Recently, FDRIO member Mike MacConnell shared with our editor some wisdom from his book, The Yoga Of Divorce: A Mindful Route to Resolving Disputes, on how yoga provides a metaphorical and physical guide to syncing oppositional forces into harmony and eventual resolution.
Practising yoga helped Mike navigate the stress of his own divorce. He found calmness in the thoughtful poses which in turn prepared him to think clearly during negotiations. This quietness of mind, balancing of his energy and self-reflections reminded him that his former partner, albeit in opposition to him, was also suffering. His understanding of her pain allowed him to defuse a lot of the personal animosity making for a quick resolution and agreement.
Mike uses his own experiences and philosophy to help others navigate the stress of FDR. He says, “this isn't a book about divorce or about yoga, it’s about uncovering a way of approaching stress”. The book’s eight chapters trace the eight stages of Mike’s own divorce. Each chapter highlights a yoga pose that is matched to the emotional needs he experienced at that stage.
In Chapter 6, Final Paperwork and Breaking the News, Mike discusses the turbulent emotions he faced in considering the finality of the divorce and in telling his son about the break-up. To match the internal struggle and pain he was moving through, the chapter uncovers the benefits of forward bends, the most calming of all yoga poses, using as his example the seemingly simple, yet powerful Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) Pose. The chapter outlines movement contraindications providing steps for safe entry and release from the position. For each pose in the book, Mike provides three oppositions to contemplate, adding tips for mindfulness and conflict resolution.
For all the disciplines of FDR it’s important to consider the oppositional forces at hand in order to balance the energies to arrive at a resolution. How we as professionals guide these reactions and actions can affect our outcomes as well as our own personal stress levels. Applying this mindset to difficult negotiations provides a helpful “guiding image that we are not trying to defeat the other side but are working together to find resolution”.
A personal and enjoyable read, the book outlines an approach for creating a less adversarial and more respectful approach to FDR practices. Mike highlights that “we are not trying to erase the opposing force but instead trying to find a balance between the two so that there is respect on each side”.
The book is available in paper and all e-reader formats on amazon.ca, or in softcover from Indigo/Chapters, Book City or on Mike’s website: www.ReflectiveMediation.ca.