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Author of "Yoga and the Twelve Step Path", I have been a yoga teacher for several years. My primary focus is on classes designed for people recovering from addictions. I take my classes to recovery homes, halfway houses,detention centers and jails. I also lead Y12SR groups in San Jose and Campbell, CA. I am a certified Yoga of Recovery Counselor. I have designed a certification course for yoga teachers titled S.O.A.R. - Success Over Addictions and Relapse which I co-lead with Kent Bond.

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Meditation and Intentions

For a period of 10 days I had been using a guided meditation to refresh my morning practice. I discovered an useful intention-setting meditation; "Listening to Your Inner Voice" by Lori Leyden.  I was surprised; it truly has had an impact on my days.


I try guided meditations from time to time; and while I benefit from all moments in meditation some experiences linger. This practice has been one of those. I have been struggling with a challenge and the guidance provided here, along with my desire to face my barriers and boundaries, is the perfect union with my practice right now. Sitting quietly, becoming conscious of my safety, my willingness to grow and feel differently than I do now (practicing satya and aparigraha) and allowing, without constraint or control, to let the truth unfold slowly, I found my intention. I did not come to the cushion with a specific intention in mind. I came to the cushion with an openness to the possibilities; the possibility of change.

This is what the journey into a sober life has been for me. I did have an intention at first - to STOP IT! I wasn't sure what IT was; I did know that it would entail putting down the drink and drugs, but I had no idea what would come next. I just showed up. I found safety in the rooms, I became honest, and I became willing. I learned to let go: to let go of who I was and let go of what I thought was "going to happen".  And my life got better; the future opened up and while all situations have not been rosy - they have led to rosy moments and a life I could never have imagined.

So - being open to the intention discovered in this meditation was kind of like being a new comer to my life. I have jerks and pauses, and then cruise along with the smooth deep breath of moments that allow my days to be beautiful.

If you are interested try it! I am posting it here for your listening pleasure!

Kyczy Hawk E-RYT200, RTY500 is the author of "Yoga and the Twelve Step Path", a leader of Y12SR classes, and the creator of SOAR(tm) (Success Over Addiction and Relapse) a certification training now available in an ONLINE study course.  Go to the website, scroll to the end of the page and sign up now http://www.yogarecovery.com/SOAR__tm__Cert_all.html

You may also take her ONLINE recovery infused yoga classes 
http://yogarecovery.studiolivetv.com/MemberRegistrationYR.aspx

Friday, August 29, 2014

Being Public Invites Ego - The Gratitude Challenge

I am in the middle of an online "Gratitude Challenge".  This is a form of public declaration of gratitude for which you are named by someone having just completed the process. You then pick up the challenge, complete it yourself but posting three things a day for a number of days and at the end nominate three more people.  They then continue with the process.

At first I kind of liked the idea of all these positive statements being put out on the internet; a cosmic positive list per day to offset the negativity that can crop up. The first time I participated it was fun. I was light hearted and excited about it. I read other's and they were the same. Then things got serious;  post were more "profound" and "heavy".  I, of course, followed suit.

The subsequent "nominations" were not as fun; in fact I was aware of this shift in my sense of gratitude and what I wanted to put out there.  I, too, wanted my gratefulness to have weight and substance, to reflect the deep sense of thankfulness I have for my BEing.  But stating it in public overwhelmed me.

I am a gratitude professional. I am grateful throughout the day. I drop something; I am grateful it didn't break, or that I caught it.  I loose my way driving somewhere and I am grateful for the yards and gardens I get to see that I would otherwise have missed.  I check the wrong book out of the library and I am happy for the opportunity to read something the universe had picked for me. And so on.

But what I feel compelled to post ONLINE has morphed into something different.  Like putting on my best clothes for a special visit, I want to pick out the best and most "public worthy" (whatever that is) aspects of my life to place in public for my practice.

Yes, once again my ego has intervened to make a right mess of a simple process.  Just write down three things.  BUT people are going to read them, and probably judge me, and think about how shallow I am if there are things like finding your phone under the car seat, or remembering to pick up a friend's item from the lost and found at the yoga studio. The public statements of gratitude must be PROFOUND.

As this challenge has become the ALS IceBucket of internet postings, reading the lists of others is also having less of an impact. I used to read each one with relish, they ALL started out simple, silly, fun and light.  But after the subjects of recovery, family, and friends have been exhausted those posts, too, often became heavy, esoteric.  Not YOURS but some :-).

I would feel churlish if I didn't follow the challenge, but I am enjoying it less.  But now, having investigated the impact of my ego on the process, I think I will come off my high horse and be less fancy.

