Antifragility is more than just the opposite of fragile, more than just resilient or robust. The resilient resists stress and shocks, and stays the same.
The antifragile gets better.
In the context of yoga, you get better, stronger, healthier, happier.
Antifragility is not a passive thing. It is an active thing. It requires a deliberate decision, a deliberate action. In the absence of this deliberate step there is an inherent drift toward fragility. Immobility and lack of movement leads to weakening and stagnation. Poor posture leads to unnecessary tension and dis-ease. Poor nutrition leads to dis-ease. Poor breathing leads to dis-ease. Dysfunctional thought patterns leads to dis-ease.
Strength and well-being are not automatic, and not a given. To be well requires a complex mix of interrelated aspects or factors. Not just a complex mix of these aspects, but balance within each of those aspects. We need to drink – too little water and we dehydrate, too much water and we drown. We need to eat – too little there is malnutrition and starvation, too much and there are all sorts of negative issues.
We are complex creatures and our interaction with our environment is complex. There are some combinations of aspects, or things we do, that lead towards health and well being, others lead away from it. In all of these aspects there is scope for things going wrong, or getting out of balance, for aberrance. This can be a result of simply not knowing. Unfortunately, not knowing about it, does not exempt you from the consequences. Some aspects we can do something about relatively easily – like exercise. Other aspects are not so easy to control – like pollution.
Unless we actively do something that leads towards strengthening, there is that drift towards weakening, towards fragility – especially in the face of ageing. This is the essence of Antifragility Yoga. To understand the factors promoting health and well-being, as well as those contrary to health and well-being – as far as possible. Not only to understand, but to actively take steps to do something about it. A key component of the Antifragility practice is personal responsibility. We make decisions, there are actions, there are consequences – the consequences of our actions are our responsibility. My actions – my responsibility.
So, Antifragility Yoga is all about strengthening up, improving flexibility and robustness and being able to handle what life throws at you – rather than being athletic enough to perform acrobatics. To understand what right movement feels like, what breathing into movement feels like in the body fabric. To understand nutrition enough so that the food we eat enhances health, not diminishes health. To understand posture. To understand what it mean to breathe well. To understand what well-being feels like. To understand the art of mindfulness, of what we do with our focus of attention, of concentration and the deep calm that comes through stillness. All rooted in a pragmatic and practical common-sense. Practising this, be as well as you can be, as calm and grounded as you can be, robust enough to handle life.
Be as decent and compassionate as you can be, be human as well as you know how.