Monday, September 26, 2022

Slowing Down: The Energy of Pausing

This entry was posted on Sep 22, 2022 by Charlotte Bell.

Relaxation and Meditation

Slowing the tempo of our lives transforms the mundane into the transcendent. It teaches us how a lot there’s to understand in simplicity.

Years in the past I took a trip to Baja, to go to some buddies who had relocated. One morning I made a decision to take a stroll on a abandoned seashore. As my tempo slowed because of the mushy sand, I started to note issues alongside the way in which that I may not have seen if I’d been rushing alongside at my typical tempo. I seen a superbly formed conch, glowing pebbles, multicolored sand crystals. One specific pile of tide particles caught my eye. I ended to look extra carefully.

Right here have been minute shells simply millimeters lengthy, vibrantly coloured, iridescent, unimaginably stunning. The longer I squatted within the sand analyzing the particles, the extra beautiful the scene grew to become. Even the tiniest shells have been attractive, painted and lacquered with care as if by miniature artisans. I mused that if I squatted there lengthy sufficient I’d be capable of discern the character of every grain of sand within the beautiful pile of particles. I used to be grateful I had nowhere to go, no vital process to perform. This jogged my memory of the chic fantastic thing about slowing down.

The Apply of Slowing Down

I initially grew to become acquainted the observe of slowing down on my first vipassana meditation retreat a few years in the past. That is the place I first discovered the formal observe of strolling meditation. As the times glided by, the observe of slowing down started to filter into all the things we did—consuming, brushing tooth, washing dishes, showering, ingesting a cup of tea, working towards yoga asana.

From the skin, we in all probability seemed a bit odd, perhaps somewhat sleepy and lackluster. However the internal expertise couldn’t have been extra vibrant. Slowing down and connecting with the myriad micro-movements that make up every motion made me really feel totally, consciously alive.

“We’re all sensation junkies,” stated writer and meditation trainer Sylvia Boorstein on a retreat I attended at Spirit Rock Meditation Middle. We’re a tradition that craves stimulation, a tradition of velocity and pleasure. As a individuals we’re interested in driving quick, being scared out of our minds by movies, watching aggressive sports activities and listening to loud music. This stuff are thrilling and stimulating to us. Feeding our sensation behavior helps us really feel extra important.

How Speediness Can Obscure the Second

The yoga sutras outline yoga as “the settling of the thoughts into silence.” Once we velocity alongside at our recurring tempo, our actions grow to be mechanical. Our minds are wherever however within the current. However it’s within the current second the place our minds can settle into silence. Once we decelerate, we are able to extra simply glimpse the silent thoughts, the infinite sky of consciousness.

In the identical approach the tangled mass of particles on the seashore can rework right into a unbelievable panorama, the sensations of dwelling in our body-mind will be fairly compelling. However we now have to decelerate to expertise them. From the vantage level of readability, what we see, really feel, hear, contact, scent and style generally is a celebration.

By means of quiet yoga and meditation observe I’ve discovered the delicate energies shifting by way of the physique to be fascinating. Once we are keen to decelerate sufficient to look deeply, new worlds confide in us which can be profoundly satisfying and enlivening.

Nonetheless, working towards slowing down on a meditation retreat, the place it’s a important a part of the observe, is kind of totally different from making an attempt to calm the velocity of our day by day lives. In Twenty first-century Western tradition, having a full schedule is taken into account to be an indication of advantage. Taking time to chill out is taken into account to be an indication of weak spot or sloth.

It’s, in actual fact, enjoyable to interact in actions that stimulate. However dwelling in a state of fixed exercise, with no time to decelerate or cease, just isn’t a state of steadiness. It’s from the bottom of steadiness—the ever-changing centerpoint between motion and relaxation—that we dwell most gracefully on the planet.

Gradual Down, De-Stress

It’s controversial that stress is the plague of our time and tradition. Many people keep the lightning tempo of our lives by way of adrenaline. Our adrenal glands and nervous system work extra time to maintain us on observe. The adrenals are supposed to assist us by way of occasional annoying conditions, not the regular onslaught of a packed schedule. With out occasional relaxation, they put on down. After they put on down we grow to be drained and really feel confused.

Gradual motion might alter our physiological steadiness in a approach that’s replenishing to our nervous system. Roger Cole, Ph.D., is a yoga trainer and analysis scientist who specializes within the physiology of leisure, sleep and organic rhythms. He research the advantage of sluggish actions, similar to yoga and tai chi, on the human nervous system.

“They supply regular, mild, nice enter to the nervous system from kinesthetic sensors within the physique (muscle spindle stretch receptors, golgi tendon organs, joint place sensors),” he says. “Simply as once we get a therapeutic massage, this might assist induce reflex leisure of the muscle tissues and make us really feel mentally secure, lowering the ‘fight-or-flight’ response the mind (and thereby lowering the degrees of stress hormones circulating within the bloodstream).”

How Slowing Down May Really Make You Extra Productive

Maybe the physiological advantages of slowing down may even enhance our skill to perform what we have to do. Once I take time every day to drop my schedule and do one thing utterly unrelated to work or to do nothing in any respect, I come again to my obligations with extra readability and equanimity. Some days might enable an hour to decelerate; others might not.

On the extra tightly scheduled days I’d do one thing easy. This might embrace:

  • taking a leisurely stroll across the block
  • working towards a couple of yoga asanas
  • mindfully washing the dishes
  • enjoying with my cats
  • savoring my dinner
  • mindfully ingesting a cup of tea

It doesn’t matter what I do to. What issues is that I enable myself to go to the second totally, to expertise its richness and wonder. How a lot work I accomplish is much less vital than the spirit and care I convey to what I do. Slowing the tempo of our lives transforms the mundane into the transcendent. It teaches us how a lot there’s to understand in simplicity.

About Charlotte Bell

Charlotte Bell found yoga in 1982 and commenced instructing in 1986. Charlotte is the writer of Aware Yoga, Aware Life: A Information for On a regular basis Apply and Yoga for Meditators, each revealed by Rodmell Press. Her third ebook is titled Hip-Wholesome Asana: The Yoga Practitioner’s Information to Defending the Hips and Avoiding SI Joint Ache (Shambhala Publications). She writes a month-to-month column for CATALYST Journal and serves as editor for Yoga U On-line. Charlotte is a founding board member for GreenTREE Yoga, a non-profit that brings yoga to underserved populations. A lifelong musician, Charlotte performs oboe and English horn within the Salt Lake Symphony and people sextet Crimson Rock Rondo, whose DVD gained two Emmy awards in 2010.

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