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Slowing Down


When I made the decision to change careers 6 years ago, I had a very different perspective on the world. At that moment in my life any job seemed that it would be less stressful than the one I was in, and I looked around me and was envious of those appearing not to be stressed. I was especially intrigued with those teaching yoga, imagining it impossible to be stressed in that type of job situation. I remember lying in bed in Amsterdam one Sunday afternoon looking out my enormous windows at the cyan sky watching the little white puffy clouds go by, thinking, if only this moment could last forever. A moment where I didn’t need to do anything; a moment where I wasn’t all consumed by my Very Busy Brain thinking fearfully about my Very Important Job.

Years later, as a yoga teacher, I know too many yoga teachers and therapists who are stressed, becoming increasingly busy with the small stuff: scheduling appointments, classes, workshops, retreats….consumed by the running of the business rather than creating space to slow down and lead by example. I should know, I have been one of them.

Only by injury and illness have I learned that space is necessary in the continuing path to wellness and evolution of the mindfulness practice of yoga. It seems to be a fine balancing act for all between work, play, a disciplined practice of asana and meditation, and time for family, which often doesn’t fit into any of these categories but is no less important.

The rhythm of life is one like the ebb and flow of the tide: constantly changing, consistent in its inconsistency, sometimes rough but flowing, other times calm to a point of intertia. We are all born to surf, going for it when a big wave comes yet doing our best to remain calm and fluid, not to get blown off the board when the wave is too great or to get sucked down when there is no dynamism at all.

Ida Rolf, the founder of the Rolfing technique, referred to this as adaptability and dynamic balance, two of the five principles of Rolfing. Adaptability meaning how flexible, how malleable we are in our bodies and in the circumstances of environment to change and morph to new conditions. Dynamic balance is in keeping with the yin/yang symbol–unifying opposites to create a balance physically, emotionally and mentally.

While Ive never actually managed to surf successfully,since I have been working on slowing down, making time each week to assess if I have enough time for work, play, practice and family, I have found a lot more time for everything. I feel more energised, and less defeated and frustrated at my lack of sense of accomplishment at the end of each day. Thank you, space! Here’s to slowing down for long enough to identify what your needs are and how to feel nurtured and whole.

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