‘You Gave Me Permission To Pause’
"You gave me permission to pause."
After one of my students said this to me recently, I began to reflect on my relationship with rest.
As a human race, we are constantly ‘doing’ – something exacerbated by the added pressure of immediacy when it comes to digital technology. But what happens when we rest? Are we fearful that when we pause we might not know ourselves? What happens when we simply give ourselves permission to pause, to breathe, to be in stillness, and to rest?
We feel pressure and we put pressure on ourselves to keep going. While sometimes it’s necessary to get things done, how can you pace yourself and not get depleted?
Think about it like this: like increases like. When you do more, you feel you should do more. Slow down a little and chances are you’ll feel calmer and rested – and you might just surprise yourself with how much you get done as a result. You can only keep going for so long until you are worn out and in Ayurveda, they call this the depletion of Ojas.
Ojas is the vital essence that gives us immunity and a feeling of wellbeing. Think of it as a bucket. When you do things that nourish you, such as resting, eating, spending time with friends, or being in nature, you fill the bucket and as a result, you have more energy. The more time you spend overworking and doing things that deplete you, the more quickly you eat into the energy that you need. You empty the bucket. That is how Ojas works. They say you only have a certain amount of Ojas so you need to be mindful of how much you use up.
I found out the hard way after I had my three children in the space of four and a half years and moved to a new country with my family. I remember thinking I needed to cope by myself. I felt I was weak if I asked for help or it would be seen as a failure of being a good Mum. Subsequently, everything got too much and I developed chronic fatigue. It was then that I was forced to slow down and take a good look at myself. I didn’t know then how I could be a great Mum.
This is where my obsession for rest and recovery began. It took time, patience, and compassion for myself when I got it wrong, and realising that rest is complicated helped me to change the narrative.
When someone tells you to ‘just relax, it’s not that easy. You might find it hard to lie down and it might feel like your body is twitching for you to keep doing. You might feel the tension in a particular area, or you might be too frightened to stop for fear of not being able to start again. You might even relish the thought of getting ill and being forced to rest. These are all normal experiences.
I have been working with this exploration as one way to rest while active:
- Take a walk around the space you are in at your normal pace. What do you notice? Is there a particular area of your body where you feel you are using more effort? Does your head pull forwards? How are you breathing?
- Now do the same thing with 30 percent less effort, bring awareness to your heels on the ground and into the back of your body. What do you notice?
- Are you able to incorporate this into your day? Make a note of what you notice.?
Here is a short Yoga Nidra, which is another way I add rest into my day. Take 10 minutes to try it and see how you feel afterwards. You can even do it at your desk. Does it help you if you take a pause?
I will leave you with this thought: How can you prioritise rest in your day?
If you would like to learn some more yoga tools for rest and slowing down or if you are having trouble with stress or anxiety, click here to book a free 20-minute call where we can chat and see if we are a fit for working together.