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The Great Pause

Technology is often blamed for distraction from the life that is all around us. I tend to agree since I am as attached to my phone as anyone I know and am constantly checking my texts, emails and studio Instagram account . But one positive thing technology has offered me is a chance to experience the "great pause." This pause I'm referring to is the space between a moment, an encounter or an action and our reaction to it. In person, I habitually formulate answers or thoughts almost immediately and act upon them just as quickly. With texts or emails, I've learned I can actually walk away, think about how I want to respond and even edit my response until I'm satisfied with it. In this way technology has taught me how to take a moment and respond instead of react. The "great pause" is that ability, in real time, to able to mentally walk away, think about how I'd like to respond and then choose rather than let emotional habit take over.

Yoga asana practice is also a reliable way of developing a non-reactive mind; of developing the ability to identify our habitual reactions and then learning to build in some space before meeting the moment. Every posture has an emotional habit built into it. If I, as the teacher, call Utkatasana (Awkward Chair) you will definitely have a reaction. If I call Uttanasana (Standing Forward Bend) that will inspire a reaction as well. Every posture, to a yogi, can have either bliss, joy, peace or frustration, dread and even anger attached to it. What you can do is begin to observe this instant reaction and see if you can deactivate your buttons so your response is genuine and thoughtful and is born in real time, not habit.

Yoga practice is a practice of refining the way we think, act and move through life. It provides us with ample opportunity to explore the patterns of the mind and teaches us how to create time out of an instant. Time that allows us to "walk away", consider our thoughts and feelings and then come back with a response that satisfies us. Hitting the "send" button too quickly is usually accompanied by regret. Using our practice as a way to learn how to pause gives us the freedom to choose our response each and every time. Now I've got to run and check my email!

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