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I just spent the weekend with some amazing people. They came to the certification and training at Willow Glen Yoga with Kent Bond and myself to learn about how to bring yoga to people in recovery. There is so much pain in the world; certain destructive behaviors such as unhealthy relationships, food, gambling, and unwise sex to name a few. There can also be substance addiction such as drugs and alcohol, embraced first for FUN and then continued to the brink of destruction, due to physical and psychic disturbances. These addictions can become the focus of our lives. Certain behaviors can also be the result of growing up in unhealthy homes and destructive circumstances. They influence how we think, act and believe. Once we have found a recovery program; a way out, how do we stay on the path of health? Most of the people in the room had found yoga in addition to their other tools and programs. Work on the mat and investigation of the philosophy had greatly enhanced their healing. We all want to share the power of this practice with others. This training was to help up bring the transformational capability to others. Yoga is such a powerful practice. The physical movements and poses restore us to balance and can release tensions and traumas. While this is magical, the process must be presented in a safe and supportive manner to people who are especially vulnerable. We discussed these concerns thoroughly this weekend. Students who are newly clean and sober come to the mat with a variety of abilities and with a variety of restrictions. Meeting the students where they are is crucial. With people in early recovery, though, KNOWING where you are on that continuum is often a challenge. We, as teachers, can be wise, cautious and careful in introducing our students to their abilities. Additionally, how we describe the poses and the postures can be of great use to them. Bringing in recovery language and principles in our teaching can make all the difference; the difference between yoga being a side activity or an integrating part of the recovery program. The people who came to the training we open, authentic, inquisitive and sharing. They helped us to turn the coal of our past into gems of generosity. I look forward to them moving into the world, sharing their work with other people in recovery, doing so with their innate kindness, without attachment and with compassion.

Buy the Book! Yoga and the Twelve Steps

This blog post was written by Kcyzy Hawk, author of the book Yoga and the Twelve Steps