Ask Kyczy about Yoga and Recovery; Satya; Truthfulness

Ask Kyczy about Yoga and Recovery – The Yamas – weaving yoga philosophy and the 12 Step programs – Satya; Truthfulness
According to the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous we can recover from our addiction by “being rigorously honest”, bearing in mind the caution “except when to do so would injure them or others”. So, too, in yoga philosophy the restraint of “Non-Lying” comes right after “Non-harming” so that we should be mindful of hurting others or ourselves when being honest. Is this carte blanche to “white lie” heaven or is this really a caution for wise speech?
So we look at ourselves and at our actions and try to be truthful in what we do. On the mat we are to be truthful about our intention, our attention and our abilities in our practice. In the world it is to be truthful about our intention, our attention and our abilities in our actions and speech. Oooh, that sounds really familiar! Reading in one of my favorite books, The Yamas and the Niyamas, by Deborah Adele, I find that not only must I not be harmful – but I must look at being honest with myself, avoiding being nicey nice, or too nice with others, and look to taking the time to find my own boundaries and my own truth. What does this mean in sobriety? This means working the steps to find out who you are, making direct, personal amends when appropriate (engage the feedback and advise of a sponsor to determine appropriate action), and become real – your real, authentic self.
All of the Yamas and Niyamas are practiced in thought, word and deed so again the nuance it to first be honest with yourself in your thoughts. Once we can figure out what our limits, ethics and intentions are we can then speak of them, and ultimately act on them.
As an example; I have the habit of over committing. In order to avoid this I need to look in myself and ask myself if I can really do this thing. Is my agreement because I don’t’ want to hurt someone’s feelings by saying no? (Too Nicey nice). I want to be seen as being capable of anything and everything (my ego talking, feeling like I am not ENOUGH unless I am DOING)? Or are one of my other character defects coming up; laziness, fear, the desire to isolate, or any of the others I still cherish? If it is the last – I know I have to do it – to overcome the inertia of my shortcomings. If it is one of the former two I need to examine myself further before I make a commitment. If I don’t do this examination I could either come up with a lie at the last minute to excuse myself, or behave less than well when I participate due to resentment or another defect. I now wait before I commit. I look at my reasons and my motives, for doing and for not doing, so that I can find a balance and be honest with all involved. This helps my recovery and it helps my yoga.

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