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Building Resilience

"I can be changed by what happens to me. But I refuse to be reduced by it”

Maya Angelou

One of the benefits of a regular yoga practice is that it helps us build resilience - not just in our physical bodies and our immune systems but also in our capacity to return to a state of equilibrium when we are knocked off centre.

Resilience is “the strength and speed to which you respond to adversity” (Cheryl Sandberg). In those moments when things go awry how quickly can you recover and come back to a state of equanimity? Finding the strength to face challenges and remembering that permanence is a trap and nothing is wholly good or bad.

Resilience has become really with psychologists over recent years - more than just persevering it involves developing an outlook to stay focused on what is important. Clearly defining what is important to you as opposed to what is most urgent can you keep yourself from being swept away by negative emotions. Resilience is something we can build through yoga and meditation where we perhaps get a glimpse of how it feels to press pause before we react and choose to act instead and in this way we gradually stop being hostage to our emotional state and recognise that we do have a choice in how we respond to external events. Furthermore, as acts of self care, yoga and meditation “fill” us up energetically rather than deplete us.

In the words of the famous Serenity prayer, quoted in AA meetings, by Reinhold Niebuhr:

God grant me the serenity to accept the things that cannot change, the courage to change the things that can and the wisdom to know the difference.

And if you are in ANY doubt of how resilient you are cast your mind back three years ago to when we were being told there was a possibility of us being locked up for a "few weeks” to flatten the curve ……..

Toilet Paper

How many rolls of toilet paper

will make you safe?

How many bottles of Purell?

How much peanut butter or pasta,

bread or beer?

How much money will make you secure?

Ten thousand dollars? A million?

A billion dollars and a yacht?

At what point do you say

"I have what I need'?

Ask the Buddha. He says

It is the nature of all things to change.

It is the nature of all beings to suffer.

It is the nature of all beings to die.

How many rolls will make you safe?

Wouldn't it better if you, yourself,

were multi-layered, and soft, and strong?

Lynn Ungar

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