Last week Charleston Yoga Examiner (CYE) interviewed Charleston’s own Gail Corvette. In that interview Corvette discussed finding her svadharma through teaching Yoga and her recovery from alcoholism. She briefly covered her involvement and certification to teach Success Over Addiction and Relapse (SOAR).
SOAR is a project founded by Kyczy Hawk, author of “Yoga and the Twelve-Step Path”. In her book she draws from her personal experiences with various 12-Step programs – particularly Alcoholics Anonymous and the direct parallels between Yoga and “Twelve-step” programs.
Recently, CYE had the privilege of speaking with Hawk. Hawk was very candid and open about her experiences perhaps revealing a little more than she did in her book.
Hawk, herself a recovering addict notes that no one ever fully recovers from addiction; therefore, it’s a perpetual state of recovery. She has now been clean and sober for 28 years and counting.
Hawk makes an excellent argument for the incorporation of Yoga into the 12-Step program. She notes that, in her own experience, 12-Step programs are successful because they address body, mind, and spirit. However, as she posits in her book “they don’t do enough to address the physical recovery” and has found in her experience that Yoga is an optimal complement to the 12-Steps as Yoga addresses all three aspects.
Yoga addressed the spiritual craving. It does unite body, mind, and spirit in one fluid practice, so it began to address the disunity I was feeling in my soul. Yoga helped me find a way to explore my internal spirit and combine my sense of that nascent true self with a concept of the divine— my Higher Power. ~ Kyczy Hawk, Yoga and the Twelve-Step Path
Hawk’s story involved various stages of addiction through denial; eventually coming face-to-face with her Self and learning the truth about addiction. Hawk covers in detail her addictions and her attempts to maintain a dual existence as both “good girl” and “bad girl”: something she was finally able to come to grip with.
Yoga became a part of her life early on. She maintained an off and on relationship with Yoga for several years by way of video practices. However, it wasn’t until she was well into her recovery that she learned what was missing. She would learn that she was lacking a social connection in her Yoga.
Fifteen years into her recovery she found that she had given up one addiction for another. When previously she was fighting her addiction to drugs and alcohol; she began swallowing herself up in her work. Essentially trading one addiction for another. It was this realization that stirred her soul.
For long-term recovery, I’ve discovered that the spiritual aspects become the most critical. This is a basic tenet of twelve-step recovery: that a well-maintained spiritual life is critical for daily relief from the symptoms of our addiction. ~Kyczy Hawk, Yoga and the Twelve-Step Path
Hawk found herself alone and depressed: symptoms of alcohol and drug addiction – yet she was in recovery. She notes that while she was regularly attending AA meetings and participating she felt something was wrong or “not right” deep down. She slowly understood that she was avoiding something. In her words she “(sic) felt there was something inside that was finally coming to the surface”: something she would have to find a way to deal with.
Hawk "accidentally" found a Yoga studio in the back of a health-food store where she took her first public class. As Hawk describes it, she “cried every practice” without knowing why. She now understands that the crying was a result of releasing trauma from deep within her body. The relief was so great that it altered her entire path.
As a result of this experience Hawk determined to make a five-year plan to quit her job. Her plan was so bring Yoga to people in recovery.
Hawk developed SOAR and it's associated training program so that others may benefit from her experiences. Hawk firmly believes that more Yoga teachers need to be “out there” reaching out to others who have been traumatized by alcohol and drug addiction – to include family members of those folks.
In addition to her work with SOAR she works in treatment centers, jails and local studios. Additionally, she will be offering "On Demand" Yoga through StudioLiveTV. For more information visit this link.
Hawk found her true calling to serve others. Similar to other stories of recovery with an accompanying spiritual awakening, she experienced such a profound healing she felt the desire to share it with others – and share it she has.
Click here for more information about SOAR