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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, April 13, 2014

The Hubris of Control

It was probably something someone said.. or it was my own thoughts bouncing around - but I started thinking about my desire to control (people, places, things, outcomes - you name it.)  I usually talk myself away from that cliff; I have been "in the rooms" for a while now and I know that down that way madness lies.

I understand the illusory nature of control - really- there is no way to CONTROL another person; you can limit their choices or make consequences that are uncomfortable to urge people in a certain direction. But the decisions essentially remains their own.  

Outcomes can be for a whole range of behaviors, such as: "If you come home after curfew I will take your phone / car keys / privileges"  and the like. You haven't "controlled" your child - you have placed specific outcomes as the result of actions taken or not taken.  Your employer has "controlling" limits of timeliness, job completion, condition on the job and so on. You don't comply you loose your job and so on. These are straightforward and clear.

The messy desires to control come in subtle forms in thoughts and behavior as well as in my own responses to others.  I want someone to like me.  I want my job but I want others AT my job to be different.  I want to let my adult children be adult and independent but I want them to BE a certain way - or DO a certain thing. I want I want I want.  This takes up space between my ears and and does nothing for our relationship or the outcomes I WANT.

Where does the fullness of "HUBRIS" come in?  It comes in at the point where I don't see beyond my wants.

I lack the words and images express what I feel now in my mind.  The 3d image explains how I perceive HUBRIS now.  The images are three dimensional and I can only explain 2D.  Dominoes.   Lets say I take over from my Higher Power, the universal spirit, and GET WHAT I WANT.  I only see ME and the NEXT domino.  What I DON"T SEE are all the dominoes that come after that; their life journey, their ability to learn and grow from their experiences.  I don't see the people and situation impacted by THEIR behavior and choices and so on.  If I were to control the tipping of the next domino I will have affected ones after and after and after - and all of the subsequent domino paths and so on.  I have in essence "taken responsibility" for so much more that I cannot know and cannot see.  World Record Dominoes 2013

Have I really taken responsibility for so much more, that I cannot know and cannot see?  NO!  Because I am NOT in control; the battle is an illusion in my mind.  After a certain age we are able to make choices. WE really make choices about what we have before us and acceptance is a huge step to freedom.  And it is in understanding that I don't control and am not controlled that I can really find freedom.

HUGE NOTE: I am powerless over my addictive substances and behaviors.  I have no control over what they do to me when I act and use- SO I have accepted the consequences of Jail, Institutions or Death and CHOOSE NOT TO USE because I see that clearly.

 No illusion there, one day at a time.

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 she holds with her good friend Kent Bond RYT500. Follow her ONLINE recovery infused yoga classes http://yogarecovery.studiolivetv.com/MemberRegistrationYR.aspx

Find out more about her, her classes and the training at www.yogarecovery.com

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Vanity, Humility and Just Getting Over It

Ok -I admit it.  I have feelings of vanity.  I struggle with letting go of the image of my physical self.  I say this not to get the response of "you have nothing to worry about", "you look GREAT for your age" or any other response of re-assurance. I say this as an observation: something I noticed when I was invited to start a new project: recording recovery yoga classes for online, on demand availability.

I was worried about how I would look, how I would sound, the limitations of my practice and on and on.  I also turned that into stage fright- what if I froze?  What if I forget what I am doing? What if I am no good?

THEN I flip into humility.  Actually not humility but useless UNDERsizing of my self.  By that I mean that I feel too small, too insignificant, not as accomplished as those people I admire - like Nikki Myers and Rolf Gates and Tommy Rosen and B.K. Bose; the pantheon of amazing yoga personalities and service workers.
"Who am I to do this?" is a limiting belief, but I felt it.  This kind of thinking, like vanity, is ALL ABOUT ME and totally useless when it comes to creating an offering for others.

SO WHAT HAPPENED?  I made it!  I found that sweet space between fearing MYSELF and FEELING TOO SMALL.  I moved back to my desire to be of service.  Neither false vanity nor perseverating about myself as being unworthy would fulfill my mission.  In fact - both vanity and false humility bring the focus on ME rather than on the classes - which are all about YOU.

Yes, the classes are here for you- the person in recovery.  To take time to care for yourself, to change the negative samskara (habits) of the mind to positive phrases and recovery oriented concepts.  These are classes to support your recovery and, in turn,  your recovery practices can support your yoga.  Every class is designed to remind you that your are complete as you are, to love yourself as you are and to know that you have space and safety to grow in a healthy way.

