Slowing Down Is Hard, Here’s Why You Need To Do It Anyway
Why does it take half a lifetime to realize how circular life is? Patterns only become visible after making the same mistakes many times. We live, learn, forget, learn again, and maybe — eventually, we finally get it.
I swear it’s taken me as long to figure out who I am. I always was a late bloomer. I know now that I’m a teacher. It’s my calling. And we often teach what we most need to learn.
Stepping onto a yoga mat for the first time twenty years ago I felt home. I felt a peace I’d never known before. About the same time, I began reading self help books, ancient yoga texts, holistic health resources and more. I thought I was in a phase of self discovery. In truth, I was learning how to stop hating myself.
Yoga took a back seat for many years — to partying, to boyfriends, to my first career. I forgot who I was. I forgot the girl I uncovered through yoga in the years before. I began to define myself by my job, and after almost a decade my health took a toll. Eventually I started practicing again, completed yoga teacher training and left that job for good. I left the profession that was killing me. Luckily I had lots of transferrable skills to take with me.
The world spins. It never stops. Our lives don’t stop either. Go-go-go … for the hustle we are rewarded — externally. We earn more money, buy more things, and it’s hard to find our way out. To be clear, working hard and making money aren’t bad.
But balance? This is where the circular nature of life comes in. Very often we are moving through life, then things go completely off the rails. We are out of balance. If we are discerning enough, we see it and draw ourselves back in. The problem, I think, is that the world doesn’t ask this of us.
The world is ego-driven.
The world doesn’t want us to see the error of our ways.
The world wants us to keep going.
To keep living blindly, never asking the hard questions or discovering who we are at our core.
But it’s all up to us. To …
Stop. Look. Listen. Feel.
To slow down enough to examine the tendencies, question the motives.
To get quiet enough to become who we are supposed to BE.
What I’ve learned since becoming a yoga teacher is who I am — like who I really am at the soul level. That’s huge, y’all. And I’ve learned it through practice, but even more through teaching.
In a unique position as I teach undergrads on three regional college campuses, most students have families and full-time jobs on top of full-time coursework. What I thought they wanted from a yoga class and what they actually want are two different things.
Rest. It’s what they crave. I’m learning its what we all crave — and yet we often don’t give ourself permission. Our culture sees it as lazy.
Even as a teacher I have to force myself into active rest. And when I do, I’m a different person.
I’m at peace.
I am one with all.
My life unfolds before my eyes — but only when I pay attention.
Yoga, breath and the practice of embodiment are amazing gifts.
I promise. It will work for you too.
Slow down, breathe, do the work and keep living this beautiful life of yours. It’s important. Your life depends on it. In fact, humanity depends on it.
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Heather is a writer and yoga educator. She shares here (almost) daily as part of her personal writing practice — mostly lessons about everyday embodiment, living her yoga, practical spirituality, holistic health and personal development. Cheers to a life well lived!