So, next time you read my gratitude posts, know that I will be more honest, more realistic and less vast. You have been warned!

Kyczy Hawk E-RYT200, RTY500 is the author of "Yoga and the Twelve Step Path", a leader of Y12SR classes, and the creator of SOAR(tm) (Success Over Addiction and Relapse) a teacher certification training now available in an ONLINE study course.  Go to the website, scroll to the end of the page and sign up now http://www.yogarecovery.com/SOAR__tm__Cert_all.html

You may also take her ONLINE recovery infused yoga classes 
http://yogarecovery.studiolivetv.com/MemberRegistrationYR.aspx

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

"Not Waving but Drowning"



In the wake of yet another death due to the pain of life - Robin Williams leaving this earth- I posted a poem that seems to have struck a chord with many.  Here it is in full:

Not Waving but Drowning

BY STEVIE SMITH 1902 - 1971
Nobody heard him, the dead man,   
But still he lay moaning:
I was much further out than you thought   
And not waving but drowning.

Poor chap, he always loved larking
And now he’s dead
It must have been too cold for him his heart gave way,   
They said.

Oh, no no no, it was too cold always   
(Still the dead one lay moaning)   
I was much too far out all my life   
And not waving but drowning.

Some of the responses to the FB post were:
"WOW. "Not waving but drowning ". When you get too famous and too big - other people are afraid to come close, people seem to think you don't need much help and they stay away when you need them the most. Sad but true --"  SP

"That poem is exactly what it feel like to someone suffering through severe depression. As one who suffers with illness into a decade; One minute your on the beach waving, and the next minute you are out to sea. When you're out to sea you have to pray their is someone on shore looking for you...in many cases it's easier to just let our depressed friends lapse from our memory..."  SS

"So sad he was out so far beyond help. Such a loss." MBD


Depression coupled with addiction, or addiction as a response to depression is toxic, sad, and can be fatal.  Reach out, get help, find help, be helpful, ask for help.  Make it CLEAR you are not waving.  If you are unsure about someone else ask, wait a moment and ask again.  

We all say we are FINE as a knee jerk reaction to the question "how are you?".  Maybe we need to ask twice.  As SP says, sometimes the more famous, or the more competent or the more collected one appears, the more difficult it is to ask for help. 
 

You can call and ask HOW YOU can be of help if you are unsureDefinitely call if you need help.  Another person's voice and listening ear may be all you need.  

Kyczy Hawk E-RYT200, RTY500 is the author of "Yoga and the Twelve Step Path", a leader of Y12SR classes, and the creator of SOAR(tm) (Success Over Addiction and Relapse) a teacher certification training now available in an ONLINE study course.  Scroll to the end of the page and sign up now http://www.yogarecovery.com/SOAR__tm__Cert_all.html

You may also take her ONLINE recovery infused yoga classes 
http://yogarecovery.studiolivetv.com/MemberRegistrationYR.aspx

Monday, August 11, 2014

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors - AlAnon and Yoga



I remember that quote; "good fences make good neighbors",  from Robert Frost's poem "Mending Wall" since reading that poem in school.   As a regular part of the curriculum we were asked to read and analyze it and I did my best.

This poem is complex and deep (as are all his works) and yet I never really understood this one beyond its surface when first presented with it in school. Young and literal, without much self knowledge or life experience, I had no idea why the teacher was so excited about this poem.  Wall, no wall, whats the difference? It is a low stone wall, a mere sketch of separation.  It falls down easily in hard weather and is maintained in its precarious state in the spring.  My understanding had no depth; I had life experiences but no perspective or context.  I did my anemic best.

As I ponder the line several decades later I now wonder about it as Frost did; "what are we walling in or walling out".  There is nothing observable - like cows to restrain- and yet we repair the wall. The wall is real, the wall is symbolic, the wall is emotional, the wall is social.  Sometimes you, and sometime me - maintain it to keep a semblance of wall between us. 

The wall can define and it can also protect.  Understanding the difference is crucial to know what the wall IS.  When considering "to whom I was like to give offense" one must INCLUDE ONESELF in the equation.

Trimming shrubbery in the yard the other day, coming up close to the neighbor's yard the line popped into my head.  This fence used to be a low iron railing and the elderly neighbor and I would chat.  She passed away, the house was sold and a new fence was built.  It is now a tall 'privacy fence" and I no longer know my neighbor.  I muse on that.

I also muse on boundaries and how I need them in relationships, in defining what is my business and what is not.  Having a clear sense of self, honoring and maintaining the actions associated with being a separate human being is important. It also teeters in confusion when I think about being part of the universal whole.  Being part of the universal whole, however, does not mean that your business is mine, what is yours in mine, that my choices are yours. 

