Movement frames much of our experience on earth. We are constantly resisting the pull of gravity and making our way around the world to accomplish our tasks, whether that be taking a shower in the morning, training for a marathon or picking up a tired child to tuck them into bed. Yoga Tune Up®, with its many tools of sensation, challenges each of us to untangle the complicated strands of our unconscious movement and then re-create a new normal, one that is informed by a fresh understanding of how we perceive our own bodies in space. Big change occurs with this teaching and I find many of my students are focused on the actions to create these new connections and perceptions.
As student and teacher, I can often become engrossed in certain sequences and routines that change range of motion and get super excited when feeling that targeted alteration as a result of a physical action. These sensed changes are a major contributor to the development of the EmbodyMap – one of the key tools in YTU to build proprioception in practitioners. But, as I toy with my own practice and watch my students, I’ve become more attentive to the Power of the Pause, the moments in the practice for reflection and guided observation of quieter changes across the interior terrain.
These short moments of stillness embedded in the practice allow for the stimulated nerve endings within our fascia to imprint the messages of movement onto our EmbodyMap. This provides an opportunity for that “new normal” to coalesce in our systems and become natural. If you are a student with hypermobile shoulders and you practice a stabilizing pose, such as “Hitchhiking Pizzas”, the muscles of your shoulder that engage when externally rotating (primarily teres minor and infraspinatus) are given fresh feedback on the sensations of stability. In the following pause, if practiced consistently, your mind and body NOTICE the sensation and mark it on your EmbodyMap to reteach the shoulders stability in the face of hypermobility.
To me, this is one of the most personal aspects of this work – allowing each student to use similar actions to re-educate their individual patterns of movement, often only accessed though the pause.
Therapy Balls help us find the power of the pause through the stimulation of the many nerve endings that live in our fascia. This stimulation translates directly into improved proprioception through the Ruffini endings, one type of sensory neuron. As stated in The Roll Model (Jill Miller, p.115), when aroused, these Ruffini endings “send two messages to the central nervous system:
- They increase body awareness or proprioception in the stimulated area
- They tamp down sympathetic outflow, sedating your entire nervous system and reducing global tension in your body.”
This tamping down of the nervous system is the pause that educates the activated area toward a new normal and provides a moment to develop the internal gaze to compare your “before” condition to your “after” condition. This creates the environment for you to be both participant and an observer of your practice. And it is this skill that will enable you to work with increased astuteness and connectedness to all the parts of yourself.
This is the Power of the Pause – after differentiating the parts of your body through self-massage and corrective actions, you then meld back together with your unfelt areas, felt. It’s time to shake hands with your blind spots as you pause in the echoes of your movement, reaching into the shaded areas of your proprioception for the light of understanding yourself.
Enjoyed this article? Read Building a Coregeous EmbodyMap, Starring the Diaphragm
I love that gravity is mentioned as I heard somewhere that we evolved and developed dopamine to feel pleasure in order to ‘deal’ with the sheer force of gravity on our bodies. Taking the time and energy to pause during a pose and to really tap in and feel it is therapy on its own for my emotions; there have been several times when I hit a spot and breath into it and I have a wave of emotions come up, whether that’s sadness or anger (the emotion trapped in my body). So blind spots for me can not only show the blind spot physically, but also emotionally.
The power of pause and fascia! Thanks for this article, it explains well how balls can give us amazing feedback from our body! It’s up to us to hear it!
As someone who has a daily meditation practice, the ability to get your mind to pause and notice what is happening in the present moment has for me always encouraged a healthy integration of sensory input into the mind. It is a welcomed reminder that this same sensory integration can happen off the meditation cushion and in a body focused experience with a pause.
I really liked the article and I am left with the power of the pause, which we should not only do in our day to day and have small moments of introspection, but simply to release the inertia of doing and doing and being able to recharge. And one way to make this pause is to use the therapy of the balls that help us stimulate the nerve endings of the fascia, improving our proprioception in the stimulated area and sedating the nervous system, to re-educate our body and release pain, then sadly We get used to living like this.
I think that the pause should be a “must” in yoga practices… it is so important to see what is happening with our body and mind during movement but also in stillness. Actually it is amazing all the information that the nervous system receives and gives back while is motionless… also the pauses are teaching us to stay present and calm in our busy lives.
I have always found the pause, the moments in practice, where we take a few moments to be still and take it all in to be so powerful and I had no idea part of what was happening is the imprinting thats happening within our fascia !
Such important reminders to pause and link the breath and awareness to the movements – to me this connection is the heart of a yoga practice. Transformation comes from bringing awareness to the present moment and sensation during the “pause” is a great anchor.
The pauses between are where the biggest changes take place. Pauses between the breath in and breath out, pauses between movements, side of pose, pauses before rolling up our mats. These pauses remind us to be present each and every moment. There is no reason to rush from one thing to the next!
