Each week, Sue writes a short essay in the weekly Kind Living newsletters. This week she shared her research and insights on adaptation and maladaptation:
Practicing yoga the other day, I was struck with how the body has the capacity to change. “Isn’t adaptation remarkable?” I said to Robb. As many of you know, I frequently infuse various strengthening elements into yoga, and it was during one of these segments that I could really feel the muscles respond.
This whole phenomenon had me thinking about adaptation and what it means at the most basic, cellular level. A quick Google search led to the following definitions:
adaptations help organisms survive in their ecological niches, and
adaptive traits may be structural, behavioural, or physiological.
So, in other words, everything you do, the environments you find yourself in, the foods you eat, and the activities you participate in have the potential to shift your physiology in a positive way. Resistance training will make you stronger, yoga helps you achieve equanimity, nice people uplift your mood…
And then there’s maladaptation. Helpful Google has this to say:
trait that is or has become more harmful than helpful, and
incomplete, inadequate or faulty adaptation.
So, maladaptation is what happens when you’re not active enough and your muscles atrophy and your bones weaken; when you eat too much animal fat and your arteries harden; when smoking causes a blackening of your lungs; or when you find yourself mired in gossip and it leaves you feeling “slimed”.
So, in essence, everything we do (or don’t do) is either supporting us at the cellular level, encouraging us to be kind, working with a generous heart, being stronger and more mobile, or it’s harmful to us and, by extension, others.
This process happens whether we’re consciously aware of it or not. We know that mind-body practices such as yoga, mindfulness and Tai Chi help us cultivate more awareness. With this awareness, we can be ever more vigilant with the actions we take. With greater awareness, we hopefully will make better choices more often. Better choices more often will benefit, not only ourselves, but others as well. It’s going to happen either way; wouldn’t it be nice to influence the process for the better?
Adaptation/maladaptation is why we view the yoga studio as a sanctuary. It is our intention that the studio be a place of healing, of re-directing, of being supportive of everyone at the cellular level. We join you in celebration, and we hold you in our hearts in challenging times of sorrow. We are your biggest cheerleaders and your soft place to land.
What are some examples of adaptation in your life? What about maladaptation? We would love to hear your thoughts!
If you’re interested in taking one of Sue’s classes, please contact us or visit the studio/boutique for more information.
Have a great week!