Neil Scott Interviews: Ethan Hedayat

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Ethan Hedayat In 2016, Neil Scott, the producer and host of RECOVERY – Coast to Coast visited our beautiful campus and interviewed some of our team members along with care partners and alumnae. His radio show is a two hour nightly national radio talk show dealing exclusively with addiction, with a focus on recovery. In addition, he has been a keynote speaker at numerous national, state and local events and has lectured at America’s leading schools of alcohol and drug studies, including Rutgers University. We are grateful we had the opportunity to get to know him and share all the wonderful life-changing work that we are doing at New Directions for Women. In this segment, he is interviewing, Ethan Hedayat, our Yoga Instructor and Care Partner at New Directions.

Neil Scott:

Joining us in this segment is Ethan Hedayat who is a yoga instructor and personal trainer. What has your role been here in the treatment process, Ethan?

Ethan Hedayat:

It’s a situation that has grown over a decade. I fell in with New Directions working at the YMCA. Being in recovery myself, it was a very important element to recovery to me. I had tried getting it together several times. When I paired the 12 steps with fitness, it was the magic equation.

Neil Scott:

Did you go through treatment? Obviously, you didn’t go through New Directions for Women.

Ethan Hedayat:

This was a lifetime ago for me but I did the whole run, treatment, jail, and just trying to figure things out a long time. I did one of those things where I had gone through rehab and I had gone through a type of a treatment center. Nothing worked. What worked was me deciding I wanted to change my life. It was a moment I had at home.

Neil Scott:

A moment of clarity.

Ethan Hedayat:

Yeah. I had, fortunately, the space to run with that. It wasn’t inhibited by external forces so it allowed me to do that. When I look at my sobriety, I look at it like something shifted in me in my 30s. I really don’t have that proverbial 12 step recovery date. I just stumbled and fell for many years. I just got up in my mid-30s and started walking the right path.

Neil Scott:

Exercise played a big role in your recovery.

Ethan Hedayat:

A massive role, not a little part, a massive role.

Neil Scott:

I get my exercise jumping to conclusions and running amok but I digress.

Ethan Hedayat:

More or less, my avenue or my understanding of fitness comes from mostly Eastern philosophy. I fell into martial arts when I was a kid. It was just the right time, the right place, getting picked on and blah, blah, blah. I stayed with that as I got older. Now that’s pretty much what I do full time. The yoga that I teach comes from a certain martial arts that I do. I have a school down the street where we teach all these different things.

In regard to recovery, the physical body and the energetical body and the mind all play different roles. When you start to work on your mind and your spirit, if you leave your body out of the equation, which is the physical house in this realm, meaning the planet that we’re on that houses these things, if you were to get rid of the body you would not have these two elements, it’s a huge part of that. If you leave that part out, it makes it much more difficult as well as makes it much easier in my view when you re-contact those things.

When your physical body and your mind start coming back together, it really helps to realign things. It really helps to remind your subconscious and your spirit and your emotions, what the actions of the uncontended with damage that you’re dealing with is also doing to your physical body. If you don’t contend with both of them, you’re only getting half of the equation. That’s just my observation.

Neil Scott:

There really is a synergy between exercise and physical endurance and meditation and all of that. I’m a daily runner. I haven’t missed a day running. It will be 12 years in a couple months. That where it comes together for me. A hard run and my emotions, my spirit, everything seems to gel.

Ethan Hedayat:

A hard run is meditation. It’s active meditation, absolutely. That’s taking that part of our reality out of the equation for a moment to let that other energy do its thing.

Neil Scott:

I digress. In working with the women here, Ethan – Ethan Hedayat is joining us, if you’ve just joined us. He’s joining us as well, a yoga instructor and personal trainer down here at New Directions for Women. These women come in, many of them so hurt, so broken. Are they in condition to do yoga? If they haven’t done yoga before, how difficult is it to introduce that?

Ethan Hedayat:

Even though you could title me as a yoga instructor and personal trainer, that’s really not what I am. What I am here is a health educator. The yoga that I do is peeled back to the healing elements of what yoga is, which is a physical preparation for meditation. It’s not about standing on your head for two hours.

Neil Scott:

I had it all wrong.

Ethan Hedayat:

Yes. All yoga was designed initially for is physically preparing the body, which you can do to open up energetical zones in your system, to help optimize meditation, again, going back to that connection of the mind, body, and spirit. That saying has been around for a long time and I sure as hell didn’t make it up.

Neil Scott:

I was told you did.

Ethan: I would like to say I coined that phrase. When you go back to that, what I do in yoga is try to get them to move basically and try to reintroduce their body to their body and to their mind. Keep in mind we have girls that vary in so many facets of not just age but ability and damage that over the course of their life has happened from drugs, life, and what have you, accidents. So, it’s a very mixed box. I think one of the reasons that I have been successful here is because I facilitate a pretty mixed box to the girls. I don’t group them all and say here’s what we’re going to do. I can individualize and morph as we go and offer different suggestions for different issues that people have.

It’s the same with the physical part, training and more guiding. For me, like I said, for the short time that I am with the girls, my goal is to get them to move so they can start to detox their system and in that reintroduce themselves to themselves.

Neil Scott:

Ethan Hedayat joining us tonight. He informed me he is a health educator. So, we will refer to him as a health educator. Hey, what the health, right?

Ethan Hedayat:

Yeah, seriously, because with health you have food and you have thought and you have what you’re breathing.

Neil Scott:

Which leads me to my next question, what is the role of nutrition in all of this, Ethan?

Ethan Hedayat:

It’s massive. My partner, who happens to be my wife, who happens to be a nutritionist –

Neil Scott:

Things happen.

Ethan Hedayat:

its insane how much food has to do with – it’s insane but it’s pretty easy when you look at it. It’s pretty black and white. If you put something in your body, it’s in your body. It’s going to have an effect on it. It’s just like a car, just like a tree, just like anything, some things are made for it and some things aren’t. So, you put the right thing in your body, it’s going to be happy. You put the wrong thing; it’s going to have effects to it.

Neil Scott:

High test gasoline versus the cheap stuff.

Ethan Hedayat:

It’s going to have an effect. I think people lose sight of that, not because they want to but that’s the way society is designed. You’re doing anybody a favor by reeducating them – I’m doing quotes – on the elements of health, being physical and food. That’s why I said more like that because as I will give them exercises to do I will also make them stretch. I’ll also let them not smoke. I will also talk to them about food and types of food. That’s an element. Even so far as we have conversation about positive thought.

Neil Scott:

It really is a holistic approach.

Ethan Hedayat:

It has to be. It’s the only thing that really, at the end of the day, is going to work.

Neil Scott:

Thank you so much for joining us tonight, Ethan. I appreciate your time.

Ethan Hedayat:

Absolutely.

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