The wall does not have to be large or wide or in complete repair. There is a healthy sense of self that is important to acknowledge and a healthy sense of YOU that needs to be acknowledged;  the wall is reassuring, the wall is a reminder.  That, even though "something there is that doesn't like a wall"; we and our neighbors maintain it together "and on a day we meet to walk the line" setting it up mutually once again.

My mat, your mat, my practice, your practice, my side of the street, yours, the manifestation of my ethics and your practice of yours;  all are separate.  Impact is mutual; expression is unique.

If I know where you stand and you know where I stand is it not more comforting? When my edges are blurred and meld with yours, move with yours, become dependent upon yours, the fences down, confusion and unhealthy interrelations can occur.

The wall is necessary until its purpose is understood. Once understood it can be considered to be useful or not useful.  Its use must first be known.  Then a choice can be made - to keep it in repair or to let it crumble away.

Read the poem and see what you think about it: http://www.poets.org/poetsorg/poem/mending-wall


Kyczy Hawk E-RYT200, RTY500 is the author of "Yoga and the Twelve Step Path", a leader of Y12SR classes, and the creator of SOAR(tm) (Success Over Addiction and Relapse) a teacher certification training now available in an ONLINE study course.  Scroll to the end of the page and sign up now http://www.yogarecovery.com/SOAR__tm__Cert_all.html

You may also take her ONLINE recovery infused yoga classes 
http://yogarecovery.studiolivetv.com/MemberRegistrationYR.aspx





Monday, July 28, 2014

Non-harming, Awareness and Compassion

The first part of the Raja Yoga 8 limbs are the Yamas.  The Yamas are “restraints”  - five actions that, when avoided, will bring you closer to your true self. Compassionate change starts here.

The five Yamas are: non violence, non-lying, non- stealing,  non- excess and non-possessiveness.  Like the 12 Steps of recovery,  the restraints, along with other rungs on the yoga path, can become part of the principles you practice every day to improve your relations with yourself and with others.  The  Yamas are practiced in thought, word and deed – so there are subtle aspects that can be investigated  when incorporating them into your life.


The first Yama, “Non-Violence” sounds pretty straight forward. The beginning can be.

As an addict (alcohol, gambling, consuming, or other) stepping away from the "object of our [over-]affection" is non-violence to ourselves and others. In abstinence we are practicing non violence.  We "cease fighting everyone and everything". We cease harming ourselves, the ones we love, our pocket book, our sanity, our safety, nor our health through the use of or attachment to our form of addiction. However we may still have character defects that are still causing harm.


Next, using the steps, we can find more subtle characteristics in ourselves that had become harmful – anger, distrust, impatience, perfectionism, resentment or being judgmental.   These aspects of ourselves can influence unwise or harmful speech even if there is no actual harmful physical action.  It is part of our journey to uncover and identify these harmful character traits.  They influence our actions and our words. Mentors and our higher power / universal spirit and the strength of looking at ourselves honestly can unearth how we un-intentionally harm others with these traits. Mentors and our higher power / universal spirit can help us move through them to the other side.

Then comes thought – the privacy of our own minds that can  torture us and tear down semblances of self esteem that we might have developed in our past.  One of the addict’s most prevalent character traits, a lack of esteem, is a form of self punishment and harm that has no purpose in a recovering life. So even in our thoughts we must learn to be kind,  to think, as well as act, with forbearance and compassion. 

This non harming can have a foundation in language – the words we use when mentally referring to ourselves.  When making a mistake no longer can we refer to ourselves as “stupid” or a “total *–up”.  Phrases like “good  try” or “better luck next time” would be far more helpful.  We may still have little kid brains – treat yourself as you would a favorite niece or nephew, as beloved child  - with words of encouragement and kindness. 

Why not?  If nothing else it could amuse you.  And there would be no harm done.

So – for today – try non-harming. In thought, word and deed, work on your character in this loving way.  Just  for today.

Kyczy Hawk E-RYT200, RTY500 is the author of "Yoga and the Twelve Step Path", a leader of Y12SR classes, and the creator of SOAR(tm) (Success Over Addiction and Relapse) a teacher certification training. 

Follow her ONLINE recovery infused yoga classes 
http://yogarecovery.studiolivetv.com/MemberRegistrationYR.aspx

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Staying On My Own Mat


Some of my difficulties over the past week or so have come from an internal shift and change in focus.  This movement caused me to feel out of balance. Lack of internal balance is a dangerous condition for many; change can be a topple-er!







