Building Resilience With Yoga
Resilience is about our ability to successfully adapt to stress and adversity. Of course we all face challenges in our life. Some we may handle with grace, and some cause us to cower and fail. It is a life skill that each new curve ball presents us with an opportunity to practice. Building resilience on our mat is a safe place to flex the resilience muscle so it’s strong enough to get us through the next life upheaval.
Building Resilience with Yoga was my class theme for February
Different writers define the specific skillsets that make up resiliency differently. I chose a different aspect for each week: equanimity, grit, self acceptance and perception.
Is the ability to keep your cool even in a tough situation. In yoga, using our breath can help build equanimity. A pause and a breath before you react or respond to stressors can lead to better responses. I shared a reading from Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s A Gift From the Sea. A Gift From the Sea is one of those books I can pick up and always find something relevant to my life at that moment.
Grit or Perseverance
Is about our ability to ‘keep on keeping on’. I like the word grit because when I was a farrier, it took a lot of grit, figuratively and literally to get the job done. However, use perseverance if it rings truer for you. I shared a reading from Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations translated by Gregory Hays. It’s very striking to me the similarities between the yoga philosophies and the stoics. It’s another example of the universality of the human experience.
It’s hard to exercise resilience if you don’t have a strong sense of self or a reservoir of self respect to draw on in tough times. Like the airlines stress, your own oxygen mask is the most important one. To help build stronger self regard muscles, we practiced a metta meditation during class. I shared a metta meditation from Thich Nhat Hanh’s No Mud, No Lotus: The Art of Transforming Suffering.
And for our last week about building resilience – Perception
Are we perceiving our life through the lens of victim or agent? Is what we’re being asked to accomplish on the mat perceived as difficult or easy? Does that perception affect the outcome? Can we shift our perception to be more resilient? Perception gets to the heart of our consciousness and yoga. I shared sutra 1.2 “Yoga is the cessation of movements in the consciousness.” I use the Iyengar Light on the Yoga Sutras of Patanjali for most of my sutra readings.
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Please comment and share any resources you’ve used to build resilience. We are all always looking for new ideas!
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