• Grace White

The Importance of a Pause

You know that moment in yoga when your thighs cry out in Warrior, your shoulders scream in Downward Dog, and then your heart sings in relief at the words, ‘let’s take a minute in child’s pose’? You finally let your body drop to the floor, press your forehead against the mat and feel your heartbeat slow.

Yoga is about listening in so that you can stretch yourself to your limit and know when to pause.

The moments we tune out and dance to life’s rhythm, rather than our own, are the moments we burn out and recovery takes a lot longer than a few minutes in Child’s Pose.

Taking a breath, finding space, can be a hugely restorative and productive time when we find a way to work in union with our mind and body. This means that these few minutes are not spent in a state of complete exhaustion, panting, dizzy, our mind chatter a cacophony of voices.

Yoga is about creating a level of ‘sound’ in the body that is informative to listen to, rather that noise, which is so loud we want to switch off from it.

When we take a pause at the right time, we are investigating within, noticing a range of sensations. We are alert enough to grow from this information, rather than being overwhelmed by screaming muscles, our pounding heart, and a pattern of breathing that has no resemblance to a pattern, at all!

A pause, at the right time, maintains a clarity so that we are aware enough to feel the level we have pushed ourselves to. We have enough presence so that our thoughts are not an uncontrollable string of ‘bloody hells’ and ‘oh my gods’ and ‘never agains’. Rather, we are thinking, ‘wow, yes, I’ve achieved something here. I’m finally getting to know myself.’

We learn to pause on the yoga mat, find Child’s Pose or Mountain and retain a focus, while everything in the body settles, once more. This trains us to make the right decisions in life. We learn not to push ourselves when the very thing we should be doing is taking a moment to rest.

Yoga provides all the clues to your tendencies. There is no balance in accepting that you find it hard to relax, or that you don’t stop until you drop. Yoga demonstrates how to find this equilibrium by taking us into a pose that we find hard, reminding us to focus so that we can learn to manage and shift our tendencies and limitations.

Do we accept that we only rest when we get sick, or do we begin to remind ourselves that Child’s Pose is available any time of the day, and it only takes a few minutes to regulate our state?

In the pause, we have a moment to shift from one way of being to another. We are reminded that we are the ones in control.


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