 So who was it who set me on this challenging path?  Sharon Pingitore  from Studio Live TV contacted me and assured me I was qualified, that I had something to offer and that you, the students, would enjoy the classes.  SO I DID IT!  I am now recording new classes every week (there are already a dozen waiting for you).  Perhaps workshops and trainings will be next.  Register by clicking below and order a class. At $5 each (among other purchase options) you can check them out.

Sign in below!

I got on my mat.  I overcame my vanity, found humility in the right amount and I just GOT OVER IT.  If you take a class - let me know what you think!
-be well

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 yoga certification training she holds with her good friend Kent Bond RYT500. 

Find out more about her, her classes and the training at www.yogarecovery.com

Monday, March 17, 2014

"Just F*&@%ing Breathe! "

Yes - you read that right.  One week after teaching a yoga class at Elmwood correctional facility I hear "M" advise other women to "Just f*&@%ing breathe!"  There was a frustrating situation going on in the jail.  A change in snack offerings had cause the women to become upset and a lot of negative energy was coursing though the pod.  "M" was the first to arrive at class- about 10 minutes late - and she reported the reason for the delay.  The others were still discussing the snack situation; the situation was verging on lock down.  "M" was able to leave the area and come to class, after hollering at the others: 

"Just F*&@%ing BREATHE".

What an honor - to have the most vital lesson of our weekly Y12SR (Yoga of Twelve Step Recovery) meetings be remembered and applied - at least by one of the women - the breath can offer you choices about your behavior. The breath can give you an option to act in dignity rather than impulsive anger. The breath can help you think things through.
The rest of them filed in not long thereafter and we talked.  We talked about choices, dignity and breathAnd we breathed together and we found peace.
Last Wednesday as I was driving to Mariposa I heard a man on the radio say "We all just have to stop and take a breath."  He was referring to the tar sands and pipelines and our rash decisions in regards to energy.  He knew the (like the woman in Elmwood)  we needed to breathe, step back and think.  Consider the options, the sky and the land - what we are all a part of; not just for the convenience of the present moment but forever.  "Take a breath."
"Sometimes it's ok if the only thing [I do] today is breathe."  For real.  If my conscious thought could stay on my breath it would be a rich thing indeed.  I do have tasks and duties and I have "things" and this and that.  Sometimes it is ok just to breathe and take it all in: IT being the ALL I do the tasks and things FOR - to be on this planet with love and appreciation. And that takes a moment.  Take a moment and breathe.  Now.  In love and appreciation.  Then - off into your perfect day.

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 she holds with her good friend Kent Bond RYT500. 

Find out more about her, her classes and the training at www.yogarecovery.com

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Comparing Myself to Others - Eating appropriately

I love vegetables.  There are times when just standing at the counter with a pile of freshly rinsed vegis and my favorite knife can be bliss. I look at their color, smell the bright splash of scent when I put in the first cut and a bit later I have piles of of chopped bits of this, and slices of that and torn shreds of another item. The colors intrigue me and I feel happy.

 Then the stress arrives.  According to some input based on my constitution and condition: I SHOULD NOT EAT RAW. According to others I should only eat uncooked.  Additional sources scorn fruits while others propose that half of what I eat be leafy greens.  I should Cleanse my body periodically; I should purify and remove the need for cleansing.  I should buy special foods and supplements: I am not treating my body as I should. The input on what "special foods" and "supplements" are varies from year to year, study to study and passionate person to passionate person. (NOTE: the image shows a shapely body, not necessarily a healthy one, but the implication is that heath is slender.  BEWARE.)

The Cost of Getting Special Foods 
I look at the pile on the counter and wonder - where DID this come fromWhat season is it?  If it didn't grow HERE where was it grown? I want affordable food - but what is the REAL cost of my organic out of season fruits and vegetables?  How "special" am I that my all green, close to the sun, raw organically grown affordable food should cost the planet the transportation and other unseen costs to get me my salad in the dead of winter? And I worry about the planet.  And I think about the need to eat with the season.  So then I am back to seasonally, the root vegetables are plentiful. But they are not near the sun and if not organic are the ones that absorb the MOST of the toxins that are used in many farms. YIKES.   

Which rule do I violate to feed this body?  The local farm fresh rule?  The near the sun rule?  The raw rule?  The organic ruleI look to others as I am confused.  Some suggest raw and extracted - NO FIBER???  Others suggest doing a cleanse.  Still others suggest eating as ancient pre- history man did.  My mind swells in frustration.  Back to basics I say. Brahmacharya in this as well; non-greed and non-excess.

