“I would like to be known as an intelligent woman, a courageous woman, a loving woman, a woman who teaches by being.” — Maya Angelou
I had just finished leading a Sunday morning yoga practice at a friend’s studio when one of the students asked me, “Why does it feel so good to move slower? My body feels so good right now. Why does it feel better than a vinyasa flow class?”
My class is called Sunday Sanctuary and it’s for students who prefer a slower-paced, less strenuous practice. We find movement, we flow, but the pace is slower and often we’ll hold in a posture for several breaths.
The moment she asked the questions I kicked into Coach mode and returned with, “What does your intuition tell you about moving slower? What does your body telling you about slowing down? What is your life telling you about slowing down?” That’s when I saw it. The look one gets on their face when they have a major discovery or when they are blessed with an Ah-Ha moment. She had been sharing with me a few moments before, that she and her husband were moving and that I most likely was not going to see her in class again.
One of the top five most stressful life events is moving.
It hit her, like a ton of bricks, that what she enjoyed most about the morning practice, was her willingness to slow down and tend to herself. To tend to her thoughts, feelings, emotions, physical well-being and her Woman Spirit. Typically, the message I share throughout class are ones based in the Sacred Feminine and the need to find balance within our internal landscape. She, during that morning practice, found balance within herself and it felt good.
To be clear, I am in no way putting down or making light of a vinyasa flow or a power yoga class. What I’m attempting to bring to light here is the fact that most of us move at break-neck speeds and pride ourselves in our ability to multi-task. We unconsciously go through the motions, lost in ideas about life and live through stories in our head of “I am not” and “I should be.
We muscle, fight, control, manage, fix, change, conquer, deny, reject, mistrust, and distract ourselves in busyness and all sorts of activities that make us go, go go! Thinking has become more important than feeling, logic higher regarded than intuition, doing holds more value than being, and the destination seems more significant than the journey. We live in a culture with strong values in direct action, single-minded focus, clear logical thinking, goal-oriented, competitive behavior, productivity, and achievement.
There is nothing wrong with being action oriented, especially when you maintain a balance with your feminine nature. Problems arise when one becomes addicted to the sympathetic nervous system that tells us to do, do, do! We begin to experience dis-ease like fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, agitation, mood swings, and stress. Slowing down brings you the opportunity to come back into your body. Your feminine truth is found in your body. Your nervous system lives in your body.
To become consciously imbodied can be a challenge for a lot of people. Your ability to be in your body in the present moment and to feel all of it’s sensations (emotional and physical) is to be imbodied. This practice takes courage. It takes courage to slow down and be still. It takes courage to tune in and listen. It takes courage to speak your truths to yourself. It takes courage to answer the feelings that are knocking on the door of your awareness. And it takes courage to curiously explore your emotions.
Sure, you can slow down with that glass of wine and dark chocolate while you binge-watch the latest season of Ozark, (Season 4 Part 2 airs on April 29!) but what about your unaddressed feelings and emotions or the dis-ease you’ve been experiencing? What about the true nourishment and joy that comes from being fully connected to yourself and to life? What about the balance you consciously or unconsciously long for? What about your well-being?
What is your nervous system telling you?
What does your nervous system delight in?
How willing are you to find the courage to slow down and be still in the deep peace of enough-ness?
Self-Awareness and Transformational Coach, Inner Child Advocate, and Yin Yoga Teacher.