Yoga is not necessarily something you do to yourself but rather something you do with yourself.
A pumped up power craze swept through the nineties, but a small and humble minority of yoga teachers and trainers successfully resisted it and even now retains a hold on modern postural yoga. With the longstanding traditional bastions of yoga’s legacies since weakened, individuals are left with more choice and this obscure and unsung practice is finding a new chorus of practitioners again.
A couple of years ago it was observed that a few old-school yoga teachers and trainers seemed to be finding a niche among the new-fad vinyasa scene by billing themselves as “the Gentle Flow.” The charm of the flashy pose and its ability to attract followers turned out to be a hollow pursuit that has since withered over time. More recent trends might point to the fact that not only are people re-evaluating the merits of fashionable yoga, but increasingly younger teachers are beginning to embrace and practice old-school wisdom.
This is clearly evident at one of the many larger holistic learning centres on the national circuit that provides you a glimpse into the broader commercial yoga world. For many, power and fast yoga have turned out to be like that friend with whom you initially hit it off and have so much fun with but turns out to be negative and draining when you hang out more and more. Till eventually, you drift apart.
The fundamental concept of “Slow Yoga” is not merely about the pace with which we move but a question of purpose. Are you practicing yoga because you wish to sweat? Because you want to be flexible and more stronger? because you want relief from pain? Or just want to learn how to be well? Perhaps, any one or all of the above.
Whatever be the question you’re asking yourself and whatever the answer you are arriving at, the inquiry in itself is sufficient. Slow Yoga takes the emphasis off the accomplishment and more on the experience.
Similar to relationships over time, the initial buzz wears off yoga practice. Then we are left with either an appreciation for the in-between moments or the contrasting emptiness of never being satisfied enough. We can try to fight against this, attempting shake things up or change and find new ways to spice up life. We can also try to embrace this mundane inward turn and see what it holds.
There is no way to separate what is happening in the “yoga world” and the focus on yoga itself. The former consists of people who are interested in yoga practice, motivated by life, work and the other reality of people’s experience. They have everything to do with yoga and yoga teacher training.
Being fast and furious may serve its purpose for a time but it is not practical to sustain and will inevitably require some sort of re-evaluation in the future. In the slowness of life is where we are able to perceive its worth. Until recently, slowing things down has felt like pushing against the tide or getting tired of singing the song. Now we see a new wave of voices joining in the tune.