(NOTE: you can skip this paragraph if you wish.) 

A part of my concern is what do non-bourgeois, non-middle class, non selfie -ed people do?  The majority of people who cannot buy supplements to augment certain food choices?  Who don't have enough money to rinse and massage with a food - they have to EAT it?  We are so LUCKY to have this problem - where I am concerned about what season to eat from, how to prepare the luxury of my abundant sources of food, that I can have all food groups not just in one day, but in one meal!  And, in fact, if the illusion that eating food in a certain way is the slim hipped, narrow waisted woman in the picture above I am forgetting the primary properties of food which is to nourish and, if I am lucky enough, to be shared as the communion of friendship manifest in a meal. Nothing more, not a source of pride or comparison, not a place to go to harm our sense of self or to sabotage our self care and self esteem.   This worry over food and the best way to prepare it and what to combine and what supplements to use, and on and on are the luxuries of the HAVES.  I worry about the HAVE NOTS.  Who with strong opinions can shop for a family of four in the most healthy way with foodstamps and share this list with those who have such limited and prescribed food income?  Really! It would be a grace and a help to those who really need this help.  (End of rant)

So: what do I do?  Back to the cutting board - I admire my vegetables (from multiple seasons and only one half are organic).  I proceed to preparing dinner. Some of these lovelies are for a delicious salad (yes RAW) and some are going into vegi lasagna.  Yes, cooked. Yes, sauce from a jar (but a really good brand). Yes with dairy products. And with whole wheat noodles, because I am nothing, if not a "natural" cook.  

My food should not bring stress, it should not reduce my sense of self esteem (comparing to others is toxic), it should not cause me to to feel I am failing my body. I also do not want to feel like I am taking more than my share of the world's resources, or behaving in a way that can harm others

So I do what I can, and let go of the results.

Bon Apetit!

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 she holds with her good friend Kent Bond E-RYT500. 

Find out more about her, her classes and the training at www.yogarecovery.com

Monday, February 24, 2014

Non-Excess, Desire and Cravings

It starts off small, a little WANTING, a little attraction, then desire just this side of obsession.  That is how it began for me.

 My watchband lost its loops and the end of the strap kept flapping. It still functioned but was annoying.  Then it got a little tear.  I was relieved. That meant the watchband was beginning to break and I was in danger of loosing the watch. 
Now I had a reason (and an excuse) to look for a replacement.
This is where the trouble began.

Looking for bands brought to the watch departments. The watch departments presented a challenge.  Nice watchbands cost $25 and above.  A new watch (with band) can be purchased for less than $20.  What to do? What to do?  I became attracted to the dome-y crystal faces, the colors of the bezels, the feel of the weight, the variety of colors.  Soon my wandering eyes had left the case of watchbands entirely and I had strayed well away from the $20 watches into the land of absurdity. Luckily.  Cold water on face, original mission re-established, back to the first counter: WATCHBANDS! 
And money. What costs less?  Is my mission to strap a low cost time piece to my arm or is it to get a watchband or is it to save money or ?is it to REFUSE TO ADD TO THE WASTE PRODUCED ON THIS PLANET?
Yikes!  "Mission Creep"
Watchband;  Money;  Environment
So now I have many ways to practice excess.  Too much money, too many things, too many priorities. What the heck!!  Yes, I want to "practice these principles in all my affairs".  I want to maintain a modest environmental profile (not to waste what is still useful), I want to be modest in my spending (not to spend capriciously but to get value for the price) and I want to have a watch- useful in convenience as well as function. But I got so twirled up!  I got caught in the seduction of NEW! I got wound up in the idea of thrift - where a new watch costs less than a watchband, and I nearly violated my ethic of holding on to that which works rather than replacing it.  

A lot of energy for a watchband - but it is the way I process things. I go this way and that, breaking old patterns of thought and behavior, trying on different ideas to find the medium way.  What comes first?  Environment or desire for NEW / SHINEY ?  Is it thrift or environment?  Is it replace or repair? What am I feeling?  Where is my breath?  What are ENDURING values? 

I found the perfect band: not fancy, not elaborate - just like my yoga practice - it is functional and it is just right. And it is PURPLE!  That was my playful indulgence.  To get a purple band.  And I am best pleased.  The TRIP was worth it.  

