The magic floated in later, never in those intentional minutes. Time and again, during subsequent hours and days there’d be a “sudden” connection or a solution to what had previously been a struggle. A decision made oh-so-quietly. A silent whisper of an idea. Did it just come? Or, possibly, was it always there and just in need of being noticed?

I originally named it the do-nothing exercise. But truly it was, and is, a dynamic pause. And it came within a 30-minute period of just being, untethered from all the doing that comes with a day in life.

Its genesis was about a decade ago, born during a class I was teaching to new health/wellness/lifestyle coaches. The course itself had to do with getting organized and moving through the completion of projects. During a discussion where folks were lollygagging on moving into action, I teasingly suggested that many times we don’t get anything done in the doing phase, so everyone should just stop for 30 minutes and see what happens next. 

I then assigned the exercise formally. Go outside, or sit near a window, look out at or be in nature. Set a timer for 30 minutes, move far away from electronic devices, and just be.

As I outlined it, there is one comment that came up and continues to come up to this day: “I don’t have time to do nothing for 30 minutes!”  After the rolling boil rise of the emotion that comes with the statement, they move to a simmer, and then they do it.

The enchantment doesn’t come during that time. It is simply the vessel. The charm of it comes in minutes and days and weeks after. And the challenge is in allowing for the interruption. Then, the understanding grows. The pause has the potential to deliver more focused action, answers, ideas, conclusions, revelations, and even allows for questions to bubble up and out. The dynamic pause of stopping allows a respite from doing, and awards insight found within our very selves.

It wasn’t defined or designed exactly as a meditation, yet there was some meditative magic that did come with it–accordant with the personal mystic I believe is in each of us. I study it myself quite intently. It helps me better attune to intuition, which has the potential to come through loud and clear.  If not exactly in those moments, then often later. This premise of do-nothing also has a front row seat as the basis for the curriculum in my restorative yoga classes.

In a yoga session format, I find that oftentimes people need permission for 60 minutes of near nothingness.  A specified period when they stop.  The only doing involves some changing of physical position, while propped by bolsters, blankets, blocks, sandbags, and eye pillows.  

Here, participants relax into the dynamic pause with more ease, as the space for it is being held. They have permission. And not just the body. The mind, which doesn’t easily take time to pause, dynamic or otherwise. Augmented by ambient music, dim to no lighting, and suggestive intentions, it’s a practice that offers a different type of rest than a nap. While then providing a chance for added physical vitality, better management of stress and somatic repose. It allows the blessing of a red stop light during most very green lit days.  

In the space where we live, always doing something or other, the concept of heading in the opposite space can feel a bit dizzying and may easily cause resistance in that “I don’t time to do nothing!” way.  In my personal and my teaching experience, I’ve seen it come down to the preparation and intention for this needed disruption. Whatever it takes to help ease into the dynamic pause is the portal through… and into you.

Mela Stevens is a board-certified health/wellness coach, Integrative Nutrition Coach, Quantum Coaching Method lifestyle coach, E-RYT 500 yoga teacher, energy alchemist, writer, body mover, lover of the sea and joy-seeker. She can be found teaching at Sadhana on Monday afternoons (4 pm/Restorative, 5:15/slow-paced yoga).