For an introduction to the STOP PRACTICES read Kit’s blog-STARTING TO STOP.
This practical reminder uses breath awareness to restore equilibrium. It helps how we respond to ourselves, and to whatever’s happening around us.
It can prove an effective and immediate balm, even for an anxious frame of mind.
To effect these stops, the practice uses the Red Dot method:
Put a dot on the palm of your hand with indelible ink. Whenever you notice the dot, pause for a few breaths.
The dot could be on either palm… try it both ways. Seeing one palm too frequently may not help the practice – it’s for you to decide.
The dot can be any colour; I use red because of its association with traffic lights.
How we are breathing is a reflection of our condition. This means we can consciously influence our immediate physical/mental state through our manner of breathing, ie; A softer exhale tells the vagus nerve to slow the heartbeat.
Consequently, this is an effective tool for more skilful and attuned self-management. It is first-hand experience of the intimate links between thought, feeling, muscular/mental tension and breath.
Read the practice through a few times, perhaps before sleeping and again in the morning, with a view to practising it over the coming day.
We suggest below several visualisations; choose just one for each single pause.
Soak up what you remember and make it your own.
When you notice the dot, pause from action for a few breaths. Each breath is an opportunity for inspiration.
Drop the shoulders. Relax the face and back of neck.
Notice your breath. Let your exhales soften and your inhales deepen.
Breathe yourself into here and now. Let your breathing keep you in these moments.
Focus on today. Let go of yesterdays and tomorrows.
The breath is solar energy. Breathe it. Absorb it through your skin.
Our solar cycle both gives us vigour and helps us to rest.
Inhale vitality right down into your fingers and toes.
Draw power into every molecule and atom.
The breath is a quickening wind to clear away self-deception.
Be unafraid to breathe it deeply. Inhale into your head; let it brighten eyes with which to see yourself more clearly.
Have it blow away cobwebs from your mind.
The breath is a light of understanding, bringing wisdom to your daily thoughts and actions. Let it enlighten today’s decisions.
Bathe in the light and let it guide your choices.
The breath is perception to show what lies behind our own and others’ actions.
Soak up insight with your inhales.
Let it help your interactions with yourself and with the world.
The breath is a friend who gives us courage to face challenge.
Inhale the resolve to try and do what’s right, even when others think us wrong.
Let this help you live a virtuous and good life – of being true to yourself.
The breath is compassion, even when times are hard and life unkind.
Inhale into your heart the love that melts away negative emotions.
Accept that a life less anxious is indeed a life more kind.
The breath is forgiveness. It helps heal our wounds.
Inhale generosity of spirit.
Be reminded that it can be hard to live a humane life.
The breath is dynamic and cheerful, helping us to be less serious.
Let inhales lift your spirit and lighten any heaviness of heart.
Remember that even the happiest will know some sadness – joys and sorrows are just part of life.
Breath is revelation: that our fears can root us to the spot or send us fleeing for refuge… why not let the exhales dissolve anxieties, which hold you back and stop you enjoying this splendid life?
The breath is harmony. Why not be comfortable in your skin and at ease within?
Inhale peace. Be at peace.
Feel connected, be connected, stay connected… this is your world.
Do you feel refreshed?
When you’re ready, resume action and move on.
OTHER STOP PRACTICES