How do you manage your desires and ethicsWhat is your process; 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 she holds with her good friend Kent Bond RYT500. Find out more about her, her classes and the training at www.yogarecovery.com

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Letting Things IN While Letting Them GO

My heart is tender yet greedy; she is sensitive and but grips tightly to what she desires. So strange to take captive what my heart admires as free. 
What am I doing? Why do I grip? 
 I admire all that grows, and growth requires change. Pining a person or an event in a static position in my heart is just plain mean - and it flies in the face in what I believe. So why am I holding on so tightly? 
I have children. They are grown. They have their own lives and I love them for it. At this stage of their lives I no longer have a "vote"; their health and safety is their own concern. It is not my business how they construct their learning journey, is it not my business what challenges and obstacles they choose, but oh how I make it my own suffering. I wish this and I want that. My heart yearns for the details of their lives so they don't slip away and become strangers, those who once had everything in common with me. I don't want to live a life of remembrance and memory; always bringing up the old stories of games played, meals shared and comical situations that became the fabric of our past. These things are important but I want to increase stories with the tales of NOW. This means letting go - letting go of the attachments to how things were and to allow them to develop into the sweet song of the present.

(Note to self - I am not as bad as I think I am nor as good as I want to be.  In truth, I am JUST RIGHT!)  Clinging onto an image of myself, or my relationship with myself as a static thing is also not useful.   Some days I am on the beam- in the moment, listening well without judgement or expectation; to others AND to myself.  Other days - I resist. I resist the different, avoid a change and wrestle with reality

The trick is to LET THINGS IN while LETTING THEM GO!  Have a change, feel a difference and allow that to morph and alter as it will.  I practice being comfortable with what IS... as it will surely become "a WAS" if you let it. 
Respecting change, respecting what I love  - the mutability and freedom of life and growth- I let change IN while I let it GO.
 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 she holds with her good friend Kent Bond RYT500. Find out more about her, her classes and the training at www.yogarecovery.com

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Just STOP it!!!

That's right - come to a rest, put your pencil (keyboard, tablet, device, list, or other "have to do") down and breathe.   

Going going going, doing doing doing getting getting getting.  I suffer from the disease of "more".  I know I am in "trouble" when I reach for "just one more" cookie, spoonful  of something, forkful of another, , one more hand of cards, one more silly you tube video, or one more of anything. The process and instinct remind of "just one more" drink or drug or pill; a behavior of the past.  What it means is that I am reaching for ONE MORE than I need or really want. It can also be a way for me to avoid my feelings.

It is amazing how the concept of "just one more" creeps into the good behavior as well as the bad.  Just one more minute doing an administrative duty, one more chapter of a book I am studying, a pose I am deconstructing, a commitment to add to my calendar, a class to add to my schedule.  To stay at a task beyond thirst, beyond tending to physical needs (to eat before starving, to stretch before tense, to pee before...) is another form of TOO MUCH. So whether I am doing too many useful things or too many harmful things - if I am avoiding my TRUE feelings; I am letting business shroud authenticity. More ACTIVITY is LESS of real.

What do you do when you feel under the weather?  Do you push through or throttle back? Do you need to CRASH to "just STOP it"? Are you afraid of baby-ing yourself and resist taking a rest?  As a woman in recovery, even after these many years  I still equate feeling sick with feeling hungover - and that was a condition of my own making - so I used to just push through that.  Sick is sick- it has been a learning experience to just be how I am... allow myself to be a sick bunny until I get well.

Does being calm cause you anxiety?  When I am in the tornado of EVER-DOING I can be really uncomfortable taking a pause, taking a break and certainly meditating can make me itch.  My background as an adult child of an alcoholic has reinforced in me a basic distrust of calm and peace.  It is a learned behavior to relax and to be calm.  When I am in the throes of HALT (Hungry, Angry, Lonely, Tired) or when I am coming down with something I find this newer behavior elusive but all the more necessary.  When I cannot TOLERATE peace is when I need it most. It is the flag, the caution light, the klaxon of urgency: "Let Go",  take a break, PAUSE. 
How do you feel today, right now, are you barreling through, waiting "until", saving the bathroom break until...?  What would happen if you paused right NOW - and "just STOP it" for a moment.
What ever it is, it will be here when you get backI just tried that, and it is true.  

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 she holds with her good friend Kent Bond RYT500. Find out more about her, her classes and the training at www.yogarecovery.com