In yoga, especially when exploring the breath, we often invite the notion to “notice the pause,” as we breathe, whether it is the natural pause between inhalation and exhalation or if it is a pause introduced on purpose. As a mindfulness exercise, noticing how we breathe normally and then perhaps choosing to breathe in a purposeful way (inhale for a count of four, pause for a count a seven, exhale for a count of eight is a favorite breath exercise of mine) can help calm the vagus nerve, slow the heart, and ease anxiety.
It takes practice to learn to “embrace the pause.” If we prolong the pause, instinct often kicks in to inhale or exhale (you can pause with lungs full of or completely empty of air). Observing this desire, this natural instinct, can help bring awareness to how the body and the mind responds to stressors. Next time stress creeps in or you feel some anxiety, take a few minutes to observe your breath and note the pause. If you are able, try to embrace that pause and see where it goes.
That is where I currently find myself at this moment in my journey. Due to some physical challenges that have occurred recently and very suddenly, I have chosen to embrace a different kind of pause. My husband and I are pausing our consumption of certain things, wine included, as we both try to address some health needs through dietary changes. This is much more than my annual Whole 30 challenge or going Keto for a few weeks. I am seeking to heal myself from the inside out and choosing to embrace this pause. So, you won’t be seeing me at wine tastings or talking Thirsty Thursday for the next few months as I tune inward and listen to what my body is telling me. So far, it has told me this is a good thing as I am sleeping better, have ZERO menopause symptoms, have easily released some stubborn pounds I have been trying to rid myself of for the last two years, and simply enjoying things…like breath exercises and long walks in the evening with my family.
I invite you to consider things in your life where a pause may be appropriate: perhaps you have been putting in more time at work and less with the family because of budget challenges; perhaps it is the go-go-go of family life where everyone has an activity to be at so you drive around frantic to make every appointment; perhaps it is spending too much time on your phone or computer, scrolling, scrolling, scrolling…wherever you would like to adopt new habits or new appreciation, consider embracing a pause and seeing where the pause leads you.
Am I done with wine? I don’t think so, but the benefits I listed above certainly have given me pause (I have been battling thyroid issues while trying to launch a new business…my cortisol levels have been off the charts and something had to give…improving my diet is an easy and necessary change.) This pause certainly has shifted my perspective and given me a lot to think about and consider. It has also meant curtailing social media as well…so you may have noticed I have withdrawn from the Twitterverse and Insta for the most part. It was a time sink I honestly cannot allow to myself to fall into (and I have been better for it all around.)
In the mean time, you can still connect with me (I am still happy to answer your questions about wine and make suggestions for wine and food pairings) and find me on the mat or hanging on the wall. In fact, I am subbing this weekend at Satya in Colo Spgs at 10 on Saturday. Come “hang” with me if you want to hear more about where I am on this new journey of embracing the pause.