Resilience and saluting the sun

I am so happy to be back home. My adventures were beyond what I could ever have imagined. Costa Rica is a place that calls to me with nurturing and challenges that let me see how much I have grown and press me beyond…often it takes me months to take it all in. This past trip was no different.

Our trip was during what is called the green season. That means rain. Not as in the Seattle kind of rain. It’s the kind of rain that comes even when the sun is out as if you were on a movie set and there were thousands of fire hoses being used to make rain. Numerous times I was in awe of how much wetness could be filling the sky, especially when I was driving in one of these downpours. That was one of the moments where I could see how much I have built my resilience. I just kept driving, eyes on the road with a steady confidence that felt new and reassuring.

Resilience is a kind of buzz word right now. What exactly does it mean? My definition is the increased capacity to stay aware and in balance when the external, or even internal environment has changed and feels threatening. Resilience is a training of the body and mind. It’s building the muscles to handle life when it gets bumpy. (Or Costa Rica style rainy!)

The body has a stress response and we can train it through movement and breath to have a wider range of accommodations. I can see how my yoga and meditation practices have created a much deeper foundation of calm awareness in me.  I’m not saying that I didn’t respond when a 4-inch spider popped up to join me at the bathroom sink as I reached for my toothbrush one day. I did. But with much less alarm than I would have in the past.

It’s hard to see this building of resilience while it is happening, day by day, practice by practice. It’s only when it gets tested that we know it is there. When Meg excitedly reported a spider in my hair on a jungle walk, however, I was surprised that I just turned to our other friend and calmly asked if he could remove it. That was a sure sign of a new level of resilience.

The contrast to the rains in Costa Rica was the sun. I traveled all across the country and while I love the humidity of the Osa Peninsula, I also love the way the sun and clouds play tag in the higher, more dry, mountain areas. There was a deck on a beautiful wooden house beside a rushing river up in the mountains that felt as If I could rise to my tiptoes and touch the sun.

Today I want to offer you a simple, 7-minute sun salutation practice that I did on those mountains and that you can do on your very own deck, in your living room or at your desk. No special clothes or equipment required and no one will even raise an eyebrow if they saw you doing this as they walked by your workstation.

Sun Salutations are about connecting to the breath, body and a yummy couple of stretches. It’s about being curious about how you are feeling right now in this moment and loving this place no matter what you find. It is being willing to be here now.

You’ll be careful if you have any lower back issues or if you are unable to raise your arms overhead. Just do what you can. You can’t do it wrong…it’s a salute to the sun, to the light, to loving yourself in this moment.

It’s your daily practice of resilience, for body, mind and heart. Cheers dear ones. Enjoy!

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