1. the capacity to recover quickly from difficulties; toughness.
During one of the last retreats a student asked me: "what is this all about?" Unbeknown to her this was one of the most profound questions a student had ever asked me. One of those ones that make you think: why am I doing this & what am I trying to transmit. It led me to the question what do I want most in life. To which my answer was & is to be able to have a clean & clear mind no matter what the situation, to be resilient to whatever life brings you. Here are 5 practices which I use to "try" and achieve this state.
(Try between apostrophe as in many situations I am clearly not there yet ;-) )
“Yoga does not just change the way we see things, it transforms the person who sees.” B.K.S. Iyengar
Each of us might have a different reason why we want to start practicing Yoga / Asana: a healhty body; relaxed mind; fitness; spirituality. Whatever it is it's all valid. When I started practicing Yoga for me the main attraction was combining the physical aspect with the philosphical one and also I really wanted to do all does amazingly difficult poses that mesmerized me :-)
I have now come to realise that practicing Asana brings so much more than all the above. It literally brings resilience. How? In my experience when I started with practicing asana, certain ones that seemed very difficult at the time brought me tunnel vision, even a bit of anxiety and a state of "I want to get out of here". Now does same poses bring me ease & lightness. There are of course now new poses to contend with, which give different sensations of constriction in mind & body. But what this has brought me so far is space, space to realise that in tough situations I am ok, I just need to breathe, relax and trust without any expectations.
“The little things? The little moments? They aren’t little.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn
Studies show that the more mindfulness meditation you practice, the more resilient your brain becomes. Mindfulness helps us put some space between ourselves and our reactions, breaking down our conditioned responses.
There are so many ways to implement mindfulness in to your day to day life. And actually all of the practices I talk about are mindfull in one way or another. But start with the easy stuff: Set aside some time (a few minutes a day is already enough) wherever you are to observe the present moment as it is. Do not try to quiet the mind but just observe your feelings, sensations without any judgement. For instance when you wake up before getting out of bed, take a moment and ask yourself "how am I feeling today" without wanting to change anything, just feel. If you find yourself wandering, return to observing the present moment as it is. Our minds often get carried away in thought. That’s why mindfulness is the practice of returning, a gain and again, to the present moment.
For more on mindfulness check:
(this is the website of Liz our very own mindfulness teacher during the
retreats :-) )
(is a great website and a place to go for insight, information, and inspiration to help us all live more mindfully.)
HEALTHY FOOD, HEALTHY MIND
Think about it. Your brain is always “on.” It takes care of your thoughts and movements, your breathing and heartbeat, your senses — it works hard 24/7, even while you’re asleep. This means your brain requires a constant supply of fuel. That “fuel” comes from the foods you eat — and what’s in that fuel makes all the difference. Put simply, what you eat directly affects the structure and function of your brain and, ultimately, your mood.
CONNECT TO NATURE
Resilience is all about connection: Deeper connection with our self, deeper connections with each other, and deeper connection with nature. Deeper nature connection can be a source of nourishment, empowerment, and wisdom. It can help us to live fully present in our times. How? Practise ‘friluftsliv’:-)‘Friluftsliv’ is a Norwegian term that roughly translates as ‘free air life’. It’s a lifestyle idea that promotes outdoor activity as being good for all aspects of human health. It’s pretty straightforward – just be outside as much as possible. Work it into your schedule by committing to being in nature for a minimum amount of time every day, or a certain number of days a month.
"neurons that fire together, wire together."
Use mindfulness to shift your attention from negative rumination to more positive thoughts about the future. Hope and optimism is a choice. Avoid seeing crises as insurmountable. You can’t change the fact that very stressful events happen, but you can learn to change your responses to that. The tiniest of changes counts.
Want to plunge yourself for a week into a combination of all these practices. There are still 3 spaces left for the November retreat of this year!