The following post comes from Dawn Barker. Dawn is leading yoga sessions as part of the 2019 Strategic HR at Mt. Washington Pre-Retreat Wellness Experiences.

Practicing the Pause

Relaxation gets a bad reputation in our society, it is associated with being lazy, not enough to do, and our egos don’t allow ourselves to relax because we wear our “I am so busy badges” proudly on our chests in our contest of who can get the most done. Arianna Huffington, in her book, Thrive states, that the third metric of success is mindfulness, slowing down and appreciating your life. After she collapsed from fatigue due to not listening to her body and being “busy” all the time, she got off the merry go round of life and discovered she could be far more productive if she listened to her body and practiced good hygiene, sleeping, eating right, connecting with friends and family and physically moving her body with intention.

Practicing the Pause doesn’t have to be anything formal, but rather when was the last time you just sat still and looked out the window, or walked through the grass and noticed how the grass feels under your feet, pausing and creating space allows us to notice the slight changes in our bodies and see where we might be holding stress and tension.

Pressing the “pause button” helps us to create space. We are stewards of our space. We need space to collect our thoughts, feel our emotions, relax and restore. When we are in constant movement and proudly wearing our “I am so busy badges”, we fill all our space and time and do not allow ourselves time to renew.

By being quiet, “pressing pause” you can create space to hear your “inner” voice. Constant movement creates a barrier to really listen to our bodies and our hearts to truly hear what we need.

Being on my yoga mat helps me to “practice the pause” and create space. When I first started practicing Yoga, I thought Yoga was the poses I was trying to move my body into. All that existed was the physical practice of yoga. I would be looking at others on their mats to see what the “pose” should look like, being out of breath and struggling physically to reach the “fullest” expression of the pose.

Slowing down and savoring life and not making decisions, work, relationships harder than they need to be has started to change from my time on my yoga mat. When I slow down, ease into a pose, use my breath, honor my body and hold the pose and be present, I can feel the nuances of my body, I can connect with my intention of Ease. When I trust myself and my body and listen to it, I have all I need. It is finding strength in softening and slowing down. Knowing my breath is always there to support me on and off my mat.

Trust yourself, slow down, savor your life, “press pause”, and breathe. Your breath is always there for you to create space. We “practice the pause” to create space to renew ourselves through our breath.

Dawn Barker is a graduate of the YogaLife Institute’s 200-hour Classical Yoga Teacher Training program. Dawn is also a certified human resource professional and has a master’s in organizational leadership.