I went to a yoga class with mom the other day called "Yoga Therapy." It was a sweet experience of many basic movements, but what I appreciated even more was the very very slow pace of the practice.
In our fast moving culture, even much of yoga has jumped onto the bandwagon of high speed. Slowing down in my body was so soothing, it built ample heat, and it brought so much increased awareness to various parts of my physical structure.
Many people find a slower practice much more rigorous on both their body and mind as their ability to remain attentive and present is challenged. But what a powerful challenge it can be.
Why We All Need to Slow Down
Carl Honore, author of In Praise of Slowness, was inspired to challenge the cult of speed after he found himself about to buy a collection of one-minute bedtime stories for his kids.
Our rushed culture is obsessed with productivity, which leads to overwork, ramped consumerism, and an often false perception of true gratification.
With the hunger not satiated, the cycle continues and the faster it gets, the less people are able to step back and evaluate whether this model of living is even working or meeting any of their deep seated needs.
The obsession with speed creates lower quality products which can threaten our safety (think car recalls), superficial connections that only skim the surface and less time to connect with family, friends, and partners.
As a culture, we get 90 minutes less sleep per night than those living a century ago and our entanglement with activity has reduced the pocket of time for people to simply be.
What happened to gazing out the window of a car or train or staring at the night sky to remember how we fit into the grand scheme of things?
Slow, Mindful Movement vs. Fast, Mindless Motion
Fast is not inherently "bad" as there are examples of conscious rapid movement which makes sense and has intelligence and consciousness behind it. The problem occurs when mindless fast takes the reins and we find ourselves overly busy, controlling, aggressive, hurried, overly analytical, stressed, superficial, impatient, and valuing quantity-over-quality.
When we turn down the speed we can become more spacious, carefree, receptive, composed, intuitive, relaxed, unhurried, deep, patient, reflective, and value quality-over-quantity.
As a result of these states, we can increase immune functionality, have healthier digestion, feel less guilt, live with a more honed and toned nervous system, increase our time spent in "feel good" states, have more moments of gratitude and appreciation, and boost the level of intimacy present in the day-to-day.
We can choose when to turn up the pace in a conscious way instead of letting speed overrun our lives.
How you do anything is how you do everything. So especially if you have a regular yoga practice, explore slowing it down and observe what shifts.
Also, look into the slow food or slow money movement, go for a slow motion walking meditation, and next time you make love with your beloved — yes its hard to believe but people are now replying to texts or checking Facebook even during this activity — carve out a large chunk of time, slow it down, and savor more!
Take back the reins! It's time, before this high speed world takes your life for an unwanted ride.