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Resilience When Dealing With Change

There's always room for improvement ...

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The thought of resilience popped up in my mind this week as I was experiencing a particularly trying time dealing with a situation that really tested my resolve ...

In the yoga world, resilience is often mentioned as a benefit from regular practice!

In the yoga world, resilience is often mentioned as a benefit from regular practice!

copyright: byheaven / 123rf

One of my yoga teachers, Kristin Weber of Subtle Yoga coincidentally spoke about resilience in one of her posts this week and she referenced the 5 C's: Calm, Clarity, Connection, Competence and Courage. So, before I share my story, let's look at the meaning of the word resilience.

The Oxford Dictionary provide the following definitions:

  1. the ability of people or things to feel better quickly after something unpleasant, such as shock, injury, etc

  2. the ability of a substance to return to its original shape after it has been bent, stretched, or pressed

My explanation is that it's the ability to bounce back. From what? Well, that could be from many things, and because we are all different what may seem as nothing to one person may be challenging to another due to their personal experiences and frames of reference.

What brought me to thoughts of resilience this week were a couple of things. Firstly, I started a new job that is a perfect fit for my current situation and it is therefore very important that I make a success of it. So lots of pressure there.

And a week ago, my 20-year old step-granddaughter came to stay with me for a while as she lost her job as an airhostess due to Coronavirus. So that's all about change.

The final straw was my challenged little rescue dog, in his despair of other dogs, picked up the scent of an innocent Labrador. He ran in front of me which caused me to fall to the ground and let go of his lead. This was his chance and off he went across the road to attack the Labrador.

The owner was kind, despite the fact that her young children had been very upset by the whole situation. There was no blood or serious injury to either of the dogs, but the thing that really pushed me to my edge was that a neighbour asked if I am thinking of having him put down.

Anyone reading this may think that's a bit OTT, but I understand where this person was coming from because my dog comes across (euphemism) very aggressively. He has been in my care for a year now. He came with a skin condition, eating disorders and massive insecurities. Although he is better, we still have miles to go. The dog training had to stop during lockdown which probably impacted him and my ability to aid his recovery.

Just the thought of that option made my heart shatter into a million pieces because if I am honest with myself, I am his last chance, and what if it turns out I am not the right owner for him?

Where to from here then? Apart from putting in place the obvious solutions such as communicating clearly and empathetically with my new lodger and going back to dog training as soon as possible, I had to bounce back!

It was on my early morning walk two days later that I realised my mind was calmer, clearer and I felt more competent and courageous to deal with all that was going on in a way that could work for all parties.

That made me ponder on how this positive reaction happened and I thought about my yoga practice and Kristin's yoga teaching of holding a pose for three breaths to build resilience in the nervous system. I often include this holding of a pose for three breaths in my practice.

Once again coming back to the breath; as per one of my previous posts, Breath: Your Prana or Life Force. I realise that there is resilience and it allows me to become aware of my reactions and inner feelings which gives me the space for reflection before reacting. I say this with a reminder to myself that perfection does not exist and it is a journey.

"Hence, there's always room for improvement!"

In her article, Bouncing back Building Resilience through yoga, Madu Hardasmalani confirms that, "Pushing ourselves during yoga practice to hold a pose when it seems we have reached our limit helps develop emotional resilience over time".

Sally Kempton, in Bouncing Back: Yoga to Improve Emotional Health puts the difference that yoga makes so beautifully when she says, "Yoga often provides people with a powerful experience of inner tranquility. Knowing that such a state exists - and that they can get there - has given countless yoga students the support to move through difficult times." She goes on to say that resilience is not just a set of skills.

"Resilience comes from our contact with the clear core of egoless awareness!"

Awareness is such a big part of what yoga brings into our lives on so many levels and, with that acknowledgement, also the ability to let go of that which holds us back. So, with that in mind, I close with my favourite Yama affirmation, Ahimsa - "Be kind to yourself, to others and the universe".

Until next time ...


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About Anne Marie Tovey ...


Anne Marie completed an 18-month yoga teacher training through Yoga Campus in London in February 2020 to share the magical benefits of yoga with others.

She also recently completed a PTSD and Yoga4Health certifications through The Minded Institute to help people dealing with trauma and those who want to start a healthier lifestyle through yoga.

Helping business owners to create a supportive working environment that will have a positive impact on their business. The benefits, that flow from the holistic and systemic approach from yoga, will have a rippling effect on the health of all employees, their families, their communities and all stakeholders from the bottom up and equally from the top down.


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