During the early phase of our community response to the COVID pandemic and the start of the ”shelter in place”, the Yoga center closed down and I began teaching remotely through a tele-seminar platform and audio Yoga class series.
In the beginning, I felt drawn to the theme, Finding Refuge through Yoga and taught these classes with a variety of sub themes and well rounded practices focused on the benefits of slowing down and going inward. As time went on, I shifted focus towards what potential growth opportunities were arising through this pause period, as well as the renewed signs of spring. I then felt drawn to teach the theme, Awaken to Life through Yoga and have continued through the last few weeks again offering a well rounded sequence of yoga postures and breathing techniques to express how yoga supports this wonderful theme. Now as May approaches (6 weeks later) and for an uncertain amount of time, I am shifting again to the theme, Cultivating Resilience through Yoga. It feels appropriate at this moment to support our staying power, maintain a healthy and discerning perspective and continue to rally-up and re-emerge from any adverse affects of the pandemic.
My Considerations for Yoga, Resilience & Teaching ~
Resilience is a dialog between endurance, vitality and immunity and expresses itself in our health on all levels- body, mind, and heart. Physical resilience as well as support for immunity is sustained through wise lifestyle choices and healthy habits, including an ongoing Sadhana – the Sanskrit word referring to our yoga and meditation practices. Mental resilience and immunity comes through our mental perceptions and mental discernment.
The Yogic principle and Sanskrit word Pratipaksha Bhavana is discussed in the 2nd chapter of Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras. The main thrust of this principle is to cultivate the opposite; replacing negative thoughts with positive ones. When we have adverse thoughts or perceptions, instead of focusing on the negative we cultivate positive, kind and compassionate thoughts, thereby opening our view to see what is good, growth-full or beneficial.
In Ayurveda there is the guiding principle and term Ojas– our vital essence, our natural immunity and natural radiance. Resilience. It also refers to mental and emotional wellness. All the energy that we take in and put out as well as our lifestyle choices either nourishes this vital essence or can be detrimental to it.
Yoga can Support us in Feeling ~
How does Yoga Foster Resilience?
Working from the inside out cultivates embodied integration within structures & systems
Supports Physiological function
Supports musculoskeletal function & endurance
Pranayama expands respiration capacity
All yoga practices- postures, breathing & meditation- develop physical/physiological endurance & mental calm to better manage challenges
Increase recovery rate & injury prevention
Fosters mind-body connection & embodied presence to consciously meet each moment
Fosters healthy parasympathetic response of NS for good rest & digest to counter balance life stress
Helps us embrace the unknown & uncertainty & cultivate trust
Easier mental & emotional recovery
Brain health through positive thinking- (see above-pratipaksha bhavana)
“Neurons that fire together wire together “ -Rick Hanson
Best to you,
P.S. Webster’s Dictionary, definition of Resilience: “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change”