Do you ever unintentionally pick up your phone and scroll through email or social media? Or, do you find yourself picking up your phone (or iPad or laptop) during even the briefest moment of stillness?
Yeah, me too.
By this time in our techie world, we know that our devices aren't great for our attention spans. Human beings are, on average, losing length in our attention spans as computers grow faster and faster. I even find myself, when planning a yoga class, tempted to speed up the tempo, to keep people (and myself) from growing bored.
Yet, we know from many of the great meditation teachers, neuroscientists, and yogis that paying attention is the best way to strengthen our bodies and minds. It’s also the best way to truly get in touch with our souls.
Concentration is key, dedication is key, focus is key. And truly, you are the key.
I wanted to write this post in defense of SLOWING down. If you read my posts, you probably enjoy yoga and astrology. Here’s some benefits of slowing down in each of these disciplines:
Contrary to popular opinion, slowing down yoga poses actually makes them harder. Don’t believe me? Try holding Warrior II for five seconds. Then try holding Warrior II for two minutes. You’ll notice that your quads burn in a new way, and that maintaining your full expression of the pose is more challenging.
You might also notice that you notice more.
Two minutes is a long time to stand in one position, and you might begin to notice a wide variety of things: How are your hips placed in this wide stance? How is your spine interacting with your hips? Your rib cage? Your shoulders? Are there micro adjustments you might make to your feet, hands, or head position? How do the gaze and the breath feel? Where are your thoughts and energy directed? Can you find space to simply relax and just be in the pose?
Oops, I just picked up my cell phone and glanced though me email as I’m writing this. Back to the focus of the blog...
Also, when you slow your yoga flow down, you’ll begin to notice even more—how does the breath interact with transitions? Are you aware of your feet and the area on top of your head all at the same time? Are your jaw and face relaxed?
You might, in staying with a pose longer, even realize that you’re noticing emotions that rise up in certain poses—residual physical impressions of pain, anger, sorrow, joy, fear, empowerment, etc.
When these rise up and you’re moving as fast as you move when checking your email or driving your car, then you might not have time to deal with what arises. BUT, if you’re staying with a mindful, slow flow, you might just have time to bring some ease to these feelings, acknowledge how you are in the moment, and move through the emotions instead of pushing them aside for another time.
It’s hard not to love a good astrology reading. An hour or so of self-study, speaking about your greatest dreams, questions, relationships, and changes in life. And I know that after a reading, things can seem a little brighter, a little more easeful—after all, you’ve been working with your roadmap, and now you know what to do.
Yet, astrology readings are short and are just the beginning (or mid point) in the road toward astrological integration.
If astrology teaches us anything, it’s the nature of how time interacts with change and growth. It can be tempting to explore your own chart or have a reading done and then to think that your astrological self-understanding is complete.
However, the true value of an astrology reading is its slow integration over time. Any astrologer worth their salt will not only share information about your chart, but they’ll also speak with you about what sorts of actions you can take to integrate your chart into your life.
Dealing with a sense of apathy? Perhaps you need to exercise the Mars aspects in your chart. Or perhaps you are seeking more freedom, beauty, or love? Take a look at how Venus, Uranus, and Saturn are interacting. (NOTE: if this section doesn’t make perfect sense—that’s okay. I included this for the astrology deep-divers among you.)
Regardless of whether you can interpret your chart or not, integrating different aspects of your chart takes time, attention, and a little self-compassion. These things aren’t born in humans overnight.
So there you have it. Go slow; take it easy; and above all: be kind to yourself! If you’d like some help taking it slow and easy in your yoga practice or your chart—inquire here.