It’s totally possible for you, to learn how to build up resilience with Yoga Practices; it’s totally possible for you to learn how to navigate tough situations – burn out/stress, a delicate moment in a relationship – with grace, patience and ease.
It’s about committing to ourselves day after day, it’s about becoming our best friend to lean on. Do you remember “Lean on me” by Bill Withers I love that song!
Of course I am not talking about staying in a situation that is harmful for us – like a toxic working environment, or an abusive relationship o a project that is not working for you anymore. In that case there’s only one thing to do: pack your things, get out, ask for support and protect yourselves.
No, I am talking about the ability to bounce back from tough and difficult situations.
Resilience is defined by the American Physiological Association as the ability to adapt well in the face of adversity. This adversity could be trauma, tragedy or any significant source of stress.
Picture yourself in a valley and your final destination is the mountain you see from below: along the way you need to overcome rivers, trees, maybe it rains sometimes. Resilience is the ability to find the way through, like water, without getting mad at the trees, rivers or the rain :)
As, between me and you, any woman that I encountered in my life, when connected to her inner power and purpose, is THE example of resilience. I saw women bouncing back from unthinkable situations, with grace, inner strength and an infinite source of compassion.
Genetically we are born to give birth; we are born to create life, nurture it and bring it into the world. We couldn’t do that without the power of resilience.
Because yes, when I talk about resilience, I am not talking about toughness.
Toughness, from my personal experience, is like a superficial tension, covering and protecting a deep and vulnerable part of ourselves.
It’s a very intelligent way to cope with insecurity and low self esteem.
When I think about resilience, I think about the ability to keep breathing in uncomfortable situations: you know when you are in a – not really comfy – Yin Yoga pose and you think “I can’t stay here any longer”, but you stay focused on the breath and magically your body opens up?
That moment is like stopping at your limit and checking if you can stay a bit longer, while you keep breathing. In that moment, you are building up your resilience. It’s about playing with your limits, and stretching them further and further.
Ps: if that position causes you pain or you are hurting yourself, it means that you overcame your limit, that you went too far and that’s not resilience.
External and Internal Support
As life is all about balance, when we are going through a tough situation, we need to cultivate balance between asking external support and cultivating an inner garden of resourceful tools.
We are not mean to walk alone in this life and when we realise that our need of support has not been met, we can:
- seek for professional help regarding our mental health
- call our best friends, family – speak our truth: I need help
As Bill Withers says:
“Please swallow your pride
If I have things you need to borrow
For no one can fill those of your needs
That you won’t let show”
And at the same time, we can nourish a self reflective practice such as Yoga, to build bricks after bricks our Support Center.
My biggest learning curve about resilience was – and still is – my expat journey.
Little I know how violent the process of cultural shock, integration and acculturation can be. At a certain point it was clear to me that, if I wanted to keep my sanity I had to keep practicing and ask for help. I called my previous therapist back in Italy (holy Luigi) and we started weekly sessions for 6 months.
Luigi, if you are reading – I am grateful beyond measure :)
Yoga as an orientation map – Discovering Pillars of inner strength
As I said several times, Yoga is not only a physical practice – but it’s an awareness journey, through yourself to get to know your inner Self, the higher Self, and you get in contact with a deep and resourceful power.
Through my experience and what I saw through my students, different Yoga practices can build resilience and inner strength.
With asana practice we can explore and test our physical limit zone, with Pranayama and Meditation we can develop and nourish our Self- awareness and with Journaling we can let out on paper our inner universe and find what we need.
What my experience on and off the Mat taught me, it’s that my inner resources are always available for me, if I dedicate time daily, to plant seeds and nourish them – they can bloom like in a flourishing Garden (spoiler alert: that’s Why I called my company Corpo Giardino – Yoga Practices).
Imagine that Yoga is your orientation Map, it guides you where you need – if you are willing to listen, humbly. It can guide you to resources/pillars connected to use while navigating difficult situations.
Here’s my 3 pillars:
- The courage to be present with what I am feeling and speaking out my truth. To my eyes, becoming vulnerable is one of the highest forms of strength and resilience. Thank you Brenè Brown!
- Being able to keep breathing in the unknown and uncertainty. Who is not afraid of darkness, emptiness or the unknown? We all are, and we develop brilliant strategies to avoid the gut feeling of anxiety. But when I move step by step, am patient and go with the ride, I truly become the rider of my boat in the open sea. Nothing is forever, energetically after a period of contraction, there is a period of expansion. TRUST. Spring always comes after Winter.
And now, the most important questions: what are your 3 pillars for inner strength and resilience? On what can you rely on in difficult times? Is it already clear to you or still a discovery? Never underestimate the power of your words, they can inspire others.
Would you love to discover it with Yoga, and go deeper in this process?
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Together we will explore our power house, how to wake up your inner strength and train it.
Enjoy and with deep gratitude,
Photo by KoolShooters from Pexels