When you ask folks how they define resilience they will often describe a person who is able to bounce back. Devika Shankar, today’s guest on the Beyond Trauma podcast asks the question, “what are they bouncing back to?” a question which reframes the way we look at the whole picture, not just of the individual but of their surroundings and the systems they are embedded in.
It’s an important and profound question that has been popping up around yoga and mindfulness practices especially as they have moved into schools, prisons, and the workplace. It’s important for yoga teachers and especially trauma sensitive yoga teachers to ask ourselves if the work we are doing is being used to make people more comfortable in situations that they should be uncomfortable in and causing them to resist and push less for change.
This is one possible outcome folks suggest can come of calming practices. Whether it has resulted from yoga, or trauma sensitive yoga and meditation is up for debate. I haven’t seen it but I have seen other problematic behaviors arise from these practices which is why it is so important to have the right teachers and the right intentions when approaching any practice, sport, teaching, or even hobby.
When we look at resilience, what we want to focus on is our ability not necessarily to come back but to move forward into an active space in which we can collaborate with others to move the dial on the systems which are causing so many to experience harm. When your resilience is for a purpose it brings your life meaning and in a beautiful circle brings more resilience and capacity.
You might ask yourself not just what you need to survive and thrive, but what are you surviving and thriving for?
Concurrently, you’ll want to be looking at your stress reduction and nervous system regulation practices to honestly assess if they are working in pursuit of your purpose. This is the central question of trauma sensitive yoga and a question I see penetrating the general yoga population more and more since the pandemic. We are finally realizing we need support not competition!
Take a listen to Devika Shanka, transnational feminist, organizer, and advocate on iTunes or Spotify to learn more about this process and consider joining me for the Women’s Realignment Retreat October 7th-9th to delve deep into systems of support and emergence.