We can only feel the benefits of a practice by remembering to do it on a regular basis.
Resolve to allow yourself pauses throughout the day, until it becomes part of what you unconsciously do. The challenge is largely remembering to do it.
It’s too easy to not make room for these practices, by feeling we can’t spare the time – even though they’re enjoyable and beneficial, helping us to function so much better. We actually save time in the long run.
(Like other practices, this will soon also be available as a podcast.)
Recognise a natural pause, a short break from action.
If upright, stand still; if tired sit down.
If clutching something, put it down. Be empty-handed and open-hearted, and welcome this space.
Notice the breath, which reflects how you are feeling. If you are stressed or have been rushing, allow the out-breath to soften; this will help reduce the heart rate.
Sigh a few deeper breaths out through the mouth, as if exhaling for now the cares of the day.
Remove any glasses to give your eyes a break. If the face feels tight, yawn and stretch it, then relax.
Allow the shoulders to drop and release the weight of the arms. Relax the hands. Let the head float up, jaw releasing, back of neck softening.
Take a moment to attune your senses. Feel your body breathing. Notice sounds, smells, temperature, and the contact of clothing on skin.
With relaxed gaze, take in your surroundings. If outdoors, notice wind and weather.
It is possible to become entirely absorbed in these moments, a central calm in the maelstrom of a changing day.
From what are you pausing? What kind of thoughts have you been thinking? Have they been a good influence on your behaviour so far today? Notice thoughts which come whilst you pause.
Imagine inhaling everything you need right now, to help improve and make the best of your day. Breath in what’s helpful, breath out what isn’t.
Move on when ready, restored by this pause… until the next opportunity.