Yoga and Resilience

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Happy 2019!

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
‘Cause I walk like I’ve got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I’ll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don’t you take it awful hard
‘Cause I laugh like I’ve got gold mines
Diggin’ in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I’ve got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history’s shame
I rise
Up from a past that’s rooted in pain
I rise
I’m a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

- Maya Angelou

Resilience how well a person can adapt to the events in their life. A person with good resilience has the ability to bounce back more quickly and with less stress than someone whose resilience is less developed.

We all have resilience. It’s just a question of how much and how well you put it to good use in your life. We still feel the intensity of the event or problem. But instead of letting it get the better of us, it just means that find a good way of dealing with it more quickly than someone who has lower resilience.

2019 will no doubt bring with it its trials and tribulations, so it can only help us to develop our resilience muscle.  Like any human skill, we just need to have the willingness to do so.

So, here are some tips on what we can do …

  1. Cultivate good, positive relationships that will provide us with reassurance and encouragement when times get tough
  2. Develop a positive view of ourselves and confidence in our strengths and abilities
  3. Make realistic plans, and then carry out our plans
  4. Learn to effectively manage our feelings and impulses
  5. Actively work to improving our communication skills
  6. Actively work to improving our problem solving skills
  7. Practice conscious movement, because when we rush through the practice we skip important details, lose connection to breath and perpetuate this “go, go, go!” pace that already plagues our lives
  8. Meditate on an image, or a phrase that will help us through any challenging time
  9. Breathe!

Building better resilience takes time, effort, commitment, and focus. Use your yoga practice to take time: time to breathe, time to move with the breath, time to feel the pose, time to acknowledge where we are and who we are. The pauses in between the Poses are important here, as they allow us the opportunity to reflect, and then decide on a path and means to move forwards to the next Pose or Sequence.

Know also that these times will pass and we will rise, stronger in spirit and in heart. Adversity is alchemy. When we surrender to the fires of adversity, we start to sense a deeper purpose behind our troubles. When we live our lives from the inside out, we will realise a force within ourselves that will transform our sense of self.

 

Bottoms Up

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Can you believe it’s June, and we’re almost half way through 2018?

This month’s Yoga Practice is about getting your bottom up!  And, it’s all about cultivating a different perspective on life.

So often, we go about our daily activities as a matter of routine.  We even approach our fitness training and yoga practice the same way.  Don’t get me wrong; we do mix up our training programme or our actual yoga practice.  Also, our days are varied, and we even mix up what we eat.

What we perhaps don’t mix up is how we do things.

Humans are essentially creatures of habit, and routine is good for us.  What yoga practice encourages us to do, is come to recognise habitual thought processes, because the way we think and approach something, is the way we think and approach anything.

Some of us have, as one of our business coaches says, “below the line” thinking, whilst others have “above the line” thinking.  Are we problems solvers or victims?

And, I see this in class, with the people I coach to be instructors and those I meet through networking and just randomly through life.

So this month’s yoga practice is about tipping the balance and getting a different perspective.  By having your head below your bottom, e.g. in a standing forward bend, or headstand, or downward dog, not only is your muscles having to work differently because gravitational pull on the body is different, but our thought processes have to function differently to cope with the change in balance and perception.

My intention is that by practicing this for the month, we can take this change of perception off the mat and into our lives.

Start thinking differently.

Like you would catch yourself losing your balance and even falling when practising inversions, catch yourself giving the same responses to certain questions or situations.

Are you a person who always says “no”, only to change your mind later?

Or perhaps you’re a “yes” person?

How about for the next 30 days, say the opposite to what you normally would say?

Who knows where that may lead you?

Have a great month!

I’m Fat!

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Yup!

That was one of the first things my mom said to me when I landed in Bangkok a couple of weeks ago.

“You’re fat.”

“You need to watch the middle-age spread.”

In the Chinese language, there isn’t a politically correct way of stating things like this.  You can’t say, “Oh, you’ve filled out a little.”  Or, “You’ve put a bit of weight.”

And, people in the Far East are just more direct.

What I love about it is that what they say is to the point.  It saves time, and it’s not personal.  It’s stating a fact.

Am I “fat” as we think fat is in the west?

No.

Has my body shape changed in the past 6-12 months?

Yes, it has.

I had a really bad shoulder injury, which restricted what exercise I could do.

My hormones are all over the place as I approach menopause.

I have been busy building our businesses, and therefore, haven’t exercised as much as I could (injury, or no injury).

Fact.

Truth.

Yes, it does make you wince when someone speaks the truth, but there’s no point arguing, or trying to come up with an excuse.

Own it and move on.

Either choose to do something about it, or let it go.

What truth have you been confronted with recently?