One of the definitions that I like best for yoga is that yoga is the science of transformation, and for resilience is that it is the ability to return to a state of well-being after a crisis, trauma, change, challenge, disappointment or loss of any kind. Our resilience depends on how we integrate, interpret and respond to our experiences, process our feelings, and make sense of our journeys. The stories we tell, the support systems we have, and the tools and practices we utilize can make a big difference. Resilience is not a linear journey. Resilience is a process that is learned, built, and developed over the course of a lifetime.
Yoga and Resilience
Yoga, and yoga combined with tools and practices from psychology, contemplative practice, spiritual care, and science can support us in cultivating resilience by helping us to rewire our nervous systems and neural pathways for deep and lasting transformation. Through practice we learn to calm the sympathetic nervous systems designed for flight, fight, or freeze, which causes stress and to activate the parasympathetic nervous system responsible for rest, which promotes relaxation and inner peace.
In addition, through yoga and meditation we train our attention and cultivate awareness. In doing so, we strengthen our ability to observe and respond rather than react to our pleasant and unpleasant sensations, feelings, and memories on and off the yoga mat. Through awareness we have more choices about where we place our attention. Then we can train our minds to look for the positive, rather than its biological bias toward survival and scanning for the negative. By training our attention, we see new possibilities and experience greater resilience.