Thoughts from Cath

Finding Resiliency with an Autumn Yoga Practice

Catherine Kelleher

18th September 2018

Finding Resiliency with an Autumn Practice

As I sit typing this in the little yoga hut I look up to see a few leaves falling from the trees onto the decking outside. Change is all around us, visible everywhere should we stop and notice. For this reason, autumn is considered a good time to establish a Yoga practice. The seasonal change can inspire change within us, it can be a time for reflection, for re-grouping after the busy summer months, a time to start drawing inwards or perhaps even a time of fear – fear that time is passing more quickly than we would like which can motivate us to take action.

So how can we adapt our practice at this time of year to reflect the season?

Autumn is a good time to focus on building ourselves up, to build resilience, in preparation for the demands of winter. What do I mean by resilience?

In this context, resilience is our ability to cope with the demands placed on us by life; whether from work, family or other obligations. It is also our capacity for enjoying the more playful things in life such as having the energy to spend time doing or being with the people/things we love.  

When resilience is low we can feel anxious, fearful, irritable or tired. It can feel as though we are moving through life without enough ‘fuel in the tank’ to fully enjoy it. We may start falling into unhelpful habits or into a reactive rather than a pro-active state of mind. Conversely, when we have a high level of resiliency we can feel ‘on top of our game’, as though life is easier, we have coping strategies in place and can get by more easily.

So, how do we build resiliency?

Resiliency is built up through lifestyle factors such as getting enough rest and sleep, eating the right foods for our constitution, having a role in society that provides satisfaction and through connections with supportive people. Yoga practice can be both the tool for checking in with our level of resiliency in this current moment, as well as a technique for helping build resiliency back up.

What does this mean?

Yoga practice is the opportunity to STOP and check in with how you are. Creating this space in your day can be truly life changing. For this reason, it is often called a tool of Self-care. For me, it is a habit cultivated for the purpose of awareness; of checking whether my day to day perception of how I am doing is based in reality. The tools we use as part of our Yoga practice will be based on our own unique level of interest. For example, most of us want to keep our bodies moving and healthy and have an interest in using asana (postures) in our practice. However, a practice might also include time spent in pranayama (breathing practices) to help focus energy or perhaps in meditation or chant techniques. In each in instance, the type of practice should reflect your goals at this time of year with thought given to how each might offer some support to you (resilience) at this current time.

So – perhaps now is a good time to reflect on how resilient you are feeling?  And whether a Yoga practice could serve you over these coming months. A 20 minute practice 4 or 5 times a week can be life changing. Get in touch if you would like support in establishing a home practice based on your needs.

The next blog series will focus on tips for giving yourself the best chance for success in establishing a home practice.