Resilience and Covid – A Yoga Therapy perspective

Yoga Therapy Melbourne

There is little doubt that the Covid pandemic…

which entered our world and consciousness early in 2020, has shaken some if not all of our beliefs and inner stability. Yoga Therapy, where the intention is to bridge the gap between yoga practices and the bio-psycho-social-spiritual model of health and wholeness, has never been more relevant.

As a student of Yoga and also a Practitioner, cultivating (for myself) and teaching (others) a sustainable pathway, is quite a challenge.

To simply ‘pull up your big girl pants and get on with it’, is not the way.

Short term changes become superficial with something as virulent as Covid, whose strains keep changing to keep us on our toes! We believe we have created some systemic adjustment, only to be tripped up again.

Learning to bake sourdough bread really does not cut it.

Skin-deep resilience (Bailey-Kroll, c-IAYT)..

suggests that good psychological and educational skills are enough for long term physical health. However research shows that using self-control and self-reliance is demanding for our bodies to sustain and triggers long term activation of stress hormones.

In other words ‘muscling through it’ creates ongoing chronic stress in our body and mind.

However is it not the stress that is harmful..

but our perception of this stress that matters. In other words..

if you perceive that stress will increase your risk of illness or premature death, it will!

Recent thinking (backed by research) shows that it is this ‘experience’ of our stress alone that affects health. Creating resilient pathways has never been more crucial.

Brene Brown…

in her landmark research on vulnerability, shame and resilience found that our capacity to ‘lean into’ discomfort, uncertainty, without blame or disconnection to our Self or others, enhances a resilient path together.

The ‘real’ tools of resilience are to embrace uncertainty, discomfort, impermanence. 

Michael Ungar PhD in his work on resilience-building programs found four main predictors of resilience:

  1. Access to basic material resources
  2. A strong sense of identity and culture
  3. Relationships that promote social belonging
  4. The experience of control and social justice

We can see that resilience is not purely a trait…

It is not something we learn in a class or online via YouTube. It is not something that we can only cultivate on our own.

The techniques in Yoga Therapy invite you to become independent and…

  • develop intentional ‘mind’ skills like meditation (brain/body approaches). This invites observation, not reaction, in the moment. Such as, rather than ‘my body is in pain’, noting that ‘I am holding resistance, maybe anger’.
  • learn body to mind approaches, like breathing and movement practice. These invite connection and compassion, by directly affecting your calm nervous system. Outcomes include positive effects on stress hormones, mood, brain grey matter – improving sleep, memory, thinking.
  • encourages you in resilient steps towards, not away, from uncertain sensations, situations, thoughts, beliefs.

Covid like other life uncertainties is not going away…

Yoga Therapy supports you in developing your own skills for effective change, within a supportive relationship and network. Experience Yoga, whilst part of a small, local community, offers you a place and a space to come, learn and be as you are.

Discover how together, Yoga Therapy can bring you on a path towards a more resilient Self and in community.

I’d love you to comment with your thoughts below or contact me about how Yoga Therapy can help you!

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Caroline Giles Experience yoga studio melbourne

I’m Caroline Giles, a Yoga Therapist and Yoga Teacher, and the owner of Experience Yoga. I’m inspired to teach you practices of yoga for health, well-being and wholeness. My students are the everyday person like you and me. They come to create strength, vitality, inner peace and courage in their life through the practices of yoga.

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