By Ayesha Basi

We live in an age where we have more access to information than ever before. We know not just that it will rain tomorrow, but how many millimetres of rain there will be, and what hour the rain will start at. We can use apps to check the heat in our house before we arrive home, and pre-heat our homes so they’re the perfect temperature once we set foot inside. This access to information allows us to create structures of comfort around ourselves. The more information we have the more control we have to better plan and prepare for events – which leaves us feeling more safe, confident and secure.

But is this a false sense of safety and security? While planning for the known is accessible and comfortable – does it encourage us to be stronger and more resilient individuals? Or does it make us more susceptible to discomfort, irritation, frustration and suffering by stunting and limiting our openness and ability to respond to unknown circumstances and uncontrollable external factors? For example, are we more irritated when traveling across the city takes 20 minutes when google maps told us it would only take 10? Are we frustrated when the rain starts an hour earlier than we thought because we hadn’t prepared to still be outside? Have we fallen into a trap of using the ease of access to information to create structures of comfort that actually undermine our own resilience, rather than support it?

The Webster Dictionary describes resiliency as ‘our ability to recover from or adjust easily to misfortune or change’. When we build structures of comfort around ourselves, we pad ourselves with what we know and what we can control. We understand how to operate within these walls, and set ourselves up for success when we build them around us. However by definition, resiliency is not our ability to be well when times go as we hoped they would within the structured realm we have created. But our ability to be well when times are hard and out of our control.

Yoga is a great way to support resilience – both on and off our mats. One of the key tenets of yogic philosophy and mindfulness in general, is to keep one’s awareness in the present moment. As we move through asanas (our physical practice on our mats), we are carving out space and time in our day to focus our attention on being with our body – in the present moment. We look to let go of expectations of what our practice will bring us, how we may have moved the day before or how we anticipated we would move today – and instead be open and receptive to whatever experience we have in the moment. It is this experience of focusing our attention on the present moment rather than being distracted by our thoughts, fears or obsessions that support a life of resiliency. How can we start moving our practice on our mats, into our daily lives?

The next time you feel disturbed or rattled when you lose control first try to notice that you feel this way. Once you’ve cultivated an awareness that your energy or mood has shifted, rather than leaning into this frustration or irritation – what if you relaxed and released away from it? What if you released expectations of what you had envisioned this moment being like and instead stay focused on what you’re actually experiencing around you in the present moment, not tying yourself to what you had hoped you would experience. Try stopping what you’re doing. Close your eyes. Feel your breath in your body. Inhale. Notice your ribcage expand and contract. Exhale. Feel your abdomen squeeze the air up through your ribs and back out through your nose. Inhale. Feel your feet on the ground. Exhale. Open your eyes. Feel any better?

About Ayesha:

Ayesha’s yoga practice draws inspiration from both biomechanics and evoking a state of flow through movement. Bringing a playful and inquisitive nature into her classes, Ayesha believes in both building strong, resilient bodies through active stretching and providing creative sequences that allow practitioners to drop into a state of flow and connection between body, breath and mind. Having finished her Hatha + Vinyasa 200 hour teacher training at Union with her amazing teachers, she looks to provide both a grounding and transformational space for students every time they step onto their mat.