Madhya: The Space Between
By Barbara Schuette on November 20, 2021
Madhya is a Sanskrit word that references the pause or the space between. It references the pause between breaths (even though this may only be a millisecond) or the pause between stimulus and response.
Often in class with our variety of breathing exercises, we purposely expand the pause between the in breath and the out breath. This experience of lengthening the gap between breaths actually allows us to feel our lungs inflating and hugging into the heart space as we inhale and deflating as we exhale. It is within that small space of time that we check in with body and notice how we are feeling.
The classic example of “madhya” is when someone rudely cuts you off in traffic (stimulus) and your reaction to it (response.) Did you react and yell, possibly curse, or did you pause, count to 10, and respond by staying calm and safe? If you yelled and cussed, did it increase your blood pressure or the rude driver’s? 🤔
Expanding the gap—the space between—holds so much power! It can be the difference between a positive outcome of any situation or a negative outcome. And guess what? Only you hold the power to expand the pause and decide how to respond, taking into consideration the feelings of others involved. It can be the difference between making a mountain out of a molehill in our daily lives.
Again who holds the power to lengthen the space—that hang time—between stimulus and response? Between action and reaction? You. Only you. You can control the outcome of so many situations or occurrences by simply pausing, counting to 10, considering how your impulsive side wants you to react and how your sensible side knows it needs to respond.
Maybe next time you are cut off in traffic and ready to explode, you can pause, take a breath, laugh or even say a prayer that he or she doesn’t cause an accident. 🙏
It’s a great reminder for all of us to slow down, soften, pause + watch your breath move you.
A fantastic read to help us slow down and care for ourselves is Tara Stiles' book, "Clean Body, Clean Mind: A 28-Day Plan for Physical, Mental, and Spiritual Self-Care."