From the moment when we first open our eyes and gaze at the world around us, the shapes and colours, the sounds and smells, we are on the journey of life. Life is a journey and the older we get the more it seems to speed up. Life can be exhilarating and exciting as we experience more and more of what the world has to offer. But as we get older life often speeds up and as we cope with jobs and courses and families and friends and everything else that crowds our lives, we lose the magic and wonder. Which is why it’s great to take the time this holiday season to slow down and take the pace right back to that time when you just gazed and wondered. And what better way than with a slow paced asana class.
For people who have a fast engine inside, who thrive on excitement and love piling in the experiences, although it may be a little hard to do, there is much value in the art of slowing down. In fact it could be said, it is essential for the health of both body and mind to recuperate from our fast paced journey.
When we slow down our asana practice we can start experiencing the subtle intrinsic value of each pose. We can make sure we are supporting the pose with the required activation and we can determine just what our limits are. Then we can learn how to adapt our poses to get the most from the pose while honouring our own unique body.
Without rushing our poses we can spend time experiencing how the breath initiates subtle movement within the pose and how to regulate our breath to get the most from the pose.
As exciting and fun as a fast paced practice may be, we run the risk of developing injuries through moving without enough strength and support, through overstretching and developing compensatory movements which in time cause joint compressions and instability.
After all, the number of people with yoga injuries is increasing as more and more people try yoga, and although the injuries can come from slow paced classes also, many of them stem from not slowing down and caring for our body. Take time to slow down this season and experience the journey of life from a grounding hatha yoga class.
By Vrndavan Dasi
Founder and Principal of Veda Yoga Teacher Training