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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.

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

Saturday, June 28, 2014

My Recovery Is Like A Shark


I was talking to a woman the other day about being active in our recovery program, doing “the footwork”; reading, working the steps, going to meetings, meeting with others, finding ways to be of service in the program and so on.  We were sharing the things we do to keep our practice of the program alive. Unexpectedly the following phrase jumped out of my mouth: “my recovery is like a shark; it will die if I don’t keep moving.”

Wow – ain’t that the truth! No, it isn’t just motion for the sake of motion: anger is pretty lively but that won’t keep me emotionally “sober”.  Although I may feel impatience or frustration these are not attitudes that keep me in healthy waters. Being overly busy and missing the moment by rushing from one thing to another might be ACTIVE but it isn't recovery.



My recovery oriented actions include being with others who are healthy and swimming a wise “school”. I like to keep away from the shoals of discontent, self abasement, and frustration, preferring the open seas of unlimited possibilities, hope and my spiritual sky above me.


There are scary deep sea creatures in ocean; the gloomy monsters of depression and isolation, those sneaky eels of despair and doubt that you come upon when you least expect them. There are also those happily dressed up clown fish – those easy breezy feelings that lure you away from your pack: cockiness, dishonesty or complacency. Flighty fish with the temporary treats of activity without considering consequences. These can come in any form of distraction (screen time, for example), another compulsion (such as shopping or eating) or finding another "HP" (him or her); something or someone that takes me away from my recovery. Swim away, swim away recovery shark! Move toward the light – the spiritual , the good in yourself, swim to safe harbor of your recovery friends. 

Yes, my recovery is like a shark – I have to keep moving in a wise way. I practice my yoga and stay close to positive people, I read and reflect, meditate and pray. I continue to grow, to learn more, and to stay close to those women I sponsor. They bring out the best in me.

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

Friday, June 6, 2014

Start from Where You Are, Patiently

I remember when I got my GPS unit. It has taken some of the fear out of going to new places.  I enter my destination and in a firm voice it advises me. I like it.
However, my GPS takes time to load it's information! I plug it in and it takes time to crank and churn. At first I was frustrated by the amount of time it took to "wake up".  Even in my driveway it pauses and dots and displays messages such as "looking for a valid signal". "Looking for a valid signal"? Are lots of bogus signals bouncing around? Evidently. While waiting for the signal to be identified and approved I have learned to take time to think. Do I get bogus signals? Are my signals valid? Do I jump in my truck swooshing out of the driveway (looking both ways, of course, for people and traffic), but still, I jump into my vehicle and drive pell mell without consideration?  Have I taken stock of where I am - where I REALLY am (emotionally, intellectually, spiritually) before leaving to invade someone else's space?

Whether I am headed to the post office or a friends's house; do I acknowledge where I AM before I GO? Can I pause and wait for a valid signal to identify the present moment and "location"?
After finding a valid signal the unit waits and waits and waits until I let it know where I wish to go.
It doesn't assume I am going to my prior end point, or the first I ever programmed. It waits until I select my destination. I have to state, with intention, where I am planning to go. Even then, time is taken to choose the most direct route - not always the one I would have chosen - but, so far, a route that has gotten me to my destination. In determining my "path" have I considered traffic and intentions, route and motivation, speed and expectations? Have I found the clear path and taken my higher power with me? I may need to be re-routed if the unexpected pops up - some accident or road repair that was not foreseen or predicted. I may need to "recalculate my route". Mindfully selecting my destination is not a bad idea. 


So taking these few moments I let the gizmo figure out where we are, I figure out where I am. Waiting patiently while it plans the direction, I set my route with intention. I breath (it calculates) and I prepare myself for moving into the world with my total self in alignment. I reform these moments of possible frustration into moments of reflection. Where am I, where am I going, how will I get there, and HOW I will BE WHEN I get there. Not just the route but the integrated me. 

Such useful moments. Mindfulness taught by Tom Tom. I could learn from this card sized device.

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