There is so much to learn about yourself during “the Pause.” I am brand new to using therapy balls and am blown away by what comes up during my rolling sessions.
I’m always amazed how the body does such an incredible work that we don’t even notice… I will definitively be adding the power of the pause into my reasons why you should roll and move differently.
Beautifully described! I think the pauses we learn to find in our practice represent the pauses we may want to take in our daily lives off the mat- a pause before we react, a pause to really listen, a pause to give space. Our bodies teach us so much when we truly listen!
This article puts into word exactly what I have been experiencing as I go through the YTU training. Even as a long time yoga practitioner and relatively experienced teacher, I have never felt so embodied in my stillness. Movement accompanied with stillness is really where you are able to feel a palpable and direct body-mind connection. I am a big believer that how we move our bodies affects how we think our thoughts and vice versa. This article just puts it all in a language that is tangible, contextualized, and helpful! YTU continues to remind and inspire me to not only obtain knowledge but to make it practical and applicable in an accessible way. Bookmarking this article!
Very interesting blog. There is the importance of poses and the importance of pauses. Selle explained!
I love that these concepts are coming together in the fitness/wellness/longevity world: navigating the mind-body connection (which for a long time has been, perhaps, an “acquired taste” in the western world) through bio-chemistry and bio-physics. This is a really fascinating explanation for the power of pause.
`sometimes the best part of the day is the pause between two breaths`
Bom dia! Alguma dica? Me ajuda? Meu raciocinio e’ simples. https://www.facebook.com/ReeducarEmagreceOficial/
“The power of the pose” by Kate Krumsiek is very well writing and easy to understand. The silence in music is a pose to better understand the rhythm and the melody. In yoga, it is the same pattern. The proprioception is so good and easy after a “ball rolling”, plus the silent moment to go deep inside to have a better knowledge …pour une meilleure santé..Merci
It was my time spent on the Roll Model Therapy Balls that helped me sense old tension patterns and embody a new, calmer normal. It worked so many wonders for me, that now my mission is to help people find more pauses in their daily lives. Perhaps that’s why sustained compression is my favorite therapy ball technique. Secret’s in the pause : )
It’s interesting to learn about the benefit of the pause beyond a meditative standpoint. Thank you for highlighting the importance of incorporating the pause as it relates to the nerve endings’ ability to imprint new messages of movement.
Beautiful description of the benefits of the pause. I also appreciate your explanation for how we develop our Embody Maps and the role the pause plays in this. Teaching our students to go internal is an important part of the practice.
Kate, I’m certain you are a superb teacher AND I hope you continue to write as well!! You have an amazing gift with words! I loved your description of “short moments of stillness allow for stimulated nerve endings in fascia to imprint the messages of movement onto our Embody Map” Perfect! And the nudge to “shake hands with your blind spots as you pause in the echo of your movement.” Exactly. Your article reminds us all of the profound importance of the power of the pause.
Thank you for the reminder to pause and to allow our body time to integrate the movements. It’s the silence between the notes/sounds.
I loved this post. YTU allows us to discover parts of our body that we may have not interacted with before, to stimulate them and then to feel the integration while down regulating. It is such a powerful practice.
I definitely resonate with this article! As I teach restorative/yin and I like how you called it “the power of pause” a moment compare your “before” condition to your “after” condition. Which I love to do in my classes. thanks for your words.
I love the idea of the Power of Pause “a moment to develop the internal gaze to compare your “before” condition to your “after” condition” Thank you for this great insight. and looking forward to sharing it with my students.
We often forget to slow down and feel things as a society. We go, go, go all day from one activity to the next without much reflection. This is a beautiful addition to not only our yoga/movement practice but also our daily lives. Thank you!
Beautifully written Kate, thank you. I love that both yoga and YTU rolling and targeted exercises encourage and allow us to quiet the noise, listen to our bodies and make discoveries in those pauses. So powerful. Amazing what we can learn when we step away from being a human “doing” and become a human “BEing”.
I feel like this philosophy can apply anywhere in life. This article is a great reminder of how important the pause is!
I am a big fan of the power of the pause! Not only is it useful when working with the body but it’s hugely helpful when interacting with others. I’ve found that our yoga and rolling practice informs and improves dysfunction in other areas of our lives. How we do anything is how we do everything so if we can practice and embody the “pause” in our physical body and with our breath, it will only benefit us relationally and personally.
I think it’s also important to find moments within the pose and on the way to the pose to pause. It’s like breaking down it down into smaller steps so your body can more precisely map the transitions.
I Love “The Power Of The Pause” – I feel this is very meditative!! By increasing your body /cell awareness and focusing on your breath without judgement YOU BECOME ONE.
J’ai adoré ton texte.Effectivement dans le tourbillon t de la vie nous prenons pas assez souvent conscience des mouvements du quotidiens.La prise de conscience des poses en yoga et si importante.
