Permission to pause

By Amanda Dawn Blackley.

Looking back, our relationship began playfully; gradually merging into a more serious friendship, before eventually becoming a deep, embodied connection. 

If I had to pinpoint what really led me to fall in love with yoga, there were several turning points along the way, none of which had anything to do with the physical expression of the practice. (NB: like many, my initial motivation was all about the body: move, sweat, get strong, and a long etc.)

However, like in any solid, long-term relationship, through courage, vulnerability, journeying and exploration, that love has deepened on many levels.

And what keeps the passion alive to continue to share this unique practice with others, (my why), is also what has naturally shaped me as a person and enabled me to trust myself to authentically offer my own experience when guiding others.

Firstly, I realised that when I was on my mat, I was learning to relate to myself from a deeperplace, beyond anything tangible, and far from an often bossy, critical or demanding inner dialogue focussed on the ‘external me’.

On my mat it was simply me relating to myself, slowly, authentically, vulnerably, without any role or agenda. A new sense of flow without pushing. 

Less physical, undemanding. 

A gentler me emerged, a kinder, softer being, and with the discovery of Yin Yoga, a certain ease, and a new piece in that very intricate, ever-changing puzzle of being human.

My second insight appeared during the pandemic in 2020. 

In Spain, lockdown was particularly severe and lengthy. Yet there was joy from the longer spells of time spent at home and with my husband, the chance to read and study, and to feel the stillness, an individual and collective need for reflection. 

As I later discovered, this time of less ‘doing,’ was for me and many others, going to reveal a great deal of subtle mental-emotional changes that had been lying hidden amidst the busyness of days, weeks, months and years prior.

It wasn’t until early 2021 when a conversation with a wise friend in her late 60s truly opened my eyes, when she gently suggested that I was (then at the age of 49), well into perimenopause! 

A new chapter in my life as a woman, wife, daughter, friend, yoga teacher was born. 

More training, courses, conferences and conversations ensued, as I eagerly sought out education, knowledge and greater awareness with which to more gracefully embrace the transition of hormonal change into Menopause. 

The transition, which is being, and will be, experienced in the life of every woman on the planet. 

How could my yoga practice now support me, my physical, mental and emotional health to better navigate this transition?

And what has become clearer than ever before, is that the time has come to slow down. 

To give myself permission to pause. 

These insights are weaved into my own practice and as an extension, the privilege of doing the same for others, offering little spaces in which to take that pause. 

Since 2018 I have been focused on inviting that time for self-connection within the world of public healthcare: – hospitals and primary health care centres in the province of Tarragona. Exploring being a kinder, gentler, more compassionate version of ourselves, 

More recently in 2021 I began to add in separate workshops for women, who are also stepping into a very special time in their lives as we navigate menopause. 

My humble mission is to educate and empower, to bust the myths, to change the ‘narrative’ and to signpost objective information that enables us to make more informed choices about our health and wellbeing.

One of our biggest achievements is to actually get ourselves on to the mat. The rest unfolds. And when it becomes a regular moment to pause, true acceptance and connection is possible.