Transitions and How We Make Them: Three Things to Remember


I sat cross-legged on my mat in the exercise room surrounded by glass, feeling as conspicuous as a single fish in an otherwise empty fishbowl. Other cross-legged classmates filled the room, but I couldn’t get over the feeling that other gym-goers eyes followed me as I sat deep-breathing into my ribs. It wasn’t until I closed my eyes and focused on the yoga instructor’s voice that the rest of the world melted away, if only for a little while.

The instructor spoke about crossing thresholds, how we must pay the closest attention when we transition from one place to another. Transitions between the poses are the most difficult and most challenging part of the yoga practice. So often, we believe holding the pose–staying in one place for a long period of time–is the hard part. But, injury usually occurs when crossing over from one movement to another.

This may sound a little woo-woo if you’re not into contorting your body into gravity-defying positions, but I think there are some valid off-mat lessons yoga practice can teach us.

Three things to remember when experiencing transition

Stay focused

Focus on what you’re leaving behind, but also where you’re going. We lose focus when we become more interested in how the person next to us is managing to move with such grace, than on how we handle our own transitioning.

I fumble my way through much of life–graceless and messy. But I don’t want comparison to rob me of the joy of accomplishment. Moving forward, from one place in life to another, graceful or not, is worth our focus and attention. Once accomplished, it’s worth celebrating.

Be mindful

Pay attention. Pay attention to the signals your body, mind, and spirit send you. Pay attention to the pain. Attend to the discomfort. Listen to your own needs and treat them with care as you move forward into something new or different or exciting.

Be mindful of what is happening in your own space and how you experience change in your soul. Give yourself room to breathe.

Move slowly

Transition is a normal part of life. We move in and out of seasons like every other created being in nature. Some change occurs overnight, but most often, our souls forget to stay in tune with the subtle changes leading us into the next season. Moving slowly helps us avoid injury.

Will we always get it right? Will we always make the best and wisest decisions? No, but we can minimize the impact if we don’t rush in full-speed ahead with little thought for our emotional or physical safety.

If you find yourself in a place of transition today, know that it’s a messy process. It’s never going to look pretty without countless errors and many years of practice, but the resulting strength of character and flexibility of spirit make every bit of the aching worth it.


  • Michael Moore

    Beautiful and oh so timely…

  • I think i got here via a ‘share’ from Michelle DeRusha.
    You’ve nailed it. the being aware of what is left behind AND what is coming.
    More often than not we go one way or the other when it comes to the before and ahead.

    Paying attention – attending to discomfort – how did you learn this at a young age (ok, lots of people look “young” to me at my age!)

    Moving slowly – what happened to “let’s just fix this and move on.”? I hope you will pick up on it I am not buying the “fix it” method.

    I see you lived in Switzerland for three years – a dream of mine. My family migrated from there in 1700’s from Langnau

    • I’m learning by doing, Carol:) I hope you make it to Switzerland one day–we lived near Langnau, and it’s stunning. But then again, all of Switzerland is a post card in real life!

  • This is very wise. Thank you, especially for the part about paying attention to transitions because you are vulnerable to injury. I’m having a quiet, solitary summer, something I’ve needed for several years. It feels like a transition time for me. I’m not sure what the next thing will be…

    • I hope your summer is just what you need, Katie. Thanks for stopping by:)