Schools and universities are back in session. The leaves are starting to fall from the plane trees in my neighborhood. One day we need our wellington boots, the next we need sunscreen. I find myself wanting the weather to commit one way or the other. I desire the change, not the process of change.

This is often the same with a yoga class – as a teach, I see my students rush to get into the pose – rushing through the transition or the poses that they dislike. Transitions are where we tend to injure ourselves because we are not being as mindful, so for our body’s sake we should pay attention.

For our mind’s sake we should also pay attention so that we can learn to enjoy the journey, rather than just focusing on the endpoint – that overly used truism. Every time we allow ourselves to freak out, we flood our system with cortisol, which takes 24 hours to dissipate.

One of my teachers ( notes that many of us are living in a stress bath – soaking our bodies in a tub of cortisol. Cortisol has two jobs: (i) getting our system ready for the fight/flight response by moving blood to our extremities and (ii) fighting internal intruders, like bacteria. When we have these stress responses, cortisol floods our system as a response to external intruders, which are usually not woolly mammoths anymore – but the perceived stressors, such as deadlines, new routines, angry drivers. This means that cortisol is no longer fighting the internal intruders but is accumulating in our bodies, creating a constant state of stress.

Pay attention to the spaces between events. Sit quietly and breathe, notice the spaces between the inhales and exhales. Notice where you rush: through your commute, through your vinyasa, through your meal. Slow down. Slow down, sit quietly under a tree and smell the flowers, like Ferdinand the Bull.

©Tamsin Astor-Jack, Yoga Brained LLC