Winter has a way of gently reminding, and sometimes demanding, a different pace through life. Slow, all things slow. Which is counterintuitive for most in this fast-paced culture where more is better, and faster, and is far superior.
Society and habituation have us all running through life, frantically stepping one foot in front of the other, in such a way, that far too often we are forcing reality rather than receiving it as it unfolds. I watch others and myself gasping for air as we race from one thing to the next, nervously pushing life to continue in an unnatural and seemingly unconscious progression.
This is happening in relationships, in the environment, and in the yoga room.
I listened to a friend tell me about her counterculture relationship where she and her partner, after seven years, are in no rush to get married. These days relationships advance towards marriage so quickly that it seems we are actually missing a very important piece to settling the foundation for a lasting love. What if, when it came to matters of the heart, slow was the only path? That we prepared for the deepest form of commitment with plenty of time, giving ourselves every opportunity to get to know one another, fully, and allowing so much space for fertilizing the soil that the relationship will grow. There is so much time, an abundance in fact, for learning each other and for building a strong relationship.
We see, in so many ways, that the degradation of the environment is a product of trying to accomplish things as quickly as possible. If we had taken a moment, or a breath, to glance into the future, we might not have chosen what we did at the time. Our culture is so fixed on instant gratification that things like the environment are often put in harm’s way because finding a different way, a healthier way, that might take more time, is unfortunately never given a second thought. When it comes to this earth, the mentality seems to be “quicker is better,” no matter the cost.
In the yoga room our bodies are moving as fast as our minds and we are flowing through a sequence at the typical pace of our day-to-day lives. I am constantly reminding my students to slow way down. If we can give our bodies a template for moving slow, chances are it could make a lasting impression out there in our lives. Instead of rushing down the road trying to miss every red light, or jumping out of bed in the morning, we might try lingering a little. That way we have the opportunity to feel every step of the journey without so much insistence on getting to the end point.
In all ways, we as individuals and as a collective could benefit from slowing down. Try to integrate these few simple things into your life in an effort to slow the pace of your existence.
1.) Talk more slowly, leaving space between words so that you actually say what you mean and mean what you say.
2.) Walk slower, especially when you feel rushed, just know you will get there (we all will get there) at just the right time.
3.) Eat slowly and enjoy your bite of your meal so you can savor the flavors and breathe while you are eating.
4.) Leave the house plenty early for appointments or work so that you aren’t rushing to get there.
5.) Lay in bed for five minutes in the morning to transition gently from a sleep state to a wake state.
6.) Set aside 20 minutes a day to do absolutely nothing.