Vive La Reslience
with a simple statement of fact: times are uncertain. Actually, who are we
kidding? Times are crazy; this whole year has pretty much been just…crazy. Some
days it feels like we’ve all been sprinting towards an ever-moving finish line and
can’t manage to catch our breath.
The global pandemic is affecting all areas of our lives. It has changed the way we work and socialise, it influences our every decision-making process. Everyone – even those who have managed to hold onto a fair chunk of ‘normality’- is stressed and the relentlessness of it all is taking its toll on our mental well-being.
One of the biggest contributors to anxiety is lack of control. Unfortunately, it is safe to say that we currently have very little control over our situation; nor can we count of being given clear instructions from someone who does. However, on a small and personal scale, we can claim back some agency. We can establish new rituals and practices that will increase our ability to cope. Yoga, in so many ways, can be a powerful tool to combat the challenges around us.
Regular yoga practise comes in all kinds of shapes. It can mean daily classes or coming to practise once or twice a week (on mats placed a safe distance apart, of course); but no matter how you fit your yoga practise into your day or your week, it can help re-establish a sense of control. Yoga allows us time to centre back to our Self and have some important time out to re-center and breathe.
With chaos raging around us, yoga can help unleash some much-needed super-powers. The simple act of focusing on our breathing and a sequence of poses like in our Vinyasa Flow, no matter your individual level of flexibility and strength, can relief a surprising amount of stress. It’s true that yoga doesn’t remove the stress factors themselves from our lives; however, it offers an option to disengage from them for a while. Something as simple as a mental time-out can go a long way to build resilience and self-empowerment. It can make us feel stronger and leave us feeling better prepared to cope.
Sleep, another huge contributing factor to our physical and mental well-being, can also be improved through regular yoga practise. Being physically active each day has long been proven to increase our chances of a good night’s rest; and yoga combines exercise with a practise of disciplining the mind. The meditative aspect of practising Vinyasa, Yin, Restorative or Slow Flow yoga can help calm our thoughts when they want to set off rambling into the night; meaning you will actually wake up refreshed and ready to take on the challenges of the new day.
After months of lockdowns, self-isolation and social distancing, many of us are feeling strangely disconnected. Interactions we never questioned are not subject of strict scrutiny and this can at times feel draining. The beauty of yoga is that is can help us reconnect on a number of levels. Firstly, yoga practise is a perfect “team sport” in terms of social distancing; so it can offer a shared experience without any of the risks other physical activities might carry. Secondly, yoga practise allows you to reconnect with yourself, turn your gaze inwards for a while and find the light inside.
Let’s end with a statement of fact (for symmetry’s sake): times are crazy. There is no telling how long the corona madness will last, no telling of what new shapes it might take. But in the meantime, one thing is certain: we can come to our yoga mat every day, close our eyes, breathe, find balance and the strength to continue to strengthen from within.