My Love Story – Yoga & Recovery

What it used to be like, what happened and what it is like now is the traditional framework for sharing at a meeting. This progression holds true for both my recovery and my yoga practice. At one point my life was consumed by suffering which eventually became overwhelming. I had a life changing experience and chose a different path. Let me give you some of the details of my journey.

I was what is termed as a garbage girl ­ I used anything and everything. I used chemical substances including alcohol in combination, I used alone, I used them with other people – I’d take anything, anywhere, anytime. I exhausted my internal resources to cope with that lifestyle. About the same time I ran out of other resources too: money, friends, family, work, health and the will to live. Having hit my lowest point, somehow I managed to have a moment of clarity and with a few bumps along the way sought out a clean and sober life several years ago.

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Official logo for S.O.A.R. program

What had happened? What changed to take this desperate woman steeped in loathing and addiction and change her into a woman of integrity and hope?

I fell in love with recovery. I fell in love with the community, with the steps, with the laughter and with the support when there was pain. I fell in love with the sharing, with the tears of the men and the strength of the women. From the sobriety countdowns at conferences to the desire chips at newcomer meetings my heart opened up. I eventually even opened my heart to myself. Through working the steps (it took multiple times for me) I was able to see my defects as “defences” and to come to an awareness of the middle road; that “narrow path” we talk about at meetings.

But the road was not always smooth. There was history locked in my body that even therapy couldn’t touch. I was repairing spiritually, mentally, and emotionally. I had physical health, but I had trauma stored in my belly and in my heart. The shadows of past accidents and injuries lingered in my muscles and sinew. I tried to avoid recognizing the pain by becoming too busy for my own good. Having these memories and feelings rise to the surface nearly caused me to relapse. Yes I was clean and sober, but emotionally I was a wreck.

What happened to change this woman of insecurity and pain back into a woman of integrity and hope?

I fell in love again – this time with yoga. I was not one of those I meet now who try to get sober on the yoga mat (and avoid meetings or other recovery tools). I am not one of those who had practiced yoga for years and then left it behind to pursue a drinking career. I came to the mat late in life. I started yoga on an inspiration and spontaneously.

Unlike conventional exercise you have the opportunity to set an intention in yoga to move inward, to feel what you are feeling in your body. That process can release held feelings. The tears can flow and the spirit can open. The power of the practice must be felt to be understood just like the power of the steps can only be felt by doing them. I began to heal on a whole new level. I once again could experience my life my entire being on a deep level.

I became so passionate about the whole practice of yoga; the poses, the breath work, meditation and the depth it’s philosophy, that I began to teach.

I am on a mission to share this with others and now use the 12 step program in conjunction with yoga. I facilitate 12 step yoga meetings on InTheRooms.com and you can Join me Sunday mornings 10am ET / 7am PT to see what this combination is all about. We have regular folks, doing the deal one day at a time sharing about how yoga and recovery practices together can inform and enhance your life.

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About Kyczy Hawk

Kyczy has been teaching recovery focused yoga classes since 2008. She is a devoted teacher to people in treatment centers and in jail. Kyczy created a teacher training program for others who wish to work in this field. Trauma sensitivity and the somatics of feeling and relating more wisely to your body are some of the basics taught in S.O.A.R.(™) Success Over Addiction and Relapse.Kyczy has been a certified Y12SR (Yoga of 12 Step Recovery) leader for over eight years and a leadership trainer for the past two. She leads workshops nationally and holds and annual retreat at the Land of Medicine Buddha in Soquel, California.Author of “Yoga and the Twelve Step Path” , “Life in Bite-Sized Morsels” , “From Burnout to Balance” she has recently released a book and workbook through Central Recovery Press:”A Yogic Tools for Recovery; A Guide To working The Steps” as well as five recovery oriented word puzzle books.You can also join Kyczy and a host of other people in recovery every Sunday morning at 8am PT (11 am ET) on In The Rooms at the Yoga Recovery meeting. Join the Thursday “12 Step Study; Yogic Tools For Recovery” 8pm ET on ITR.Kyczy is very proud of her family; husband, kids, and grandkids, all who amaze her in unique and wonderful ways. Join her mailing list for other online offerings at www.yogarecovery.com.
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10 Comments

  1. Thanks Kyczy what a great site you should check out www. essentialsofrecovery.com too!

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    Terri Bonfiglio

    Thanks Kyczy. Yoga has saved my life. I started years ago, left it, then came back. I have been in recovery for 28 years. Yoga is one of those tools I use. Plus all the benefits! Yaaaa! I also study a bit of Buddhism to bring me peace.

    • Thank you for commenting Terri! YES _ it eventually “takes a village’ of tools and perspectives to expand on what I learned in the rooms. Buddhism has teachings that really help me too!. be well!

  3. Thank you for this article. It has helped me.

  4. Kyczy,

    Thank you for sharing this! I too, find yoga to be an important part of my recovery. I hope to expand my practice and love the thought of getting my certification to teach one day. I’m very interested in S.O.A.R. and I will definitely attend your Sunday morning ITR meeting soon!

    Love & Light,
    Tanya

    • Tanya, Thank you for sharing that! YES! Pepople who are in recovery bring a special quality to a yoga practice. I am glad my experience supports yours! Do join us on SUndays- it is a really special meeting.
      be well
      Kyczy

  5. Tammy, thank you for sharing about your experience. Using the physical part of yoga, tenderly and in moderation, as you express here, is a wonderful way to show self regard and self care. What a good example of the practice. I also hope others can sample the benefits and make the decision from experience
    – be well
    Kyczy

  6. It is most defiantly a WONDERFUL tool, that I think many do not realize the true benefits!

    I have scoliosis, and although no one can tell, my lower back can lol. I have implemented it for years, and I do not do it in great measures, a 20 or 30 min yoga activity, it is AMAZING what it does for me!

    Thanks for sharing this and hopefully others will see the benefits it offers, on any level you achieve or desire. Great tool!

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