The Yoga of Resilience and Resistance


View weekly class schedule here.

What are you practicing right now in your life? What does this period of your life require of you in terms of new skills and tools, in terms of healing and recovery?

What brings you to the mat, time after time? What does your practice offer you? What does it make possible for you? And how are those gifts and blessings connected to the work you’re being called to in this time?

Yoga is usually translated as “union” or sometimes “yoke.” Often, the word is used casually in daily life to refer to a class or workshop in which specific postures/poses/asanas are explored.

But Yoga is much more than just physical postures, and certainly more than some vague sense of yoking or uniting oneself with…what exactly?

Yoga is a profoundly elegant, comprehensive and holistic system for experiencing vitality, complete freedom, and wholeness. It is a path and process.

It is precisely these things – a path, a process, a comprehensive system – that so many of us need right now.  We are being called to a level of healing and recovery that is profound and uncharted.  We are being called to the Next Level of resistance to oppression, requiring next-level commitments to resilience as well.

Yoga is exactly the path, process, and system we need to sustain ourselves for the Long Haul, to answer that call for Next Level resistance and resilience.

Anyone who has engaged in this work – whether personal healing and recovery work, social and political resistance work, or any other work requiring tremendous courage, compassion and commitment – knows that it is a process. No one thing, no single act can effectively bring us the transformation and healing we seek.  (Though sustained practice can make us more likely to be bioavailable to those sorts of quantum leaps.)

No, what we need is a holistic program, a comprehensive set of tools, a time-tested set of practices and rituals…(dare I say, a lifestyle.)  If we are to commit to something completely, it must become our stake in the ground, the thing that anchors us, the thing around which our entire world and every other choice revolves.

At this time, we are desperately in need of a system which can help orient us in these times, to help us not only get on the path, but also stay solidly, stoicly, sustainably with it. We need direction for how to support and train our bodies and minds, for how to nurture and nourish our hearts and spirits. We need a wraparound experience which provides the continuity of care that we as holistic beings need, day in and day out.

This is the Yoga of Resistance and Resilience.  The Yoga of Recovery and Healing.  The Yoga of transformation.  A path and a process.  An anchor and a boon. 

For the next seven weeks, we’ll explore the ways that this comprehensive system speaks to us now, in the present moment of upheaval and overwhelm and infinite possibility.  This new era no doubt requires a newer, more potent and fearless version of each and every one of us. And we are also at a time in the year in which we are no doubt working to sow new seeds of habit and uproot old patterns of addiction. We must be willing to examine the patterns of self-destruction that keep us feeling small, isolated, and powerless.

This is absolutely about each one of us finding freedom, a lived experience of wholeness, a practice of resilience.  This is about each of us finding recovery and serenity and a sustainable spiritual path and practice . AND this is about each of us contributing to a larger Whole of Resistance. About each of us knowing that we are always connected, to Source, to each other, and to Something Greater.

This series is based on my recent studies in The Yoga of Recovery under Durga Leela.  Yoga of Recovery integrates the wisdom of Yoga, Meditation, Ayurveda and traditional recovery tools (12 Step Programs) to overcome addictive and self-destructive behavior.

Increasingly, the scientific, therapeutic and spiritual communities are converging around the real roots of addiction: disconnection.  What drives the One Addiction Process is an inability to tolerate a feeling of separation, isolation, and loneliness.  We are created and birthed in a state of total connection to Source and each other.  We are hard-wired for connection, for bonding and relating.  Yet our experience of embodiment often brings with it deeply painful experiences of disconnection and lack of union.  Our dominant social, political and economic systems produce the same things – feelings of disconnection and powerlessness, experiences of alienation and pain – and are also driving increasing rates of addiction and self-destructive patterns of behavior. 

We naturally feel overwhelmed, and we lack the tools for coping. So we turn to what was modeled for us, what is readily available, the devil we know. And we repeat a familiar cycle.

For this reason, the work of recovery and healing is absolutely political.  The skills and tools, the practices and rituals – in other words, the lifestyle of healing and recovery – are precisely what we need to help us build the capacity for resistance and resilience that this political moment requires of us.  These are transferable skills, and our use of them will bear fruit on every level and in every endeavor.

Whether you relate to the notion of addiction or not, the path of the yogi will always be a path of self-inquiry, a commitment to understanding and revealing the best, brightest, and most radiant version of ourselves from day to day and moment to moment.  We’ll examine the tools of healing and recovery that Durga has created and codified, translating them to our daily work, lives, and realities.

Our work will be cumulative, beginning with an overview and proceeding through each of the Six Tenets described by Durga, and the practices which speak directly to these fundamental realities.

Week of 1/9 – Intro and Overview
Week of 1/16 – Life is Longing
Week of 1/23 – Life is Prana
Week of 1/30 – Life is Relationship
Week of 2/6 – Life is Sweet
Week of 2/13 – Life is Love
Week of 2/20 – Life is Progress

I am confidant that through this exploration of Resistance and Resilience, you will feel more committed than ever to the work of healing and transformation that is so utterly needed at this time.


About bienestarte

Patty Adams is a bilingual clinical social worker, as well as an experienced yoga teacher and anti-oppression trainer. She is devoted to intersectional organizing, liberation, holistic healing arts, and wellness.
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