Not too long ago I was a place in my life where lots of things were happening in a short period of time. My famous quote from that time is, "I need a minute," which used to send one of my friends into fits of giggles. I still say it now when life takes a turn for the wild (and my friend still laughs when I say it). As a yoga practitioner, one would think that I have a built-in pause (it's called yoga for those of you keeping track at home). Not quite.
Just last week I was dealing with a hitch in my giddyup (oh, I so love this phrase and I delight in any opportunity to use it!) -- the muscles of my right leg were seriously tight (it started in my glute and messed with my hip, knee, and ankle) and it was throwing off my gait and my practice. I knew what to do. I have all sorts of nifty tools and techniques for loosening those poor, tight muscles but...I wanted to keep up my practice. After all, what's the big deal, right? Why not push on through? The tightness will work itself out, right?
Um...no! What I needed was a minute -- a break from my practice and some time to give my leg the care and attention it needed. I needed to pause not push. Taking that pause is necessary and if you don't take it, things don't go all that well.
I've learned this lesson the hard way in my personal life (in the past I learned this in my yoga practice through multiple injuries). I have this nasty little habit of glossing over things and telling myself that everything is just peachy keen when, in fact, I've got a feeling in my gut that something just isn't right. If I continue on in my ostrich-head-in-the-sand mannner, I find myself disconnected from my feelings, at which point I'm acting on autopilot. This usually results in asking myself a few months later "How the heck did I get into this situation?!?!?!" By the time this happens, I'm knee deep in something that isn't right for me and the fall out is not good, that much I can tell you.
These days, I'm giving myself permission to take the pause. I'll ask for time before I respond to someone. I'll take time off from my practice/modify my practice if my body is feeling off (or I have a hitch in my giddyup. : ) ) I'll slow things down rather than get caught up in the momentum of a situation. I'll pause and ask myself what's true for me.
It's that simple little innocuous pause that keeps me connected and on the right track...and it saves my body from harm. So rather than say, "Push it," "Just do it," "Act now," I'm advocating "Pause it," "Don't do it yet," and "Be now, act later." Okay, so I'm not exactly a motivational speaker (and professional athletes and success gurus all over the world are cringing). In this instance I'd like to consider myself a soul whisperer instead. Rather than listen to one's head and all of those motivational tidbits that "should" lead to success, I'm asking you to drop into your soul and feel what's really right for you. The simple secret to doing this is to pause. Yep, it's no more complicated than that. Follow me and take a moment.
And for your practicing pleasure, here are two short practices that can help you pause and take extra good care of yourself:
--Rock and roll to comfort and ease -- If you've ever tried a Three Minute Egg yoga prop, you know how unique and awesome it is. This article shows you how to use the Eggs in a restorative, healing fashion. This is a gentle, healing way to take a pause.
--Pavanmuktasana Series 1 -- I first learned this subtle but powerful joint loosening, tension releasing practice years ago from an obscure text. It's a delightful practice to do first thing in the morning, as it starts your day with a pause that makes you go AHHHHHHHHHHHH. Here's a short video for you to practice along with: