Get On the Mat!

Practice the Pause

Breathe. Pause before you react. Pause before you speak. I come back to this practice repeatedly, especially in times when my patience is low. Parenting can be challenging and has given me many opportunities to put this practice to use. However, I have never needed this reminder as much as I do right now in this political climate. Our world is filled with controversial and negative news. The answer for me is not complete avoidance of the news because to be awake in reality is more important to me than blissful denial. Using our voices for debate, for change, and for democracy has never been as imperative to me as it is right now.  Our wired world gives us constant access to news and information and the ability to respond instantly on the internet and social media makes it easy to rant, to demean and defriend.  Next time your heart is racing and your fingers start typing before you respond ask yourself three questions: Is it kind? Is it necessary? Is it true?

We are a great country and one of the foundations of our democracy is freedom of speech. Let’s use our voices to create change but remember, we actually become more effective communicators when we cultivate our listening skills. Listening to understand one another is much more productive than listening only to reply. It is not the answer to all of the world’s problems, but sometimes the little changes make the biggest impact in our daily lives.

Yoga teaches us to pause, disconnect and go inward. It challenges us on the mat to breathe deeply through any resistance and quiet our mental chatter.  Yoga is a helpful tool to help us navigate these extraordinary times.

Practice the Pause Off the Mat:

  • Before speaking THINK. Is it True? Is it Helpful? Is it Inspiring? Is it Necessary? Is it Kind?
  • Step away from the noise. Schedule time for silence. Turn off your phone, TV and radio. Enjoy complete silence in your home, in your car or go for a walk outside.
  • Pranayama is the practice of controlling the breath. Deep breathing has been shown to help relieve stress and helps to relax the body and the mind. Try Dirga Pranayama or 3- part breath. Breathing through your nose, inhale breath into the abdomen, pause, then into the lungs, pause, then into the upper chest, pause and then slowly exhale through the nose.
  • Meditation is also an ideal way to disconnect briefly from the noise and center yourself. Click here for a guided meditation to cultivate patience.


Practice the Pause On the Mat:

“Practice the pause. Pause before judging. Pause before assuming. Pause before accusing. Pause whenever you’re about to react harshly and you’ll avoid doing and saying things you’ll later regret.” Lori Deschene

Photograph of Lake Tahoe by Patti Goyette Photography.