The Practice of Slowing Down.


Image: Chad Sparkes / Flickr

I wish I had found yoga (or it had found me) back when my daughters were little. I think it may have slowed down time a bit. Kept me present once in a while instead of moving mindlessly from task to task, need to need—always looking ahead to the next phase, the next step.

The thing about time is that we think it is much less fluid than it actually is. We think it is fixed purely in increments of hours, days, weeks, months, years, etc…

Time is actually much more elastic than the structure we, as humans, have imposed on it. And it all depends on our awareness. If we are always looking ahead to the next thing on our to-do list (for the day or for life), life seems to fly past us in a blur. That’s how my daughters’ childhood was to me—a fast blur of time. It seemed like I blinked and it was over. Now they are both in college.

The holidays are also apt to pass in a flurry of activity. Our days and weeks are packed with things to do: buy presents, wrap, bake, parties to attend, decorations to set up. If we aren’t careful, the season is over before we know it and we didn’t even enjoy it.

I may not have been fortunate enough to have yoga twenty-two years ago, but I have it now. The practice of showing up to my mat no matter how busy a day is allows me to slow down my body, slow down my breath, slow down my mind.

The more I practice on my mat, the more I am able to carry that mindfulness off the mat and into my life.

It’s like a superpower—slowing down and being present actually slows down time.

I know that the less time I believe I have for yoga, the more I need it. The more I practice, the more time I seem to have. Funny how that works…

Explore your own ability to stretch time by just being fully present to what is happening within and around you.

Next time you are in line at the store take a moment to check in with your body. How does it feel? How do the clothes feel against your skin? The floor beneath your feet?

Stuck in traffic? Notice your breath. Is it shallow or deep? Warm or cool? Does your chest expand with the inhale? How about the low belly? Try to elongate the inhale and exhale, making them equal of length.

If you are baking a batch of cookies, take your time to notice what the ingredients looks like, how they smell, how they feel in your hands. And, of course, how they taste!

Savor the moments this holiday (and everyday) by allowing yourself the luxury of slowing down and just being present to what is.

And here’s a lovely reminder by Danna Faulds:

Walk Slowly

It only takes a reminder to breathe, 

a moment to be still, and just like that, 

something in me settles, softens, makes 

space for imperfection. The harsh voice

 of judgment drops to a whisper and I 

remember again that life isn’t a relay

 race; that we will all cross the finish 

line; that waking up to life is what we 

were born for. As many times as I

 forget, catch myself charging forward

 without even knowing where I’m going, 

that many times I can make the choice

 to stop, to breathe, and be, and walk

 slowly into the mystery.

-Danna Faulds

Source: Walk Slowly: A Poem



2 thoughts on “The Practice of Slowing Down.

  1. Good for you! I’ve been trying to practice mindfulness for a few months now, but I let a lot of days go by without doing it. With 4 small children, I need to learn how to slow down too!

    • Oh, gosh…4 small children would make definitely it hard to slow down. It’s easier for me to do now that we have an empty nest:) I’ll need to make it a point to practice it while they’re home now for the holidays:)

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