The Yoga of Divorce
About the Book
This is a personal story of how one man was guided by yoga through the difficult stages of divorce. He had no special skills. He was just a father looking for a way to get clear, to start fresh, without becoming alienated from his ex, or poisoned by the process.
His practice on the yoga mat taught him something new: to resolve tension with his spouse by resolving it first within himself. He wrote The Yoga of Divorce in the hope of helping others do the same.
He achieved an amicable separation in five months with less than three hours of legal bills. For the sake of your children, finances and personal well-being, you will find value in the practical strategies he describes, whether your goal is to end or to heal your relationship.
Yoga of Divorce offers practical strategies for shifting our reactions and embrace the notion of cooperative opposition, the idea that the same non-adversarial process that works on the yoga mat can be used at the negotiation table.
The key to Yoga of Divorce’s strategy is to 'park ego at the door'. If we stop trying to 'win' but instead seek a solution that is fair to both sides, we make much smoother progress. The mindful practice of cooperative opposition can simultaneously resolve physical stress and social conflict by intentionally balancing opposite forces.
It might seem simple, but it takes conscious effort. We urgently need to make calm decisions at those times when being calm is most difficult—such as in the midst of emotional crisis. When stakes are highest we feel most triggered to attack. For the sake of our children, our wealth, and our personal well-being, we need to work past negative emotions and put ego in its place. Only then will we find lasting peace and amicable resolutions.
PRAISE FOR 'THE YOGA OF DIVORCE'
"This is an absolutely brilliant book—integrating the wisdom of yoga, Buddhism and Taoism with the discoveries of neuroscience and psychology, all in the service of helping divorcing couples navigate the life-changing ordeal of divorce. It is by far the most helpful guide to divorce I have ever read. I will make it required reading for all my clients!"
Brian Muldoon – Mediator and Author of The Heart of Conflict (Putnam Press)
"Here is a very practical and compassionate manual for navigating our way through a painful process. Mike shows us how to combine yoga and spirituality to let go of hostility in favor of mutual respect."
Dave Richo, Author of You Are Not What You Think: The Egoless Path to Self-Esteem and Generous Love (Shambhala, 2015)
"Mike has contributed an important book to the field of dispute resolution, and an even more important book for helping people through the experience of resolving deep, personal conflict effectively. This book does what few do – it gives people going through divorce a practical way to make it through in one piece, and maybe even be the better for it. For many, this book could be life-changing!"
Gary Furlong, Mediator and Author of The Conflict Resolution Toolbox (Wiley & Son)
"The Yoga of Divorce is a beautifully articulated description of the principles and actions involved in yoga practice. Mike shows the reader that yoga can change practitioners’ minds as well as their bodies. The book is full of practical advice, which is rooted in both sound theory and the specific personal story of Mike’s journey through conflict with the help of yoga. It’s a great read, and would be helpful for anyone facing inner and outer conflict in their lives – which is probably all of us!"
Rebecca Schechter, Screenwriter, yogini
"The Yoga of Divorce is an aesthetic accomplishment: a self-help work of deep psychological insight, combining integrity with emotional honesty and great clarity of style. Inspirational for transforming conflict into personal growth."
Gerald Cupchik, PhD, Professor of Psychology, University of Toronto, Author of The Aesthetics of Emotion (Cambridge University Press)
"With skill and sensitivity, mediator and educator Mike MacConnell interweaves the story of his own emotional, financial and legal journey through divorce with invaluable advice on negotiation strategies, yoga, and mindfulness. The wisdom, practicality, honesty, and hope contained within these pages make The Yoga of Divorce a book I will recommend to all of my clients!"
Rosanna Breitman, LLB, LLM, AccFM, mediator/ conflict resolution specialist
"Amidst the wide literature on divorce and separation, Mike MacConnell offers the unique insight that a peaceful separation can only come through peaceful selves. It is a must read for all seeking healing rather than destruction."
Catherine Valcke JD, LLM, SJD, Professor of Law, University of Toronto
"This masterful memoir guides you on a path of conflict transformation supported by the practical applications of yoga and mindfulness meditation. Written in a manner that is both honest and emotional, The Yoga of Divorce is a powerful reminder of the importance of self-care when engaging in conflict."
Alicia Kuin, LL.M., Mediator; ADR Program Designer & Educator; Founder & Chair, Mediators Beyond Borders Canada
"This book offers a deliberate course of action without underestimating the challenge. His balanced use of constructive co-opposition emphasizes the need to understand the other perspective as well as your own."
John Williamson, MA, LLB, CDFA, Divorce Financial Analyst
"The Yoga of Divorce is an inspiring how-to-do-it manual for "conscious uncoupling". With practical to do lists, simple yoga and mindfulness practices, we are guided through a civilized co-opposition process of exiting a 25 year marriage. We are exposed to the fear and uncertainty as well as to the triumph of "disarming divorce" and splitting up in a non-toxic manner. Clearly written, the timeless wisdom makes this book uplifting and hard to put down."
Eli Bay, Founder of The Relaxation Response Institute
"Mike has used the practice of “Yoga on the mat” to extend the experience to the practice of “Yoga off the mat”. He has used his yoga practice to transition through a very difficult time. May you understand and receive the same benefits from his story."
Marlene Mawhinney, President & Senior Instructor, Yoga Centre of Toronto
"In my experience of divorce as a Family Doctor, nobody wins, particularly the children. With an adversarial approach it can go on forever. In The Yoga of Divorce, Mike MacConnell proposes a very sane option. He advocates a clear way to move forward, to resolve outstanding issues and reach an amicable outcome. Potentially, everyone wins. I recommend this book. But be forewarned, this is not an easy way out. There will be hard work, but the rewards will be worth it for all involved."
Dr. Rae Lake, MD, CCFP
"This book can be a great resource for people going through any difficult situation. The integrated mind-body approach allows one to respond to adversity with a grounded and calm perspective. As a psycho-therapist and Social Worker for over 25 years, I would feel confident recommending The Yoga of Divorce to augment both therapy and mediation."
Nurit Adler, Psychotherapist, Spec. Hon. BA, MA, RSW
"As a family doctor, I often have to deal with the devastation of separation and divorce. Mike MacConnell’s “The Yoga of Divorce” is a very personal journey that brings a wonderful physical/spiritual practice to help smooth the ride on a very rocky road. I highly recommend this accessible narrative for any couple wrestling with their relationship."
Dr. Mark Silverman, M.D., CCFP
"The Yoga of Divorce is a rich and practical resource that helped me find my way through the heartbreak of separation and divorce. Mike's focus on fairness, family peace and a healthy sense of self along with his intensely personal story, made the book invaluable in allowing me to be true to myself."
"Mike’s work was a calming anchor for me and he made me believe more than ever that there is power in surrender. Surrender your defenses and search for fairness. I walked away from a lot but I walked away with my integrity and that is priceless. Many thanks to you Mike."
Copyright © 2016 by Mike MacConnell
Illustrations by Leann Parker
1. Family & Relationships, Divorce & Separation
2. Conflict Management
3. Health & Fitness, Yoga
Distributed to the trade by The Ingram Book Company