One of my favourite quotes for yoga ... and for life!
One of my favourite moments as a yoga teacher is when people share with me the quotes I have used that have resonated with them. Often these quotes are passed on and shared with others. I might get a little glimpse of that person’s life too, in a moment of quiet, happy, exchange and appreciation.
This is one.
‘Between stimulus and response there is a space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.’
Victor Frankl. ‘Man’s search for meaning – life in the pause’.
Before you read on, pause for three long slow full deep breaths. The first one is your own natural big breath followed by a deep sigh, slow and complete. The second time stop for a tiny moment at the end of the complete exhale, then take a big breath back in. For the third deep breath, take a tiny pause at the moment of full inhale. Then exhale deeply and return to your natural breath.
We can easily, as humans, learn to rest our attention, albeit very briefly, in the stillness of the pause. The space between the breaths. The idea is to settle your awareness, even if just for moment, on stillness. It feels amazing. Then, we keep on practicing this, and eventually it starts to soak in to everyday life.
When we learn to ‘tune in’ to the space between the breaths we learn intuition, restraint, patience and calm. We learn to hear the moment the body is saying ‘too much’ … to much exercise, too much food, too much work, too much drink … what are your own subtle signals you respond to? Or ignore?
When we cultivate the pause we gain freedom. We are presented with choice. React or pause a little longer? Show shock or show compassion? Blurt out or thoughtfully respond?
In our yoga practice we learn to use the pause to help us slow it down. The breath. The body, The mind. In meditation it gives us a focal point, an anchor, an oasis of stillness in the midst of the storms.
This breath work can be used as a tool to help you fall asleep. Or to calm an anxious loved one. Try it taking off on a flight, or first thing in the morning.
This is meditation. This is mindfulness. This is yoga. This is living in the present moment. This is releasing rumination on the past and anxiety about the future. This is appreciation. This is relaxed. This is joy. This is power. This is choice. This is growth. This is freedom.