Yoga and Recovery – Zephyr Wildman

May 31, 2020

#015: Zephyr Wildman

Scott talks to his good friend and fellow yoga teacher Zephyr Wildman…

Originally from Idaho, Zephyr Wildman is one of London’s most well loved and highly regarded yoga teachers. Yoga and the Twelve Step recovery programme have supported her during difficult times, and Zephyr now works closely with treatment centres for addiction, depression and other dependency problems, sharing therapeutic practices with her students. 

You can watch Zephyr’s Stillpoint Online ‘Yoga for Anxiety’ workshop here.

You can find more about Zephyr’s work here.

Zephyr also shares widely on her Instagram page here.

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Yoga and Recovery – Zephyr Wildman

Scott and Zephyr first met at the London Yoga Festival in 2019 and have been friends ever since. This deeply engaging and honest conversation goes deep into the practices of yoga and how it can help recovery from addiction and grief. Zephyr shares a deeply moving account of her life in recovery from an addictive partner, who subsequently and tragically passed away, and how yoga helped her. Her wisdom as a result shines through. Scott and Zephyr also share meaningful words about how they both have been affected by familial alcohol and drug addiction, and how contemplative practice and conversations like these help to gently change in the deep internal narratives they have.

In this heartfelt conversation Zephyr shares:

  • How yoga became a contemplative practice for her.
  • How asana practice helped her to heal physically, and how following the Twelve Step programme at the same time allowed her to heal emotionally, mentally and spiritually.
  • What she’s learned from studying with Richard Freeman about the philosophical and psychological maps provided by the yoga traditions, and how we can use these to find our way back to ourselves. 
  • Her journey into teaching yoga, which began by covering for her teacher at the Tabernacle in Notting Hill.
  • Her initial resistance to becoming a yoga teacher, before finding her calling to serve others.
  • How you can be ‘in recovery’ as a response to someone else’s addiction.
  • The parallels between the Twelve Step programme and yoga.
  • Her experience of moving from Idaho to London aged 19.
  • Her relationship with her former husband, and how yoga and the Twelve Step recovery programme supported her when she lost him to cancer.
  • The healing power of talking and sharing, and healing through relationship with others.
  • The importance of being seen and feeling safe as part of a sangha (community). 
  • How the practice of Ashtanga can act as a mirror.
  • Her understanding of addiction as a symptom of an unmet spiritual need for connection.
  • How brain structure and chemistry reinforces addictive habits, and how these neurological loops relate to the work we do in asana practice.
  • The relationship between the Twelve Step program and the Seven Steps of Yoga in the Yoga Sutras (2:77).
  • What it means to her to live contemplative life.

 

‘Zephyr is one of the most inspiring yoga teachers I’ve met. Her inquiry into practice comes from her having to deal with her own trauma and grief regarding addiction and loss. This conversion is one of the most meaningful I’ve had because I relate deeply to a lot of what Zephyr shares’

Scott Johnson – May 2020 

If you enjoyed this podcast then you might also enjoy Scott’s conversations with Caroline Taylor and Jess Glenny.

 

 

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