2022 has started with a renewed sense of hope even though we all still grapple with the COVID pandemic and we wonder about its longer term implications. The past 2 years have been a time of tension, fear, anger and exhaustion for many and no doubt we will be feeling the effects of this pandemic for some time. How can yoga help?
One of the best things about a yoga practice and lifestyle is its capacity to keep you in the present. As you stretch and move into postures you can focus on breath, the sensations in the body and your emotional state. When we do this the body has a chance to move from the flight and fight response to the rest and recover response. By practising breathing techniques you can learn to calm your breathing and therefore your response to changing stimuli.
If you tune in to the natural rhythms of your body you will find that quiet space that is so essential for maintaining equanimity.
Some practices you could try:
- breathing deeply in child’s pose
- sighing out the breath as you swing your arms forward from a standing position
- resting in Shavasana or legs up the wall
- using a bolster to support your spine and open your chest in any of the reclined poses like Supta Bhada Konasana
- constructive rest – lying on your back and using the seat of a chair for your lower legs keeping the knees at right angles
How can yoga help us to instill hope and resilience ? By becoming grounded and strong you can connect to the earth and its rhythms. We can feel the impermanence of all things and learn to adjust to the changes and challenges that life presents us with.
The seven principles of resilience can be interpreted through yoga
- Cultivate a Belief in Your Ability to Cope. ( you become aware of your physical self, mental self and emotional self – using your resolve or sankalpa to guide you)
- Stay Connected With Sources of Support. (a yogic community offers support in the practices of yoga and a yogic perspective on things that happen)
- Talk About What You’re Going Through. ( a yogic community allows one to share life experiences )
- Be Helpful to Others. ( by practising Karma yoga ..the yoga of service )
- Activate Positive Emotion (through the chanting of mantra)
- Cultivate an Attitude of Survivor-ship ( developing confidence in yourself)
- Seek Meaning ( spending time in meditation )
Thanks Karen – your post is certainly right on point. 2022 has brought more fear and exhaustion. We thought we had turned a corner with vaccinations, only to be hit with “let it rip” policies. But I have started concentrating on how my body feels as I move into each posture, staying there a little longer and focusing on my breath. Is it coming from deep in my belly or up in my throat and chest. It does help me start the day a little calmer and more confident – so thank you.