About Me

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Author of "Yoga and the Twelve Step Path" and "Life in Bite Sized Morsels".  "Yogic Tools For Recovery, A Guide To working the Steps": the workbook for which will be coming out May 15, 2018.
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, December 26, 2014

Recovery as a Road to Enlightenment

 "Recovery as a road to enlightenment" - words chosen carefully to express what the journey has been for me.  Just as I am not a proponent of the word "recovered" when used to describe my status in regards to my disease of addiction, I also don't use the word "enlightened" when referring to my path through life.  Neither of these actions is complete or stays  constant. I am always in the process of becoming.

You may have expected
that enlightenment would
come Zap! instantaneous
and permanent.  This is
unlikely. After the first
"ah-ha" experience,
it can be thought of
as the thinning of
a layer of clouds.

Ram Dass

Just as recovery began with a spiritual experience; the ability to ask for help, so does enlightenment begin with a moment of opening, of curiosity, of willingness. And like recovery, it is a exploration of self, of life, of opportunities and choices.  Both set the stage in life for things to be different than they are, yet a future unknown.  With courage, bit by bit, the future unfolds and the occasion for things to alter, to shift, to morph arrises.

There are very few human beings who receive the truth, complete and staggering, by instant illumination.  Most of them acquire it fragment by fragment, on a small scale, by successive developments, cellularly, like a laborious mosaic.

Anais Nin  

For those of us in recovery quotes about enlightenment sound as if they had been written about the exploration and acceptance of addiction recovery.  We experience a "thinning of the clouds" and a healthy life reveals itself "fragment by fragment, on a small scale". The first burgeoning experience may have been big,wild, a shock. There has been the occasional person who has had an initial sudden awakening, a burning bush, but mainly we are more familiar with the "educational variety" of spiritual experience.  These awakenings have come slowly, "mini miracles" that have marked my way.  Inearly recovery I had felt like my life was a 5,000 piece puzzle without the lid, I am now comfortable with it being a "laborious mosaic".

There are many paths to enlightenment.  Be sure to take one with a heart.
Knowing others is wisdom, knowing yourself is Enlightenment.
Lao Tzu

I am on a quest: this quest is without end.  There is no goal.  The destination is each moment, the desire is to come to now.  I do that in learning to know myself; in doing that I am practicing recovery, in disovering, uncovering my self. 

This is good news for an addict and alcoholic like myself, for a woman who is working her way out of co-addiction and the challenges of that life.  Days or decades - recovery for me is an active verb- much like enlightenment- it happens in the present.

Kyczy Hawk E-RYT200, RTY500 is the author of "Yoga and the Twelve Step Path" .
She leads two Y12SR classes a week for the public at Willow Glen Yoga in San Jose..
Kyczy is the creator of SOAR(tm) (Success Over Addiction and Relapse). This certification training now available in an ONLINE study course.  http://www.yogarecovery.com/SOAR__tm__Cert_all.html 
Scroll to the end of the page and sign up now.


Monday, December 1, 2014

Suppressing Anger

Suppressing anger can be toxic.  Just as resentments are a form of taking poison hoping the subject of your feelings dies - so can repressed anger churn and infect you.

What happened was this: someone said something uncaring and unkind to me.  The top of my head blew off.  Well, it felt like it.  I was swelling with rage in my body; heart rate was going sky high, my breath was shallow, my blood pressure spiking, my voice became shrill and the urge to scream was nearly overwhelming.  My arms were just vibrating with the barely constrained desire to pummel this person. WOW!  I am a woman in long term recovery.  I am a yoga practitioner.  My daily prayer is to be compassionate, to be loving, accepting and forgiving.  Where was this kinder person now?

I pushed these physical manifestations of fury aside.  I still retained enough yogi in my character to slow my breath consciously, to soften the muscles in my neck, to unclench my hands and jaw.  I mentally talked myself into a semblance of homeostasis.  Not complete, but out of the trees where my animal self had sprung.

I tried talking it through.  My ability to communicate was impaired and my ability to listen was non-existent.  Discussion went from misunderstanding, to rude and then to downright mean.  I could not continue. I left.

With my stomach churning with acid and my body aching with the fever of suppressed anger I tried to lie down and "sleep it off".  I could not. The thoughts kept swirling in my head. "What did I say or do to cause this?" "Why can't he understand me?" "I shouldn't be angry! That isn't an enlightened way to be! What is wrong with me!" And so it goes, the second arrow hits, the self recrimination for feelings felt.    I am now going down the rabbit hole of thinking that I cannot be angry.  "Self righteous anger is the dubious luxury of other men" comes to mind. If I am a good "AA-ette" then I will avoid anger.  If I am a good practicing yogi then I will follow the path of non-harming and contentment.  Well - now I am mad, I am not a good practicing member of my 12 Step program and I am a sham of a yogi.

Danger Danger Danger:  This is toxic thinking.  Not only can anger be appropriate,  I would be out of touch with my emotions and myself if I denied myself an actual human feeling. One does get angry from time to time.  Pushing the anger down, repressing it, started to cause me to feel a total failure - not just around this issue in this relationship but in all spheres of my life, particularly those I held most dear.

In the denial of my feelings I was continuing to feed my sense of negative self worth, that part of my that I have spent YEARS trying to heal.  This kind of activity will lead me to emotional relapse. Unabated other addictions will kick in.  My disease wants me to be overwhelmed with emotions and self doubt.

The mindful way back into my true self, my complete self, my healing self, is to admit the emotion, see the anger, feel it and feel it pass.  Yes - it will and does pass.  With breath and acceptance that THIS is what I feel, not act upon, but feel will allow the sensations flow through and to leave behind the lesson.

There are lessons.  One - I had a profound physical abbreaction - a nearly out of the body experience of rage that I did not act upon.  I repeat this for my own well being: I did not act upon this rage.  Two -  with time I have been able to unpack, to uncover, the real source of the pain that lay beneath the anger; the pain, the fear, and the need.

As I investigate the reason that the words hurt so much and look into the history that lay behind my reaction I am able to respond and discuss the situation.  I can take care of my side and be open the other side.  My ears were open now that the sound of my blood pounding in my head has abated.  My physical reactions to anger have subsided so my voice has a softer quality, my lips are no longer thin with hysteria, my pupils no longer dilated with rage.  I can use words that are more expressive of true feelings and explanations and we can talk this through.

Amends are a huge part of my recovery program, not just the frequency with which I seem to need them, but for the lessons that the situations provide.  I learn about me and I learn about you and I change my behavior, and, with luck, my outlook. In time the amendment, the transformation, becomes permanent and I move on to the next challenge.
Kyczy Hawk E-RYT200, RTY500 is the author of "Yoga and the Twelve Step Path" .
She leads two Y12SR classes a week for the public at Willow Glen Yoga in San Jose..
Kyczy is the creator of SOAR(tm) (Success Over Addiction and Relapse). This certification training now available in an ONLINE study course.  http://www.yogarecovery.com/SOAR__tm__Cert_all.html 
Scroll to the end of the page and sign up now.