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What is resilience?

Resilience is the capacity to bounce back from difficulties or the ability to withstand life’s challenges. It can refer to both the emotional and physical, which are of course intrinsically linked. It can be described as how effectively a person is able to cope, adapt or deal with adversity. 

Yoga and resilience 

Yoga is a really effective practice to build resilience for so many reasons! Yoga practices create the necessary conditions for the nervous system to find balance and self-regulate, training resilience. 

There are many different avenues we could go down with this theme, but for today let’s focus on one simple way that we can build resilience through yoga. Through core strengthening exercises and other strength building postures we can work with purposefully putting the body under just a little bit of stress in a controlled way to then bring it back down to relax. This is one way that through yoga we can build resilience, by training the mind and body to deal with challenges and moderate amounts of stress in a safe scenario. 

For example when you’re holding Utkatasana (Chair Pose) heat starts to build in the thighs and the body starts to fatigue. It sends messages saying “I want to get out of this posture NOW!” By holding the posture and focusing on a calm steadying breath, you send signals to your nervous system that everything is okay and that you can hold the pose a little longer than you may have originally thought. This same process can be mirrored off the mat, for example you may find it easier to stop and take a breath during a conflict with a loved one rather than react from a wounded place emotionally.

Yoga and the autonomic nervous system

Research has shown that some types of more active yoga like “power yoga” or ashtanga can activate the sympathetic nervous system (fight or flight response) but that followed by restorative postures, this activation can lead to a deeper relaxation than practicing relaxation on its own. So yoga can actually activate both the sympathetic nervous system response (fight or flight) and the parasympathetic response (rest and digest). After playfully engaging the sympathetic response, the body is able to relax even deeper into the parasympathetic nervous system baseline, which is essential for deep healing and rest.

Yoga in the garden of Kinspacha, Urubamba

Some homework for fun!

This homework is inspired by Wim Hof who is known as the ‘iceman’ because he can stay emerged in ice for 1 hour 13 minutes and run marathons in the snow! He uses a particular breathing exercise that he says affects change in the autonomic nervous system allowing him to endure extreme cold temperatures. 

So, a simple way to train resilience at home is to take a cold shower everyday or jump into some cold water like the sea or a lake! This imposes a little bit of stress on your body to train resilience through a process called hardening. It helps your nervous system to get used to being able to handle moderate levels of stress. This helps you in the long run to deal with stressful situations in everyday life.

If this interests you check out Wim Hof being interviewed on Russel Brand’s podcast here.  

Want to deepen your yoga practice? Join us in The Sacred Valley, Peru, on our flexible affordable yoga retreat. Find out more here.

Blog post written by one of our current resident Yoga teachers Jasmine Sara @jasminesarayoga

photo by @tui_anandi

Urubamba hike Sacred Valley

I always thought of myself as more of a “beach girl” but somehow life has brought me here, to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. I have had the opportunity to live on an island and was blessed to have the “island life” experience, twice! But that is a story for another day.

It was my “life’s purpose” that brought me here. The first time I came to Peru was in 2014, to stay in the jungle and learn from the mother plant, Ayahuasca. I already knew back then, when I stayed in the jungle of Iquitos that I had a special connection with Peru.

Later last year the Universe brought me back here, and this time to the warm presence of the mountains. What a welcoming embrace that was. I keep loving it more and more here every day.

 

Morning Routine in Urubamba

On a perfect day, I prefer waking up early to experience the mist hovering over the mountains and the cool crisp air of the morning. This time is ideal for a morning yoga practice, when all that is audible are the sounds of the birds waking up and your own breath.

The Local Market

Depending on how much time I have, I sometimes feel like walking to the market which takes about 20 minutes. The walk goes through the local village, with spectacular views along the way of the mountains. The market is a feast for the senses with a multitude of different colours, fresh produce and the friendly faces of the local community. Sometimes I like to stop for lunch at only 10 soles ($3) at one of the vegan stalls on the third floor of the market.

Organic Kitchen Garden

We don’t need to buy so many vegetables at the market because we are abundant with fresh organic vegetables from our own orchard based on permaculture design principles. I love being able to walk into my own garden and pick vegetables to create magic in the kitchen! We sell our vegetables to our guests and women from the local community, as well as making the most of this delicious fresh produce in the restaurant vegan menu for guests here at Kinsapacha.

Hiking in the Mountains

Some days when I’m not too busy I like to go for walks on one of the easy routes that are accessible from our doorstep. One of the routes takes you up to a beautiful viewpoint where you can explore some Inca ruins and have a breath-taking view of the Valley during the sunset golden hour.

Sundays are for Rest

Living in the mountains we sometimes lose touch of what day of the week it is! Things can get very busy here and although I stay grounded with my yoga practice, I still need some time for myself. So, I decided to make sure I always take Sundays as a day off! Some Sundays when we are very ambitious, we go on an adventure to either Ollantaytambo, Pisac or Maras. But to be honest my favourite past time is chilling in the hammock reading my favourite book or writing in my journal or taking a well-deserved nap. It’s also the  bird watchers paradise with hummingbirds fluttering in the sun.

Yoga as a Way of Life

Kinsapacha is now my home but yoga is still my life and always will be. At Kinsapacha I have learnt to take things slower, to be more present and to enjoy the beauty that nature provides, as well as the knowledge that she teaches us. My passion for teaching has evolved to a more spiritual and grounding practice. I like to encourage my students to connect with their inner teachers and liberate themselves from unnecessary stress of missing out on the whole point of life which is to be happy and free!

       

If you’d like to experience this way of life for yourself then our doors are always open! Click here to learn more about our yoga retreat packages or here to book your stay as a guest.