“Between stimulus and response, there is a space. In that space lies our freedom and our power to choose our response. In those choices lies our growth and our happiness.”
Have you found yourself in a situation where some little auto-pilot in your brain took over, determining what you said, how you reacted and how it made you feel afterwards? And maybe you have found yourself thinking “Why did I react this way… again?” What happens then is that conditioned responses take over and prevent us from exercising our freedom to choose how we react to a certain situation. Fortunately, like any bad habits, we can re-wire these connections (‘synapses’) in our brains – and yoga is a good way to teach us how.
If you have attended our recent meditation workshop, you may have initially found yourself going through all sorts of dramas while sitting still; until there was that magical moment (maybe only a micro-second) where everything stopped and there was just ‘space’: In yoga, we cultivate that space, let it be through meditation practice or by adding a small pause at the beginning and end of each exhale during our Vinyasa practice. Or by simply pausing and collecting ourselves when we are about to enter a challenging or scary or demanding posture. Slowing down the breath is integral to all these practices and it is the prerequisite to give us that ‘pause’: To stop and think and review the stimulus and maybe understanding how our conditioned response would have us react – and then choose how we truly want to react (or we may simply choose not to react at all!). There is an amazing transformative process of simply being able to focus on the breath in those stressful situations: While it will not change the situation, it will allow you to react with greater integrity and mindfulness.