Building Skills for Resiliency during Times of Crisis

By Mira Mohisni

Now more than ever we need to find ways to be resilient. All of us are experiencing tremendous levels of stress and anxiety as we navigate this public health crisis. 


We know that during an infectious disease outbreak, stress levels are heightened from fear and anxiety about the disease, as well as from the uncertainty an outbreak creates in terms of job security, health care, child care, etc. Stress-related effects include: 


• Worsening of chronic health problems
• Worsening of mental health conditions
• Decreased ability to concentrate/focus


We can feel these effects immediately in our bodies and, for some, they can be debilitating. However, there are resources available that can help mitigate the effects of stress, overwhelm, and trauma. A local nonprofit that I work with, Living Yoga, provides one such resource that can help build skills for resiliency. 


Living Yoga has been providing mind-body classes and training for populations in locked facilities, reentry programs, and in recovery for over 20 years in the Portland-metro area. Clinical research has shown that practices associated with down-regulating the nervous system, such as yoga and meditation, can reduce levels of stress and anxiety. Before our in-person classes were suspended due to COVID-19, Living Yoga’s 200+ volunteers were bringing trauma-informed yoga and mind-body practices to 600 individuals per month. And the impact was profound. An independent study of our classes conducted by researchers from the Oregon Health & Science University and the National University of Natural Medicine found that students reported broad positive changes in physical and emotional well-being after participating in trauma-informed yoga.


Living Yoga is now committed to making our training and tools for building resiliency accessible to a broader audience. We are looking to partner with organizations in Portland and beyond to provide our online Body-Based Resiliency training to support staff working remotely from home or on the front lines as essential workers. 


The 90-minute online training is part “lecture,” where we discuss the impact of stress and trauma on the body, and part “practice” where our experienced trainers lead folks through simple and accessible exercises that help build resiliency skills to mitigate stress on the body. These are skills that can be practiced anywhere; no props are required and no prior experience with yoga or mind-body techniques is needed.
We are also offering this training to individuals who feel they might benefit from learning skills for resiliency. We are facilitating two online Body-Based Resiliency sessions in May 2020, and anyone can register. There is a suggested donation, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds.
Open session dates are:

Thursday, May 14th, 5:00pm-6:30pm (PST)
Saturday, May 30th, 10:00am-11:30am (PST)

Please complete the registration form so that we can send you all the information you need to join via Zoom.

During these difficult times, our community of supporters plays an invaluable role in ensuring that Living Yoga can continue its important mission of fostering healing and resilience through trauma-informed classes. I look forward to continuing to do this work in-person in the not too distant future.

Mira Mohisni, Ph.D. is the Training and Equity Facilitator for Living Yoga.

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