March: Resilience

After the devastating fires in Australia, the first new bushes and trees are sprouting from the ground. It is so good to see, that nature manages to regenerate, to recover and to regain strength even after such a terrible trauma.

Resilience, this characteristic so essential for nature, also lies within ourselves. And we need it. Resilience comes from Latin and can be translated into “to jump back”. It is the “ability of a child, due to protective factors, to deal relatively unscathed with the consequences of stressful living conditions and to develop coping skills”.[1]  Resilience means “to regain strength after a psychological trauma”. [2]

 

Traumas and their consequences

Traumas can be caused by such challenging events as war, assassinations, accidents, serious diseases or sexual assaults. But there are also chronic traumas, that can develop and creep in during childhood. Often, lack of affection, a lack of love or social deprivation are decisive factors. The result: a traumatic memory. Our fear and stress center, the amygdala, enlarges, while the prefrontal cortex, which is responsible for controlling our feelings and behavior, shrinks. We feel more anxious and are less able to control our feelings.

 

Love and affection: The breeding ground for our resilience

What is it that makes us develop a resilience in the face of aversive circumstances, that literally let us become stronger by struggling? In addition to hormone-related protective factors, such as an increased proportion of serotonin, often referred to as the “happiness hormone”, the relationship with our parents during childhood plays a particularly important role. Affection and sensory stimulation make us more self-confident. We develop the ability to communicate both nonverbally and verbally. To express our needs and fears by stretching out our arms, when we long for warmth or crying, when we feel sad.

 

Muladhara Chakra [3]: The place of the unclouded force of life

Warmth and cordiality are the root of our development. In the root chakra – the Muladhara Chakra (chakra meaning energy center) – we can rediscover our basic trust. The connection to Earth. The Earth, that always carries us. The energies of the Muladhara Chakra are responsible for building cells, blood bodies, bones and teeth; but also for our sexual organs and vitality. Here, at this point between anus and sex, our physical will to be, to live, is created. This will, the will to say: “yes to life”, is nourished by the first relationships with our parents. When we experience love, warmth and patience, we are prepared to accept life’s challenges – to become stronger by stressful situations. The yoga practice helps us to rediscover this vitality and strength. Standing positions remind us to feel the connection to the forces of the Earth. This means to consciously perceive the contact of the feet to the ground and to feel the “safe ground” under the feet.

 

Stability and lightness

With all this grounding, let’s not forget the lightness. While we make sure we are on safe ground, we may dare to unfold, express ourselves and become light.

Sthira sukham asanam.

Patanjali reminds us in the Yoga Sutras (॥ 46 ॥), how important it is to go through life grounded, stable and at the same time light and upright. Obstacles will accompany us on our paths, but if we dare to rediscover confidence in our own primal power, we will emerge strengthened from challenging and stressful situations. And even, if we have experienced little love and affection in our childhood, we can be sure, that there is a power, that sustains us. A force we can rely on. A primal force that gives us the strength to “jump back”. Let us use this primal force to support all beings on this Earth, who are in stressful situations. To stand up together for good; to say “yes” to life together.

 

Written by Daniela Hinderer

 

[1]https://www.spektrum.de/lexikon/biologie/resilienz/56351

[2]Boris Cyrulnik (Neurologe, Psychiater & Psychoanalytiker) in einem Interview mit dem Wissenschaftsmagazin Spektrum über Resilienz: https://www.spektrum.de/news/resilienz-foerdern-wie-geht-das/1613232

[3]Yoga aktuell: April/Mai 2010


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