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The Slow Challenge

May 21, 2010

“It’s easy to go fast” said Koh, “because when you go fast you can skip over parts.” Koh is a rolfer and a healer, who has the skill to direct prana intelligently and to gently dislodge emotional and physical crud. I’ve met with him for the first three sessions of the standard ten series and at each meeting he says something powerful and true that sinks into my mind and muscles and slowly reveals degrees of revelation. “It’s easy to go fast,” and so I asked myself, “then what does it mean to go slow?”

It is in this context that I embarked upon my ‘starting from scratch’ initiative and now, only four days into this practice, the power of slowness is becoming more and more apparent. What does it mean to “skip over parts”? Koh was referring to our reliance on speed (and the lack of or disconnected awareness that typically accompanies that rate of movement) as a means to avoid and ignore imbalance. But when we slow down and mind (as my grandmother would say—mind as a verb) each sensation–whether it be emotional, physical, mental, or otherwise–that arises in movement, we are better able to identify weaknesses, imbalance, strengths, and balance. It is equally important to sit in imbalance as it is to sit in balance. How else will we understand the difference? When we find imbalance and focus there, we begin to understand its source and this allows one to uncover the mental splinters (samskara) authoring that dis-ease. Find it, pluck it, and let it dissolve. You will find that it is really that simple. Don’t trust me, try it for yourself.

Once we deepen our awareness of movement, we simultaneously deepen our level of conscious engagement with that movement, that is, we can deliberately rectify errors. In my experience, correcting these imbalances and dissolving their surrounding tensions sends waves of energy through the entire system that cleanse and purge various physical and emotional toxins—those habits of doing, thinking, and feeling that supported the imbalance are washed out and let go. Hallelujah.

(Please never skip savasana—this is the most powerful posture for integration.)

So, although it may look impressive to rush through sixty asana in a one-hour class, to find yourself drenched in sweat and to feel “worked-out,” I challenge you to go through six very simple asana in one hour in your room, by yourself. By going slowly, we can more completely and honestly connect our consciousness to the ankle, the big toe, the rib-cage, the pulse and so on. As we slowly explore one part at a time we move deeper into our locations of ease and those places of dis-ease, which in turn empowers us to roll up our sleeves and get to the real work: plucking those mental splinters that chop up our inherent wholeness and which keep us running in circles of feeling and thinking that are based in disruption and ignorance. Pull the splinter and heal the wound. Take it slow and remember to rest.

If we base this practice in ahimsa (non-harming) and satya (commitment to the truth) we will find an even greater capacity to achieve much through slowness. Hari Om Tat Sat.

I’d love to hear from you! Please share your ideas in the comment box and talk back to the blog. 😉

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One Comment
  1. Radhalakshmi permalink

    It’s true Kelly that slower you do any work , the awareness increases & the breath slows down.I used to do surya namaskar rather fast & then when i came to know that it should be done slowly & i started doing it with breath counts.Soon i found a change.Also when i do pathankasana even though i have to move my legs fast my breathing was slow.

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