Thursday, March 12, 2009

Fighting Addiction With Varzesh Bastani

I came across this video on YouTube about a program in Tehran that uses Varzesh Bastani as a way to rehabilitate drug users. The man who is speaking in the clip, Reza Rezai, wears a t-shirt that reads "Always Exercise, Never Become An Addict" and mentions briefly that Varzesh Bastani is not only a physical exercise but a conditioning of the spirit. Mr. Rezai also goes on to speak about family and upbringing in staying away from drugs but I want to focus on his previous statement.

Just as drug addiction is a physical illness, it is also a spiritual deficiency that needs to be replenished. Varzesh Bastani, or "the exercise of heroes" has a strong theme of spiritual unity that can be derived from the multitude of rhythms and vocals performed by the "morshed." Just as the trainer transitions from each physical exercise he is driven and inspired by the morshed's lyrics and rhythm.

In my limited experience with those who abuse drugs, their initial problem which leads them to drug use is generally a feeling of having no purpose and a spiritual void. Both physical and spiritual exercise can have a profound effect on those who abuse drugs or who are at risk. I'm unsure if this program is still active in Iran but I hope it is still alive and well.


Bonnie O. said...

The drums are so loud in the background

Scott G said...

Hajji Jafar said...

Notice the carpeted area for charkh zadan.