I’m all about the pause. the learning is definitely in the moments of non-action, often times more difficult than when we are in action. Since my Level 1 training i have enjoyed getting to know my body, like almost being reacquainted with it. i don’t shy from any pain or discomfort anymore. i truly see it now as my body speaking to me and i’m finally listening. thanks for the post!
“The Power Of The Pause” is a very powerful play on words and perfect title to this post. I think it’d be an awesome research study to get an idea of what the average amount of time people actually spend in absolute silence. I have a feeling majority of people spend less than 5 minutes a day, which is startling.
I. Loved. This. Thoroughly enjoyed the article and your perspective.
So true Kate! You have a true way with words. I’m currently in the Yoga Tune Up® Level 1 Teacher Training and my mind has been blown over and over with all of this juicy information. I love that I’m experiencing such strength buzzing throughout my entire body. By getting down and dirty and creating my own Embody map, I’m learning to feel at home in my own body – to love it for all of it’s imperfections and natural ways of movement that might not be the same as the person next to me. Thanks for sharing this – I needed to be reminded of it tonight.
Loved this article, and think it’s philosophy will come in handy OFF the mat!
Such a great article on what makes this awesOMe method so unique!!
I’ve always tried to understand how we train our muscles without having to think about engaging them. This gave me a clearer insight into the process of developing a “new normal” Thank you!
Words cannot describe how powerful this pause has been in my life. My body is completely new after practicing in YTU format. I have a new connection with my legs, my lungs and my mind (amongst everything else in my body). This pause of observation has translated into my daily life, has become a self-regulating tool, which has allowed all the other processes I practice in yoga to finally start showing up in all moments and interactions. I often encourage my students to “find peace right where they land” while in these transitioning pauses, as that is where it has taken me on and off my mat (and if I’m not peaceful, I have a beautiful tool that I use regularly which helps me witness and then transform whatever I’m feeling).
Beautifully written, thank you.
Great post! It can be easy to just move around on the YTU balls and try to get through a sequence quickly, but creating a pause in your movements really helps to bring more awareness to that area to stimulate more of a parasympathetic response.
Love the power of the pause. Olympic biathletes shoot between heartbeats. The Mongols, famous for their archery skills while riding horses were known to be able to shoot birds out of the sky while riding their horses at full gallop. The secret to their accuracy…timing the release of the bow string when all four of the horses hooves were off the ground. We’re just better when we find our pause. And then there’s meditation, the ultimate pause that rewires the brain. A great reminder for me as I soak all of this knowledge at the Yoga Tune UP Level 1 Cert. Pause a moment to let my body re-educate you brain and my brain re-educate my body!
I love this wording! So today was the first day of my Level 1 training (YAY!) and we actually had this experience today… We had practiced boomerang on the wall, and when we came out of it many of us (including myself) immediately started to shake our top arm out. Jill stopped us right away; she explained how when we do that we just erase all the corrective action we just did, and go back to where we were before the movement. We need to feel into that newness, and possible discomfort, to assess our new normal. AKA the power of the pause.
The power of pause needs to be practice in breath and life. Thank you
This is something that I am just now starting to work on, but it will continue to take some practice. I tend to have the urge to, “shake it out” or unwind after self-massage or certain poses. It makes sense not to do this though since I want to create a new normal versus revert back to where I came from. Being mindful of my urges and need to fidget afterward will take some extra consciousness on my part. Learning to pause, feel, and BE instead is a powerful potion, and will have a lot of crossover in my day-to-day life (as well as my movement practices).
Great article. As a yin yoga teacher, we often program “rebound” “pause” time between asanas and myself and students have experienced proprioception of breath, physical sensations and even the experience of watching thoughts which would not be possible moving into a counter posture without taking time out. I love the notion that YTU and its targeted movements can expose our blindspots (inefficient or even dangerous movement patterns) and provide tools (targeted YTU exercise or YTU ball rolling) to create healthier more efficient movement and love that the power of the pause has the ability to consolidate this and expand body awareness.
Well said, Kate! I too have been practicing the Power of Pause as you say, not only in my Yoga Tune Up® practice, but throughout my day. It’s amazing what I notice when I take time to BE in my body instead of just doing with my body. I hope to cultivate this awareness in my students as clearly as you have for us here!
Thank you Kate for this beautifully written blog about the Power of the Pause and creating new normals within our bodies via proprioception and our own EmbodyMap. As a fellow YTU teacher, I am especially excited to share your blog with my students because it so clearly and concisely explains in depth these important concepts that they hear in our YTU classes. I believe it will be another tool to better help them understand their own illumination!
Thoughtful and well written article. Thanks!
I’m in total agreement about the Power of Pause, I always believed there is way more to the practice of yoga than just doing. Its the internal reflection and awareness of what you are doing that is so important. Studying your own body from the inside out absorbing and correcting, tearing down old postural habits and rebuilding new by allowing as much time as needed in each new pose or experience to be absorbed into the fabric of the body and the mind.