Have you ever noticed how tough it is to truly slow down? Life has made us all so busy that it’s all we can do to rush breathlessly from one appointment to the next. Constantly running a few minutes later than we’d like to be and always worriedly thinking of all the other things we could or should be doing.
Or is that just me?
Of course living our lives in that go-go-go mode is definitely something we have control over, and it’s something we choose to do. Like it or not, every behaviour or habit you have – both good and bad – is the result of a choice you’ve made. A conscious or unconscious decision to live your life a certain way, to BE a certain type of person.
Motivational speaker Anthony Robbins says that we’re all motivated by pain or pleasure and I really believe that to be true. Me, for example, I’m an expert at using pain to motivate myself. The pain of feeling like I’ve been unproductive, or haven’t ‘put enough in’ or am not living up to whatever obscure standards of exercise, work and life I’ve set for myself. It’s not the most fun way to live and so lately I’ve been trying something new. I’ve been consciously thinking about pleasure as motivation.
The pleasure of feeling calm. In control. Of challenging myself with only a realistic number of tasks each day and then doing the most important one first so that I enjoy the reward of accomplishment, however great or small it may be. I’ve noticed that as a result I’ve been naturally slowing down. And all of a sudden I’m enjoying life more. I’m present more. Not all the time, but I’m getting there.
How about you?
Have you ever really thought about the benefits of slowing down? For example. Did you know that taking the time to eat properly has more benefits than just not being caught with salad between your teeth? It results in:
• Better digestion
• Improved satiety
• A sense of calm
• The chance to enjoy a social interaction
• Weight loss (linked to improved digestion)
And how about Bikram?
Wouldn’t you like to have your best class ever – every time? I’ve discovered that when I deliberately focus on being present in class I’m able to walk out of there with more than a sweaty glow on the outside. I feel myself glowing on the inside because I know I’ve stretched myself both physically and mentally to the utmost of my ability. Taking the time to listen to the teacher’s guided meditation is something it’s all too easy to forget. Ever been guilty of running your to-do list in your head while in class? Of checking out someone else’s technique instead of focusing solely on yourself? I know I’m not the only one.
How about time with your family? Your loved ones? How often do you truly take the time to listen, to be with them, with no phones or distractions. Engaging. Finding connection.
The truth is that on a hormonal level rushing around all day is one of the worst things you can do. It causes nervous system overload, impaired digestion and breathing, poor energy, and it definitely isn’t so good for your overall happiness is it? What’s more, it’s a hard habit to break. But wouldn’t you say it’s worth it?
The pain of trying to do everything, be everything, remember everything - or the pleasure of enjoying your life? Which one is more important to you? I know which one I’d like to choose.
My recommendation? Don’t try to slow down your whole life at once. You might go crazy! But why not start with your next Bikram class. Take a few deep breaths while you’re still in the locker room. Remind yourself that it’s your time. That yes, there might be umpteen things for you still to get through that day, but that dwelling on them in the hot room will only rob you of optimal relaxation and therefore the ability to get through your list later. And when you do walk into the class, stop. Breathe. And be ready to listen. Truly listen.
I guarantee you’ll have your best class ever.
Food for Yoga. Food for Life.
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