medication and feeling lonely, that would have been hard.

“When I was younger I was a party animal. I had my kids early and so any time I had a break, I was off for a party.

“It was fun but what happens when the party is over? I think my life was a bit superficial. Yoga and meditation brought me some clarity and helped me to get to know myself better.

“I decided that if people weren’t treating me properly, there wasn’t room for them in my life but I also realised that I had been judgmental and critical at times and I needed to be more tolerant.”

Only eight months after she almost died, she went to Thailand for a gruelling nine-week course – with 11 classes a week – to qualify as a Bikram yoga instructor.

She had her blood tested at a private clinic and the results were sent back to Glasgow so doctors could monitor her.

Lou has now opened The Body Mind Studio in the west end of Glasgow.


She said: “For me, teaching yoga is not about what you can do with your arms and legs, it’s about what’s in your heart. Mine is not the perfect practice with the deepest expression of all the postures.

“I’m the teacher who is an example of the therapeutic benefits of Bikram yoga, empathising with the less-than-perfect, those with medical issues, older students, those feeling depressed or lacking self-confidence.

“There is nothing more rewarding than seeing students progress in their practice.

“You can go to the gym and work your muscles out but yoga does something more than that. It puts you in balance with yourself.

“It encourages tolerance and empathy. It has been working for thousands of years so there must be something in it.”

She watches students grow in confidence and Terence is certainly a success story.

Lou said: “The change in him was remarkable. He was someone who was closed, shutting everyone out, then his eyes began to open, his skin got better, his posture improved and his personality returned.”

And she relishes teaching people who need a helping hand to improve their lives.

She said: “In western society, we tend to reach only for medication and that leaves out a whole part of our welfare.

“There are people sitting in the house on antidepressants or recreational drugs because they are unhappy and many of them could be helped by yoga.