I left you with a cliffhanger last week! If you haven’t attended any of my classes, those of you still anxiously waiting to find out what my 2022 word of the year is, the word is resilience. Resilience is our ability to successfully adapt to adversity, to recover or adjust to challenges and change. Of course, we know life is about change, and we face it every day, so our ability to bounce back is important. This year it’s been critical. Resilience is about facing those obstacles, the difficulties in our journey (on and off the mat), and having the capacity to not only spring back but to continue to live our life with grace, ease and equanimity.
These past almost 2 years have provided all us the opportunities to face situations that cause stress and anxiety and to be in positions that can lead us to resilience. Resilience is important because it gives us the strength needed to process and overcome adversity. When we lack resilience, we are easily overwhelmed, feeling helpless and, because of that, we may turn to unhealthy mechanisms to cope. The good news is resilience can be learned. It doesn’t mean figuring out how to grin and bear it or simply get over it. It’s certainly not about learning to avoid the challenge or resist the change. Building resilience is a practice and a process (just like yoga). Using flexibility and the ability to go with the flow to reframe thought patterns and learn to tap into a strengths-based approach to working with the challenge.
What I love about resilience is that it involves so many qualities that we nurture and strengthen when we face hardship or challenge. Resilience isn’t a fixed trait. It involves flexibility, adaptability, perseverance, compassion, gratitude, acceptance, confidence, competence, connection, self-awareness, mindfulness, optimism, self-care, strength (physical, emotional and mental), self-worth, equanimity, insight, composure, and love. It’s very interesting that I have talked and taught about all of these characteristics over the years as themes in my classes. This leads me to realize there is no better or safer place to build resilience than on your mat. Yoga offers us the tools for resilience. It provides us with a means to cultivate all these qualities that are necessary to achieve resilience. Through our yoga practice, we breathe. We use our breath to intentionally inhale something positive into our being, and when we exhale, we let go of whatever might get in the way of that positive intention. We keep our priorities in check. We learn to let go more and worry less. We gain physical, mental and spiritual fortitude. When we focus our energy on our asana and our breathing on our mat no matter what is swirling around us or within us, we are nourishing ourselves, we are learning to be centered, we are training ourselves to remain calm, we are building balance and equanimity and we are cultivating resilience.
I look forward to seeing you on your mat this week in any of our in-studio or online classes where you can cultivate all these qualities that help develop and strengthen your resilience.
As always, thank you for reading my musings. Namaste, Leslie