Where do you find your inner calm? Is it possible to find it in the places that you least expect?
I have the beautiful luxury of spending some time each summer teaching a wonderful group of people yoga outside in front of the lake – sounds dreadful I know! A few days back I was preparing for the class, and I found the direction of the session moving towards the words “slow down.” Now I had a bit of a conundrum, since the classes have been vinyasa (flow) in style – but the words slow down kept ruminating with me. I started to play with the idea of creating a balance, or perhaps it would be better referred to as a dichotomy between movement and ‘slow down’ in pace. I settled in on the plan to bring more movement into the first half of the class, and then during the second half turn to a direction of slower longer holds.
The first part was mostly devoted to vinyasa sequences in which I invited the students to move at their own pace during the flows; the postures were fluid and of a quicker paced nature. The second half of the class comprised more standing sequences with longer holds in each of the asana. Just as a side note, longer holds with slower movement are often far more difficult then the quicker flow classes both mentally and physically…but I digress…..
Before the cool down section I posed the burning question – “Where did you find the most peace and calm; was it during the quicker moving part of class or was it the slower longer holds.”
Taking my own experience into the conversation, I can truthfully say that for me my mind is able to ‘turn off’ whenever I am faced with more movement. It has taken me many years to be able to find peace and relaxation in the more slower relaxed based yoga postures, and even to this day I often struggle with monkey mind during those postures. I consider it my personal challenge to encourage myself to dive into not only flow or vinyasa (quicker) class styles and embrace other styles of yoga as well – relax deeply, yin, or just basic non-flow classes.
Now you may be asking yourself ‘why?’ ‘if the quicker paced classes work for you and allow your mind to still why bother – if it ain’t broke why fix it??’ The answer I think lies in creating a balance…
Moving….keeping ourselves constantly busy…. projects… doing…. planning… nothing is wrong with any of these things, but it is important to be able to find contentment in just being still as well. Being still, meditating, reading, contemplating and allowing the mind and the body just to be calm helps to nurture the mind, body and spirit. Stepping off the roller coaster of life to a quiet space is a beautiful gift; for some very difficult If you fall into that camp perhaps its a sign to give it a try.
Yoga, as life, is all about creating a balance – finding that balance between constant movement and stillness is no exception – so enjoy a pause now and again.