Resilience has become a buzzword during this pandemic. It has suddenly become a necessary set of skills for survival. For Filipinos, resilience has become a contested and highly politicized concept, especially when it is romanticized in the face of the very inefficient response of the government to the global health crisis we are confronted with.
But what is resilience, really? How important is it for our own personal and spiritual growth? And how can we build resilience through our yoga practice?
Resilience is defined as the ability to recover from difficult experiences and setbacks, to adapt, move forward, and experience growth. For me, resilience is the result of building mental strength over time.
Some of the characteristics that resilient people share include the following: 1) a positive, realistic outlook, 2) a moral compass, 3) a belief in something greater than themselves, 4) altruism, 5) the ability to accept what cannot be changed, 6) a sense of purpose, and 7) a social support system.
Having none of these right now does not mean you cannot be resilient. Remember that resilience is built over time. The good thing is all of these characteristics can be developed through the practice of yoga.
In yoga, we believe in the inherent divinity of each and everyone of us. Beyond our ego is our true nature that transcends our limited experience in our own bodies and extends towards a sense of community with others.
The work of yoga also helps us determine our dharma, or our sense of purpose. When our work is meaningful, it gives us the mental strength to keep going even when the going gets tough.
On the practical side, yoga helps us build mental strength through the practice of mindfulness. Mindfulness is practically the first step towards building resilience over time. When we are mindful, we are able to stay grounded and focused in the present moment even when we are overwhelmed by everything going on around us.
It’s very important to have a regular mindful activity during this pandemic if your goal is to not just survive but to really thrive. If you don’t have an activity that helps you stay grounded, maybe it’s time to give yoga a try. It’s never too late to start something new, especially if it will help you adapt to the ever changing circumstances of these challenging times.