The Power of SlowFeb 07, 2024
A wise teacher once told me that a key to deepening yoga practice is learning to go at the speed of the body. The mind wants to go fast, she explained, but the body craves slowness.
In the Yoga tradition, the material world is viewed through the lens of the three gunas, qualities that are constantly interacting to form everything we perceive. Tamas is the quality of heaviness and stability. Rajas is the quality of dynamism and activity. Sattva is the quality of lucidity and clarity.
From the perspective of the gunas, the mind leans toward being more rajasic, characterized by volatility and airiness. Left unchecked, it tends to wander everywhere.
Conversely, the body tends to be more tamasic and earthy. It would be happy to stay in Savasana.
Just as an agitated mind impacts our physiology, slowing down the body can have a calming effect on the mind.
Slowness in yoga fosters attentiveness, sensitivity, and care. It settles our systems and anchors us in the present moment.
In our increasingly abstracted and speedy world, it’s easy to lose touch with our natural rhythms and even our bodily awareness. How invaluable it is, then, to give ourselves unhurried space for breathing, sensing, and feeling.
The power of slowing down in our age of acceleration is one of the striking paradoxes of 21stcentury living. The many crises unfolding around us make it imperative that we take time to replenish our reserves.
Going slower restores equilibrium, making us stronger and more resilient. It gives us staying power. And staying power is what’s needed to meet the challenges of our time.