How does being out of balance show up? Distrust, depression, dis-ease, disassociation, despair.  I am off my internal game and out of synch with life. I don't trust how I feel or what I sense around me.  My confusion turns to anger and the anger turns inward and I feel depressed.  I am not at ease anywhere or with anything.  There is no solution, no resolution, no peace.  I am separate from everyone- my heart and mind wrapped in cotton wool; nothing gets in.  I ultimately feel as if nothing will change- I will just have to learn to be like this always: this won't change.  I will have to learn to live with no connection to self, others or my spiritual links.




What is going on with an "internal shift"? Something has moved.  It can be a change in life direction, focus, passion, desire or a softening of any of these.   What seems to have happened is that my insides have changed. I cannot CHANGE them myself.  It happens when I look way, stop trying, cease effort.  Once I adapt to the new reality I don't stay down and disconnected.  I find I am on my way out. One day, again, I have become sick and tired of feeling sick and tired.  I let go and - there I am - moving again- toward ACCEPTANCE.



What does staying on my own mat have to do with anything?  Sadly, I have discovered that I look onto other's mats.  I have found that it is when I look at other people, on their mat or in their lives,  I begin to feel unmoored.  I look, I yearn, I compare and I envy.  I become out of balance with my own existence.  Whether it is a pose, strength or flexibility on the mat or off, whether it is life achievement or "success" - one the comparisons start the dissatisfactions grown.  And, for some reason, I am always on the short end in my mind; not graceful enough in my asana, not accomplished enough in my profession, not giving enough in my community and on and on and on.

Staying on my own mat, living MY LIFE personally completely and with love and compassion brings me to the present the right size of my own life and back in synch with my own true nature.  Back in BaLaNcE.



Kyczy Hawk E-RYT200, RTY500 is the author of "Yoga and the Twelve Step Path", a leader of Y12SR classes, and the creator of SOAR(tm) (Success Over Addiction and Relapse) a teacher certification training. 
Follow her ONLINE recovery infused yoga classes 
http://yogarecovery.studiolivetv.com/MemberRegistrationYR.aspx

Monday, July 7, 2014

SOMETHING ELSE, Not This, Not Now



Today is supremely painful.  My soul hurts.  One of those days when nothing seems right; or if it does, not for very long. My regular pattern is off.Dreams lingered without message; the beginning of the day felt awkward.  My yoga practice was OK- but did not transport me as it so often can.  The discipline of meditation was just that - the discipline.  Routine that usually reassures was work, not framework.
I hurt.  


I reached out to find comfort; checking on line for what my peeps are doing in the field of yoga and recovery. This normally lifts me up.   My heart hurts so much today that all I see is an example of what I am NOT doing.  My ego fills my eyes.

I am watching myself be in pain, in discomfort, out of balance.  I say to myself - "this is me brushing my hair from my face." I am not in my body.  I am DIS-INTEGRATING.  This is not good for me.  I yearn to be whole again.

I send in the "second arrow".   I think to myself "I SHOULDN'T FEEL LIKE THIS."  Deny the feelings;  not recommended but the instinct for survival.  Hold me!  Hold me UP!  That is what I feel like shouting.



What I do, what I do with my time and energy, how I want to be in the world seems insufficient.  I want to be something else, do something else, FEEL SOMETHING ELSE. But not this, not that, not that now.

I turn on the radio, the station bothers me. I try another. That is wrong, too.  Turn it off.  Pick up a book, no good.  Reach for another. Same thing.  No food fills.  No song thrills.    If everything seems wrong I know it is me.  Even knowing that is no help.


I am usually so strong, the one who holds compassionate space: giving permission to the true feelings of the moment. But NOT NOW! Now I need the support, and I don't know how to ask so that people will hear me.
Depression could lead to emotional relapse. You often don't see depression coming. It woke up with me today.  No why. No where for. Nothing happened.  It comes out of the blue - making me blue.  My vision is skewed. Joy for others appears as sorrow for self. The poison of toxic thinking. I am not imune.  

One foot in front of the other. This too shall pass.  Reach out to others.  Write. Cry.  Then get to a meeting. Even if it is "lousy" one.  I whisper to myself "be where you are".



I might be listening.

Kyczy Hawk E-RYT200, RTY500 is the author of "Yoga and the Twelve Step Path", a leader of Y12SR classes, and the creator of SOAR(tm) (Success Over Addiction and Relapse) a teacher certification training. 
Follow her ONLINE recovery infused yoga classes 
http://yogarecovery.studiolivetv.com/MemberRegistrationYR.aspx