Yoga invites you to take time to spend with yourself. Pause here. Be in this moment. Notice your feelings, your physical sensations, your thoughts. In this time, yoga asks you to pause for mindfulness.
We show up to the studio. As we get on our mats we try to release external distractions and look inward. We practice the poses, studying our bodies. We notice our habits and tendencies. We take in the philosophy. And yet – even as we strive to stay present, we sometimes fall into a pattern of anticipation. We think about what pose comes next, what the sequence is building up to. We catch ourselves looking ahead, instead of absorbing the movement we’re in now. When we notice, we naturally take a pause. We wait. In the pause, we notice a sensation, a thought, a feeling. We notice our breath. In this breath, we come back.
In these pauses we’re developing mindfulness. Mindfulness begets the pause and the pause begets mindfulness. It’s a cycle of action that keeps us present, allowing us to see. Knowledge floods in. We let go of unhelpful habits and thoughts. We begin to understand. Understanding ourselves leads to understanding others leads to understanding ourselves. Another cycle - one that yields compassion in droves.
When you’re in Trikonasana (Triangle Pose) and you’re cued to lunge into your front leg and place a block in front of your foot, you anticipate moving into Ardha Chandrasana (Half Moon Pose). Take a pause. What are you feeling?
Yoga isn’t a practice of static poses with nothing in between, just as life isn’t a series of still moments with nothing in between. We spend a great deal of time in transitions. When we practice yoga for a long time and stay devoted, we learn to pause not just in stillness, but in the transitions. Mindfulness and compassion aren’t found in anticipating what comes next. Instead they are discovered when we pause along the way.