Helping yourself, easier said than done. So, how does it actually work? Often, we’re hoping for someone else to fix things. People like friends, family, our partner or of course, our pet. Most of the times that is perfectly alright and leaves us feeling supporttet and safe. But right now, in times of a pandemic, things change. We often cannot be around people we feel good with. Right now, more than ever, it’s a gift that we’re able to manage our own thoughts. It’s our own responsibility to build resilience, to stay motivated, and to calm ourselves down. Building resilience through yoga is possible. We want to show you how.
Resilience is like bamboo swinging in the wind
Resilience is the power that you’re building within. Picture bamboo in the wind: resilient, yet flexible. The same way you strengthen and keep your body flexible in your asana practice, you can train your mind through special exercises, such as meditation. Yoga can help you be calmer and more concentrated. The clarity you feel after your physical and mental yoga practice can help you to consciously embrace light and positivity into your life. Don’t worry, meditation does not always include sitting in complete silence. Often it is rather focussed on controlling your own thoughts. We prepared two exercises that can help you strengthen your mind and build resilience through yoga.
Inner strength is more important than ever
Right now we are in lockdown number two, social distancing and wearing a mask is part of our daily routines. Still, Covid-19 is an ongoing challenge that we’re facing. We are counting the days until we can hug our beloved ones again. Do you feel the same? Our everyday life has changed. Of course, we’re giving our best to keep ourselves and our fellow humans safe. But that does not mean it’s always easy for us, is it? Not at all. Just the way you’re feeling right now is okay. Every single one of your emotions is completely okay. With the following two exercises we want to show you that you can build inner strength, resilience through yoga, by yourself.
Exercise No. 1 for Resilience through Yoga: Journaling for self-care
You need: a yoga mat, journal or sheet of paper, pen, 15 minutes
Right now self-care is even more important than usual. Is it a no-brainer for you to define your own needs? Are you listening to your inner voice regularly? If you feel like it, why not take some time to do so today. 15 minutes can already do the job. Roll out your yoga mat, lay down in Savasana, close your eyes, monitor your breath for 2-3 minutes. Just relax and follow you in- and exhales. Try not to evaluate your breathing, observe. Let new thoughts wander by and also don’t judge those. Let your thoughts be. Let your thoughts turn into clouds and let them fly away. Allow yourself to be fully present in this very moment, and bring your attention back to your breathing as soon as your mind wanders off. Feel how you’re breathing cold air in through your nose, warm air out through your nose. Again and again. Feel how your yoga mat carries you and allows you to just be. After 2-3 minutes, pull your knees towards your chest, lay your forehead against your knees, hug yourself tight, stay here for as long as you’re feeling cozy and safe. After that, come into a position that you’re comfortable writing in. Maybe sitting up or laying on your stomach on your yoga mat?
Take your sheet of paper or journal and a pen
Guide your mind towards self-care and how you can be good to yourself Always write down the question first, then, without judging, write down your intuitive answers. 1. What are the small everyday life things that feel so good? 2. What makes me feel strong? Which ritual leaves me feeling strong? 3. So, what can I do to feel good and strong? 4. How do I plan to integrate more of those things and rituals into my everyday life and make them a constant part of my days?
Allow yourself to formulate a strategy to invite bliss and strength into your life. Give meaning to all the beautiful small things that are possible in the comfort of your own home right now. Do you enjoy taking a hot bath, eating a nourishing soup, reading a romantic novel, regularly doing yoga, putting on some lotion, or simply cuddling your pet? Don’t judge your intuitive ideas, embrace them, integrate them into your life. After having answered all the questions and formulating your bliss-strategy, lay aside your pen and journal and come back onto your back, into Savasana. Once again, let your yoga mat carry you. One more time, pull your knees towards your forehead, hug yourself, smile. Thank yourself for taking the time for no one but yourself. You invested in your own happiness and that is one of the most precious things you can do for yourself. If you’re feeling like hugging yourself again during one of these long lockdown-days, do it! And then remember your personal bliss-strategy and all the small and powerful things that feel good to you. You are strong!
Exercise No.2 for resilience through yoga: Protected by light, a meditation
Ask your lockdown-partner or flatmate to read this exercise to you and take turns. This also works via telephone.
Find silence on your yoga mat. Choose a comfortable seat. Decide whether that’s the lotus seat, the half-lotus seat, or the Japanese squat. Feel free to sit on a bolster or block for more comfort and a beautifully lengthened spine. Feel your seating bones, lengthen your back. Breathe in through your nose, out through your mouth. Repeat multiple times. Then continue to breathe gently through your nose. Close your eyes and imagine being surrounded by a bright light. Visualize how the light shines bright and surrounds you fully.
Picture the golden light around you to act as a protective shield. While still breathing gently through your nose, picture the bright, golden light to fully surround you. Take your time picturing it. Then, try to imagine the light turning even brighter and more golden with every breath you take. Each breath creates more safety. Once you have fully pictured the bright light surrounding you, try visualizing your worries outside that bright light. Don’t let your fears, stresses, anxieties and viruses enter into that golden light. Repeat that thought and enjoy the feeling of warmth and safety that fills you up. Repeat the affirmation ‘I am strong’. Inhale ‘I am’, exhale ‘strong’. Take your time repeating the affirmation. You can repeat this exercise whenever you’re seeking safety. This can be on your yoga mat or basically wherever you are.
The strength you are building within
You can repeat these exercises whenever you wish to strengthen your mind. We hope to inspire you to unfold the strength, the resilience, that you have within yourself. We wrote another blog post to explain how your nutrition influences your mind. Interesting how our food can have an effect on our mind, isn’t it?
Foto Credits: Isabel Winckler