Resiliency is the ability to recover quickly, to easily return to the original state. In the nervous system resiliency looks like the ability to easily shift between the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous systems. The sympathetic kicks in when we experience stress so that we are ready to run away or fight to keep ourselves safe. When the threat is past, we reset to the parasympathetic nervous system for rest and digest. The parasympathetic nervous system is in charge of keeping our bodies healthy, while the sympathetic is emergency mode. So, while they each have an important role, we do not want to get stuck in either one.
Yoga and meditation both help to keep us resilient. Every time we rest and come back to the breath in child’s pose or any resting pose during an active yoga class, we are teaching the body how to easily transition from activity to rest, or from the sympathetic to parasympathetic. On an even deeper level, Meditation teaches us to watch our thoughts so that we are aware of when these thoughts activate our sympathetic nervous system. We can then begin to change our thinking so that our thoughts keep us in our parasympathetic nervous system, allowing us to keep ourselves healthy.