Inner Reflections
August 13, 2023

Going at the Pace of Nature

Everything in nature has its own organic timing. When we look to the natural world, we see an absence of the human urgency so many of us feel daily.

The great sequoia trees do not strive to grow faster than their design, the leaves release from the branches when the season calls for it, and the roots deepen as is needed to support the ecosystem. Nature does not operate with productivity goals and deadlines; it is the truest teacher of presence.

It is easy for us humans to forget that we are not just experiencing nature, we are part of it. We too have organic timelines that unfold without our control. This is most accessibly noticed when looking at the process of aging. Our bodies grow, shift, and ultimately decline. We are a part of an unending circuitous journey in which all of life participates.

And yet, modern culture emphasizes a fast-paced instantly-delivered reality. We are constantly operating in contradiction to nature’s rhythm, and this can create an immense amount of suffering. Anxiety, depression, and burn out are at an all-time high globally, suggesting that we are experiencing too much too fast without enough time to integrate sustainably. When we move quicker than the speed of harmony, we suffer.

Many of us agree that slowing down is a good idea in theory, but how do we actually do it?

The most immediate ally on the path to internal harmony is the breath. How we breathe affects everything, and in turn we can affect everything going on in our inner reality with breath. This is why one of the limbs of yoga is pranayama, the art of skillfully restraining the breath. We can manipulate the breath at any point and experience the immediate benefits.

Sometimes we have a lot of energy to move, and so breathing quickly and intensely is called for. But for many of us, navigating the overwhelm of our daily lives means elongating the breath and reducing the force that we breathe with.

You can try it now: inhale for a count of 7, hold for a count of 3 and exhale slow for a count of 7. Even three rounds of this creates a shift in the prana, energy, moving through you.

When breath control is combined with slow flowing yoga asana, we enter movement meditation. In the practice The Dark Side of the Moon on IDMTV, we experience the delicious union of slowing down the way we move and the way we breathe.

You can apply this off the mat as well. When you’re taking a walk, eating, or going about daily tasks. What happens when you intentionally move and breathe at a slower, elongated rate? The yogis say we can wield time by wielding the breath. We can give ourselves more of it anytime we need, and perhaps enter into the ease that awaits when we align with nature’s rhythm – void of urgency and steeped in presence.

It is brave to slow down, and with the pace of modern life, it is becoming necessary that we intentionally practice the ancient art of taking our time. When we can do this, we open to a present moment as textured as it is exquisite, as benevolent as it is mysterious.

Make sure to check out these practices with Erin:

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By Erin