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Author of "Yoga and the Twelve Step Path" and "Life in Bite Sized Morsels". COMING SOON! "Yogic Tools For Recovery, A Guide To wroking the Steps": November 14, 2017.
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 the south SF Bay Area, 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 teach in person and ONLINE.

Friday, June 14, 2013

It's All In Your Head

There are some of us who heard our whole lives "it is just in your head", meaning that what ever we were feeling was an illusion or delusional thought. The implication was that we were not in reality, our responses and reactions were based on ... nothing. IN FACT we were responding (with more or less skill) to what was going on around us. Sometimes said, sometimes unsaid, but we KNEW what was going on. As a child of an alcoholic I learned well how to gauge my environment. I developed coping mechanisms solely upon the criteria of staying safe. But that phrase "it is all in your head" frightened me away from believing in my mind.

Imagine my delight when I discovered that they were right (to a degree) - but not in "that" way. Trauma of a chaotic and unsettled household and my later active addiction did, indeed, change my brain. The chemistry was certainly affected by ingested drugs and alcohol but more important is the fact that my life long experiences had changed the functioning of my brain.

Just as sensory inputs had harmed the brain; wise and healing sensory inputs can restore the brain. YES! The brain can be healed.

The tools we can use to restore us are simple. With breath, meditation and mindful awareness, as well as intentional movement - the damaged brain centers can be brought back on-line. The hemispheres can re-establish a relationship - right brain and left brain can unite. You can re-integrate the "dis"-integration of the brain, your being and your sense of self. Yoga combines these three modalities and that is why the impact is so tremendous - a brief consistent practice, over a relatively short period of time shows results. The word "results" referring to the fact that the brain heals. The trauma that turned off functioning in the brain can be repaired. Trauma exists at other levels: it is also in the body, and we can address it with the movement. The trauma is also in the self, and we can love that back to health.

The talented, compassionate and passionate yogis who attended YSC the conference this year at Omega have been serving communities who need to heal. All forms of trauma; illness, poverty, abandonment, disease, neglect, marginalization and harm affect the populations that these yogis have decided to serve. The service means offering the tools for self care that yoga provides in an appropriate and inviting venue. Kelly McGonigal, B.K.Bose, Bessel van der Kolk (among others) gave group talks that amazed and inspired us. Sharing the results of their research freely with us, inviting us all to be part of the remedy, they explained how, what we were doing, had such a profound positive impact on the populations we served. It was a delicious affirmation of our efforts. It was grace.

Their documented research shows exactly this- that the brain, carefully and lovingly attended to, can reframe, reform and remap itself bringing integrated vitality and a wholesome life back to a once damaged being.

Remember - breath awareness, mindful meditation, and yoga. Now let the phrase "it's all in your head" be empowering and remind you, you have the solution.

Kyczy Hawk E-RYT200 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

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Yoga Service Council - Many Ways to Give

June 7 to 9 2013 - a weekend of amazing grace, companionship, networking and growth. Graced to be a scholarship recipient, and humble to be among such phenomenal people. This will be a series of what I heard, what I learned, and what it meant to me and the trajectory of my mission.

I found myself taking notes constantly. I knew my mind could not hold it all: the wisdom, the knowledge, the understanding and the passion. Every presentation was meaty and full of ah ha moments, and times when I was reassured ("I do that!", "I have felt that way." and "I am inspired; I know I am going in the right direction!"). There are times when my mind exploded with the realities that were being shared. And we had opportunities to walk and talk with one another - debriefing and knitting together our community. We had moments to be alone and contemplate.

Beryl Binder Birch started us off with a "lovely" talk. Weaving together the duties of a benevolent social activist with the meaning of true compassion, she set the tone for the whole weekend.

Nikki Myers led the morning practice, exposing many to recovery infused yoga for the first time . Slow, definitive movement performed contemplatively prepared us for the day. She also presented a workshop "The Issues Live in the Tissues: Addiction Recovery, Trauma Healing and Yoga." She has phenomenal command of the information. She has touched so many with her work, and here at the conference it was no different. I am proud to have her as a friend.

The schedule from the 2013 Yoga Service Council conference will show you everything that was available. The breakout sessions, the group presentations and the panel discussion were phenomenal. There was room for questions, room for discussions and room for true dialoge - with differences of opinions thoughtfully and skillfully expressed. This was a conference of true learning and knowledge exchange.
Scientific data, both from experiencially based research as well as from brain imaging studies validated what we knew to be true. Yoga changes lives. Yoga changes your body, it changes your emotions, your energy, it can have an impact on your spiritual life AND it changes your MIND.
I tell you that to tell you this: it is all in your head. Not in the way you might think - but it is all in your head.

I will explain this in my next entry.

Kyczy Hawk E-RYT200 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