* Taking a Sacred Pause


The Last samurai

I am working with an incredible group of people in a workshop series called “Yoga of Transformation”. On monday night we talked about taking mindful action and bringing “flow” into our everyday lives.

Within this flow Dan shared the idea of the sacred pause.  Dan is a Karate Master. The sacred pause for him is that space on the intake of breath that allows him to be fully present, calm and alert before exhaling and moving the energy through his body in whatever direction he chooses.

We then  discussed the pause between reacting to an emotional trigger and giving us the time to think and respond.

This can also happen on an inhale of breath. In that moment, the fight or flight stimulus from our reptilian brain can signal our frontal cortex to think instead of act out.

In the sacred pause we move into choice rather than reaction.

When I came home I was inspired by these words from “Radical Acceptance” by Tara Brach.


“A pause is a suspension of activity, a time of temporary disengagement when we are no longer moving towards any goal. The pause can occur in the midst of almost any activity and can last for an instant, for hours or for seasons of our life…..
 In a pause we simply discontinue whatever we are doing—thinking, talking, walking, writing, planning, worrying, eating—and become wholeheartedly present, attentive and, often, physically still….

A pause is, by nature, time limited. We resume our activities, but we do so with increased presence and more ability to make choices. In the pause before sinking our teeth into a chocolate bar, for instance, we might recognize the excited tingle of anticipation, and perhaps a background cloud of guilt and self-judgment. We may then choose to eat the chocolate, fully savoring the taste sensations, or we might decide to skip the chocolate and instead go out for a run. When we pause, we don’t know what will happen next. But by disrupting our habitual behaviors, we open to the possibility of new and creative ways of responding to our wants and fears.”

Thank you  Dan and Tara for making something very clear to me…

When we find our Middle Ground we find our Sacred Pause.


13 responses to “* Taking a Sacred Pause

  1. Good call. Radical Acceptance is one of my favorite books. Pauses are exciting…once you get used to them!


  2. I love this concept. i remember once in a phase of turmoil I stopped and looked up at the sky. There were storm clouds but the sun was peeping from behind one of the clouds. It was but a moment yet in that moment I gained clarity and made a huge decision to change the direction of my life. I do believe in the magic of those moments of pause. Thanks for this post.


  3. Pingback: * The Humour / Humor Pause | Find Your Middle Ground·

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