• ‘Slow down, you move too fast.” Simon and Garfunkel’s 59thStreet Bridge Song

The concept of slow as a movement began in 1986 when Carlos Petrini brought together like-minded Italians to block a McDonalds fast food restaurant that threatened to open near the Spanish Steps in Rome. Two years later, representatives from14 nations gathered in Paris to sign a Slow Food manifesto and the Slow Movement was born. Eventually the trend went global and other groups like Slow Travel, Slow Cities, Slow Church and Slow Design emerged, all advocates for slowing down and taking a more thoughtful approach to how we live.

As yet, there is no official Slow Yoga movement, though you may see classes called Slow Flow offered at some yoga studios. These classes are essentially slowed down versions of Vinyasa Flow (where the breath connects to movement). However, when I say Slow Yoga I am not referring only to the pace or tempo of the physical movement. I am proposing a shift in approach: Savoring time, choosing quality over quantity and rejecting the notion that faster is better. Slow Yoga does not mean that the practice is easier or for beginners. Slowing down can often be much more challenging than moving quickly from one yoga pose to the next.

Here are five tips to embracing Slow Yoga regardless of the style of yoga you practice.

  1. Avoid rushing to and from yoga class. Give yourself plenty of time to arrive and settle in, and never book any appointments right after class.
  2. Always begin your practice in a seated meditation.
  3. Resist rushing into poses, especially when you know what pose comes next.
  4. If you arrive in poses in the middle of the breath then you are likely moving too quickly. Keep the breath steady and slow at all times.
  5. Actively ask yourself questions while you practice. Are you are being thoughtful and attentive to the details of your experience? Can you slow down even more? Where are you going in such a rush?

Final note:

I have to confess that in the middle of writing this blog I made a Facebook Page called Slow Yoga Let’s make slowing down on the yoga mat a revolution together and share our stories!