There’s a quiet revolution that’s been going on for the last decade or so, with the advent of the slow movement showing up in the way we consume, work, play, behave and think. People are beginning to see that fast growth, fast consumption and fast profits, are not conducive to wellbeing. Relentless speed and growth negatively influences our physical and mental health and our relationships, not to mention the devastating effects it has on our Mother Earth. The slow revolution promotes quality, sustainability and fairness above quantity, exploitation and profit.
From a yogic perspective, the slow movement is a manifestation of ahimsa which teaches compassion towards ourselves and others including animals and our planet. It encourages practitioners to do less, to do it slower, more mindfully and more kindly.
In yoga studios we’re seeing a resurgence of traditional gentle and slow practices such as slow flow, restorative yoga, yin yoga, meditation and sound healing. It’s been shown that slow movement helps reduce pain, anxiety, inflammation and stress.
It would be wrong to assume that a slow practice is somehow an easier or less powerful experience. In fact, moving slowly required more strength, more mindfulness and more precision. Moving slowly is extremely helpful in keeping the mind focussed and present. Through slow movement we can build our capacity to concentrate, to strengthen our resilience and to give us a greater sense of direction and purpose. Slow yoga is also more sustainable for the physical body as it gives the practitioner time to find more stable alignment thus avoiding injury. In addition, slow movement is more meditative by nature and gives us the opportunity to listen to our intuition and inner wisdom. This all results in less stress, more insight and more joy in the practice and in our lives.
Slowing down is not easy for many people who are constantly juggling multiple responsibilities and continually multi-tasking in a futile attempt to tick off an impossible and bottomless to-do list. If we’re serious about calming our nervous system and reducing our anxiety and stress then we can begin with small steps towards an overall intention to slow down. Yoga teaches us that like anything that we want to master in life, it’s all about practice.
“Practice only becomes firmly established when it has been executed with great attention and without interruption over a long period of time” Yoga Sutra 1.14