“When we cultivate the discipline to pause, it becomes possible for us to make a choice that is outside our normal habit pattern. And it is in breaking through these entrained patterns that we can begin to experience a more liberated way of being. Gradually we become the freedom that we previously longed for.” Donna Farhi
This week while flipping through one of my favourite yoga books, “Bringing Yoga To Life” by Donna Farhi, I came across this underlined passage and it reminded me of exactly why I do all of the yoga practices I do, but particularly reinforced why I detox.
I see detoxing as pressing the annual pause button. A time to stop the “entrained patterns” as Fahri puts it, look at what they are exactly, and then consciously decide how, what or if any of them need changing so that I may live in a more liberated and happy way.
Fahri says what happens in the pause between longing for a feeling of freedom and how we respond to that longing is worth consideration because it is in the pause that we make a choice.
One of the most simple yet profound skills I’ve learned through practicing yoga is to take a deep breath before acting. We learn to do this in the yoga class room by slowing down, listening to the breath and then making conscious movements…and not only does it generate a beautiful grace, control and strength, but also a peace of mind and steady nervous system that is palpable.
The longer I practice yoga the better I get at taking a deep breath, a pause, in hard or intense moments of life, and then moving through them in a more graceful and conscious way.
But that pause, that moment of non action and just looking at what is, can be really uncomfortable. In nanoseconds we may experience and feel anxiety, depression, unbound enthusiasm, fear, love, longing, aversion…so many powerful emotions. What ever they are it is their potency that often makes us feel uncomfortable and want to rush into a decision that gets us out of experiencing those strong feelings.
So often we’re launched into reactiveness just to escape the intensity of our feelings. On a day to day basis it may happen when we come home from work at night and feel lonely or overwhelmed and without thinking pour a drink, flip on the T.V., over eat or snap at our partner.
All of these little moments of unconscious reactions end up creating habits that we can become trapped by. Rather than listening the the message of the emotions which guide us to our deepest desires and life purpose we become trapped in patterns of avoiding them.
What would happen if we instead stopped, paused, and asked what would true satisfy us? Well, we might just discover the answer!
In previous detoxes when I’ve slowed down my life, created more me time for just a few weeks, stopped the habits like overstimulation, overeating and overexerting that lead me away from feeling all my deeper feeling — when I just paused normal life and looked within — I found answers and pathways to my hearts desire, to my inner power, my life-force.
Fahri says, “When we contain rather than constantly discharge [avoid] our feeling state, we allow ourselves to feel completely. In feeling completely we re-experience our aliveness and the source of that aliveness.”
This is why I detox. Yes, it is to cleanse my body and clear my mind, but these I do in order to re-experience my aliveness and the source of that aliveness within me.
Each time I detox I feel more and I also see the contrast of what is causing me to feel dull, low energy or foggy in my mind and intentions.
The seeing is uncomfortable at first, but the truth is, the long term experience of living without that life-force energy connection is more uncomfortable.
Fahri also talks about how this practice of pausing reminds us that we are not all the things we experience. When we pause we connect to our observer mind and remember our true identity is the part within us that does not change, the soul or purusa as it’s called in Sanskrit.
The perspective shifts to, “I feel anxious right now, but I am not this anxiety. I have the habit of emotional eating right now, but I am not that habit.”
There is so much freedom generated when we remember this! I always fell like a weight is lifted off my shoulders when I re-identify with my pure essence rather than the momentary life experience. And again, this is a huge part of detoxing. Clearing out the self identity that doesn’t serve us, and reconnecting to our identity as pure, powerful, conscious beings.
My New Years Yoga Detox starts tomorrow and I’m so looking forward to this journey, this reconnection to the source of my aliveness, and to sharing the journey with others. It makes such a difference to support and be supported by others begin brave enough to pause and look a little deeper.
If you can join we’d love to have you, and if not I’ll be keeping you posted in my blogs about the experience.