Stress of World Events Has People Looking for Healing at Westport Studio

 You might walk by the meditation and yoga classes at Westport’s Pause + Purpose and do a double take - because people are chatting. A lot.

Isn’t everyone supposed to be quiet?

Not here. In fact, founder Emily Tuttle says the mindfulness center’s focus on “everyone having a voice” is why more people are flocking to her sanctuary. The innovative space combines healing modalities like meditation and yoga with the power of listening and talking. 

“I started Pause + Purpose because I felt anonymous at every other meditation or yoga studio I went to,” she said. “We have a sharing circle at the end of every single class. That ability to listen to others and to speak your truth is so healing in itself. So we fill a void that was there -- because so much research shows that living spiritually in community is the number one antidote to depression and anxiety.”

Tuttle is trained in trauma sensitivity, which she completed in the Trauma Research Foundation run by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk, author of The New York Times Bestseller “The Body Keeps the Score.” The book highlights how trauma isn’t just experienced by soldiers in a war – but by regular people who suffer loss, betrayal and hurt by life’s events. Pause + Purpose seeks to bring this to life by validating every person’s experience. 

Tuttle and her team have seen more people reaching out since the pandemic to find a deeper spiritual practice and a place to speak about their feelings – especially these past few months after the violence in the Middle East. 

“We have built a safe place and community for people to come to,” Tuttle said. “Our members tell us ‘I never thought I would find a place where I belonged so fast. I can’t believe you’ve created a space where we can be ourselves.’”

Some of the classes incorporate primal rage screaming where you free your voice. Others focus on moon circles, sacred sound or somatic healing. All incorporate some kind of journaling or discussion. The center’s yoga classes are a contemporary take on traditional yoga asana where fluid, intuitive movement is married to deep, wholesome breathing techniques. Pause + Purpose infuses science backed practices into its classes - plus ancient techniques that our ancestors developed before they understood why they were helpful. These practices help release emotional pain from the body, help us process things faster and help us connect with ourselves, each other and nature?”

In September, Pause + Purpose collaborated with the Westport Library to host New York Times best-selling author Lisa Miller, PhD as part of its Self-Checkout series. Miller is the Founder of the Spirituality and Mind Body Institute at Columbia University. Her groundbreaking research is the focus of her book "The Awakened Brain: The New Science of Spirituality and Our Quest for an Inspired Life," points to the mindfulness Pause + Purpose cultivates as the key to a healthy, deeply meaningful life.

“There is one spiritual brain and we all have it,” Miller told the crowd, noting how spirituality makes us more resilient. “When you choose to practice your spiritual life, when you’re on a quest day in and day out…there is a change in our brain through which our awakening becomes neuroprotective when what we want is not what we get.”

Miller said every one of us is intuitive – but we have to engage our awakened brain. She asked a series of provocative questions: “Are we less radically makers of our path and more discoverers of our journey? Where in your road of life is your higher power? Might it be that you have been on a spiritual path all along?”

Pause + Purpose seeks to guide people on this journey. Ultimately, founder Tuttle said, “It’s built on the idea that a whole person’s well being encompasses more than fitness and relaxation. It’s about community – and we hope to continue making that community larger.” 

In September, Pause + Purpose will launch a Full Body Meditation Teacher Program which will be offered online for five months and will help spread the center’s mission to others. To learn more about membership or try a class at Pause + Purpose, click here:

Submitted by Westport, CT

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