The Resourcing Framework + Practice

A private student came to her session the other day feeling down and vulnerable and a little heartbroken. She’s not the first to come to my on the day of her session not feeling awesome. It happens.

I’m sure it also happens in group classes, but I don’t know about it so much because there’s just not that opportunity for 1x1 conversation.

So it happens. And we practice.

It usually feels better to move and to breathe. There’s something about just the act of putting the attention on the body and the breath that helps.

Of feeling the certainty of the ground beneath you and of the lungs filling and emptying and of the capability that we have to make shapes with our bodies.

Of being launched out of our regular life and into a wider experience of being.

Of getting connected to something bigger than the small “self.”

These resources of the practice are what really help us in our life off the mat. And newsflash: The not-so-shiny moments are WHY we practice. 

So many of us, me included, love those bright, invigorating moments in our yoga practice when things are light and love and sparkles.

The sparkles are still there. Yet long-time practitioners will consistently tell you that the dark moments are when they knew why they had come to their mat over and over, day after day. So that the tools would be there for them when they really needed them.

I had a rough Fall with my daughter, and that was one of the times that I thought, “Thank god I have this practice. Here’s what it was all for.”

As a teacher, when a student shows up in a vulnerable spot, it’s a challenge to try to hold the space, not pry or go to deep, while fully supporting whatever is going on.  I think we’ve all been in those moments where someone near us is hurting and we want to be able to help them.

Enter the framework of Resourcing. 

I learned this technique from one of my teachers, Gioconda Parker, a few years ago, and it’s something I consistently come back to when things get tough, and also in times when I’m working to build more capacity in something.

Which is, umm…. ALWAYS.

What I like about Resourcing is that you can apply it to just about any tool or technique, to increase your ability to handle whatever you want to. It can be a tool for you, and it’s also helpful to have it to help others build capacity.

Ready to hear how it works??

There are 4 parts to Resourcing:

  • Resourcing
  • Tracking
  • Titration
  • Pendulation

Resourcing is quite simply recognizing and naming and using all of the resources you have in your life that help you feel nurtured and grounded and safe, both internal and external. 

So do this now:

Get out some paper and a pen.
Set a timer for 2 minutes.
Make a list of all of the external resources you have around you (i.e. friends, family, community, places you love to go, books, etc.) that support you.
{Pause}
Set a timer for 2 minutes.
Make a list of all of the internal resources you have within you (i.e. your yoga/meditation practice, your breath, movement, knowledge that you have, your education, etc.)
{Pause}

There you go. Now you have a list of things that can clearly help you feel resourced whenever you need it. The breath is my favorite, because it’s with us all the time. That’s why breath work is so powerful. And why we are constantly reminding ourselves to come back to the feeling of the breath in the body during meditation and asana practice.

Tracking is simply the act of watching and “tracking” our experience in the moment. 

How am I feeling? What are the sensations? Am I in over my head? Do I need a resource?

We do this naturally. Our brains and our bodies are so attentive. But we can bring MORE attention to the act of tracking when we know about the process.

For example, in a yoga class when you’re balancing on one foot in Tree Pose, the tracking is quite evident. We are very aware of the ankle dance we do to stay upright, how our hips feel, what we’re doing with our arms, where our gaze is. And if we change something about the pose, it can have a pretty immediate effect, and we are tracking all of it.

Titration is the next part, and here’s where it starts to get interesting because this is how we start to build capacity (i.e. the ability to do more things). Titration is biting off just a little bit more, or demanding a little more of ourselves, doing that next step, whatever that is. 

In our Tree pose example, this might be choosing to do something that challenges you, like raising your arms up, or leaning to one side, or changing your gaze (up? down? side?) or even closing your eyes a little. How about lifting the heel of your standing foot? How about taking your bent-knee foot off of your standing leg?

All of these little experiments take you closer to your edge of capacity.

Yes, you may fall over. And sometimes that’s fun, to approach your edge and see what happens.

If it’s too much, you say to yourself, “Okay, what are my resources? Where do I feel safe?” You back away from the edge, find a resource to help you feel safe. And then you might try approaching the edge again.

This is called Pendulation, when you swing from a safe spot towards your edge of capacity back to a resourced place and then back again. 

Each time we add a little more, we approach the edge with the curiosity of tracking and the safety net of resourcing, we get a little stronger. We build our capacity.

There are so many applications to this framework. The sky’s the limit. Here are some ideas:

  • Starting a meditation practice
  • Building a stronger and more mobile body through small changes to your yoga practice
  • Changing your eating habits
  • Learning to play an instrument or a sport
  • Talking to strangers
  • Dating
  • Helping your kids do something new
  • Teaching anything (yoga, physics, etc. – give your students a way to build capacity this way over time)
  • Trusting someone or something
  • Etc…

Resourcing Practice

Here’s a quick sequence to help you notice feel where you’re resourced, add a little titration toward an edge, and pendulate between safety and that edge as you like. The whole time, you’re tracking your experience.

Sequence: 
* Constructive Rest (lie down, bend knees, feet wide and knees together, hands resting somewhere on your torso in a way that is nurturing. Feel your breath moving in your body as a resource)

* Reclined Pigeon –> {Cactus Arms, tilt/tuck pelvis -5x between sides}

* Knees to Chest, hug in

* Role to side – PAUSE (the pause is a resource)

* Childs (or another resting pose that feels safe to you)

* Cat/Cow (Feel the breath leading you as a resource) –> Downward Facing Dog –> Standing Forward Fold –> Rise Up to Stand

* Tree Pose (get stable, then do something that leads you to your edge – change arms, gaze, lean to one side, etc.) –> Go back to the safety of 2 feet on the ground (resource) –> Repeat 2x on each side, going toward an edge each time you’re in Tree

* Sun Salutation A, stepping back and forward to a lunge

* Supported Bridge –> Active Bridge or Wheel (Urdhva Dhanurasana) – work within your own capacity

* Reclined Hamstring Stretch (use to reconnect to breath and to ground/anchor bottom thigh)

* Legs up the Wall (settle, go back to safety of resourced breath and the ground supporting you)

Really, any sequence or pose can have elements of this Resourcing approach in it. Often, I teach Ladder Sequences where I add on a little bit at a time to one round of a flow so it becomes familiar as we go.

So…make your list of resources and use it when you need to. If you’d like to share some ideas, I’d love that! (Or just leave a comment below and let me know!) Hope it helps.

Yours, as a resource,

Robin

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