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Building resilience: it's not what happens to you... but how you react to it

Yin yoga is a style of yoga that involves adopting passive (still) poses that are held for time, typically 2-5 mins in a class. Physiologically, Yin yoga targets the deeper connective tissues.

yin yoga childs pose

The three simple (but not easy!) principles of Yin Yoga are: 

  1. Come into the pose to an appropriate depth

  2. Resolve to remain still 

  3. Hold the the pose for time. 

We seek stillness: of the body, of the breath and of the mind.

Our muscles are inactive so we allow the effect of a deep stretch to sink into the joints. Stillness of the body leads to a quieting of the breath.

yin breath like the surface of a mountain lake

We enable the breath to become quiet, un-laboured and gentle. Inhaling and exhaling softly through your nose, extend your inhalations and exhalations to four seconds or longer. Allow any natural pauses that arise between.

Once the breath is quiet the deepest stillness can arise, of the mind. It cannot be forced but we can create the conditions for it to arise.

“Although the challenge of being still seems to stem from physical discomfort, for most people, it is predominantly a mental issue. Learning to open to difficulty without resistance is the domain of mindfulness training and is a highly practical and liberating tool for life. “ (1)

Akin to Yin Yoga, for me, much of the benefit of the practice of cold plunges comes from finding my edge and staying in this zone of discomfort, despite my minds urgent pleas to leave.

Our edges are always changing, they may be physical, mental or emotional, and today may be quite different to yesterday. By getting comfortable with this discomfort we build resilience, and in turn our optimal performance.

Which 'edge' do you find most challenging when faced with discomfort?

  • Physical

  • Mental

  • Emotional

“Between the stimulus and response there is a space, and in that space lies our power and our freedom”. (2)

Are you able to observe, without judgement, how you respond? How would you like to see yourself responding differently? What skills do you have to enable you to pause? How do you challenge your resilience?

Let me know in the comments or drop me a message to find out more about how mindset coaching could enhance your performance.

(1) (Sarah Powers, Insight Yoga)

(2) Unknown.

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