Realigning Ourselves by Slowing Down

Today I received an unexpected and very pleasing reminder about how easy it can be realigning ourselves by slowing down.

In an effort to maintain my physical health and sanity during Melbourne’s Covid19 lockdowns, I have signed up for and am really enjoying a year pass to Coreplus Connected, the clever online Covid19 pivot of a local Melbourne Pilates studio. As well as Pilates, they offer some pretty heavy-duty strength and cardio sessions and some lovely Yoga ones too.

So after Tuesday’s challenging strength and cardio session, where I think my choice of weights was a tad ambitious, I was looking for something softer, more feminine today. The title of the video grabbed me: Realign your spine with Sarah. Turns out it was a 50min Yin Yoga class.

Five minutes in, I was thinking – “I don’t think this is what I want”.
Five minutes after that, I knew it was exactly what I needed.

I don’t know about you, but when I get up in the morning I am on! And the exercise I choose usually reflects this desire to put some heat and fire into the engine and crank it up for the day. So I often run or do the strength and cardio classes I mentioned. These activities are great for burning off cortisol (stress hormone) when it’s at its daily peak in the morning. This is perfect for improving my mental health and reducing gut fat.

I LOVE how I feel after hot, sweaty burning exercise! But it wasn’t until I’d been in Child’s Pose, with my arms angled to right side of the mat for a full three minutes, that I realised I’d been missing something.
I’d been missing slowness.
I’d been missing gentle release.
I’d been missing that wonderful internal peace born of accepting my limiting tensions and surrendering my body with grace.

And that’s the gift of grace my Yin Yoga session gave me.

I’d done the five poses in this session before. I’ve been doing these exact same poses for twenty years now. But this time was different.
This time was slow.

For the first five minutes the slowness was excruciating!
And my bloody Ego would not shut up about “how basic the poses were” and “how dull this class was going to be if we were just doing poses we’d done to death”.

Creating quiet in my mind became easier the longer and slower each pose went.
New challenges showed themselves to me. And they weren’t the hot, fast, Yang-y challenges of running or that strength and cardio class.
The challenge was to rest, to find stillness, to surrender, to stop.
Just stop.
It wasn’t until this moment I realised how much like a headless chicken I was, how shallow my breathing had become. And I work hard at not buying into all that busy-ness bullshit too!

It seems in this modern life, even when we are trying not to be spinning, we are spinning.
Or at least I am…was.

I wish to gift you my blessed reminder about realigning ourselves by slowing down. We all need these surprises and reminders to bump us out of our alpha brain states, our operation of life on autopilot, our unconscious living. Otherwise we keep spinning.
And the sad thing is, we don’t even know it.
Until we end up spinning out of control.

So have an adventure of discovery and find something that helps you realign yourself by slowing down. You don’t need an online Yin Yoga class either.

Start with these two free, simple things that I find helpful in realigning myself by slowing down:
  1. Lie on the floor or grass and just take three deep breaths.

    Filling first the belly part of your lungs, then outwards into the inside of your arms and then that last little bit under your collar bones. If you find it difficult to get three deep breaths, then accept, surrender, slow down – you don’t need to be anywhere right now – and gently persevere until you do.

  2. Hold your bath towel to your face and ears.

    This one takes a single moment after your shower and sounds strange – until you do it! Really cup and hold your face in a motherly, kind and nurturing way, shutting your eyes down and blocking your ears of outside sound so it’s kind of like listening to two sea shells.
    And just stop.

Have fun!

Rachel x
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