Times can be hard, with the economy the way it is & trying to make ends meet, we can feel overwhelmed & under motivated. But just as the economy will bounce back, so can we. We have the capacity to be resilient.
Taken from the article by Sally Kempton http://www.yogajournal.com/article/health/bouncing-back/
(a great read on the subject & motivation for this blog) “The very sound of the word resilience captures its bouncy, rubbery quality. Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary defines it as “an ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change”; psychiatrist Frederick Flach describes it as “the psychological and biological strengths required to successfully master change (emphasis added).””
Yoga teaches us techniques of awareness both mentally & physically, but as an added benefit we see also can connect with the Spiritual side of ourselves.
In the article noted above, Sally Kempton states there are 3 keys to resilience, Tapas (discipline), Svadhyaya (self study) & Ishvara pranidhana (surrender to the Divine (or reality)). Each in itself is a way to find resilience, but together, they help connect to our whole self to be resilient.
When I took these ideas into my practice, I connected how they could relate to my body & mind, and energetically to the chakras.
I love the idea of the chakras, 7 main energy centres, described by Anodea Judith, author of Wheels of Life, as “ the sacred energy centers within you that carry you toward greater aliveness and realization. As the architecture of the soul, they provide an important map for your wholeness and evolution” From this point of view, the chakras are a way to cultivate resilience.
When I look at the chakras, I often see the lower 3 chakras as more physical, the upper 3 as more spiritual & the heart as the centre, a way to merge the lower & upper together so they are more in balance. Ultimately, we realize body & Spirit are not separate aspects of ourself, but see we are a combination of them both.
The 1st charka, Root (earth), the 2nd, Sacral (water) & 3rd, Solar Plexus (fire), they relate to the elements. These 3 elements can be changed & effected by each other. As a group, these 3 chakras are more our physical connections & the 3rd, the Solar Plexus is our place of our will, which is needed to facilitate discipline. But the 3rd is also a plexus of nerves sometimes called the emotional brain. So discipline is not just about the body, but the emotions & mind. But discipline a tricky place, if we don’t stay the course, which will inevitably happen, we can have self judgement & that can derail our process. So the heart centre or the 4th chakra is needed to temper the idea of discipline so we can be compassionate to ourselves when things go wrong.
The 4th chakra, heart centre, I feel is the place of self study. When we see the work we need to do from a place of compassion, empathy, gratitude & love, we can see how we are living or not living by these ideas. So self study from a heart centred place allow us not to be so judgemental when we observe we are less than perfect. That we can study ourselves inside & out & still be ok with what we find.
The upper 3 chakras, 5th, throat (communication), 6th, third eye (visualization) & 7th, crown (connection to spirit/energy), are less solid & more of a Spiritual connection. So when we look for help when we are struggling, we often look to a higher power for comfort or answers. We might call that God, energy, Spirit, Sally Kempton, in her article, even says it could be reality “the life energy that flows through every circumstance and makes things happen the way they do.” Our mind makes sense of what we feel in our body, mind & Spiritual self & has a big part of why we are resilient or not. Our connection to to how we speak, see & “know”, happens through all of these things & in our yoga practice, we can connect all of these ideas.
In our yoga practice, we connect with all of the chakras physically & energetically. The physical body through grounding & strength, our emotions with an open the heart space (chest) & our energy by lengthening from our feet up through the neck & crown. We can find the balance, of strength, openness & reach for something higher that not only helps our body to feel more balance, but our inner self as well.
When all 3 of these ideas are working, we become able to handle what comes our way with more awareness using our whole self, body, heart, mind & spirit. With our practice, we are cultivating the tools needed to bounce back from anything, to be resilient to what life brings our way.
Anne Cox E-RYT 500