Slower Is Stronger
The concept of “Slowing down is stronger” is not just about the pace with which we move our bodies. It’s a question of purpose. Slowing down takes the emphasis off accomplishing something and puts it more on experiencing something.
Holding a pose for a longer period does help build strength and stamina. For example when you hold Warrior II for a longer period, the muscles of your legs and arms have to work harder to maintain the pose.
When we hold a pose, the teachers have time to actually speak to alignment and allow you to feel and to adjust where needed.
Holding postures may evoke feelings of impatience or stagnation.You may notice that this gives time for emotions to arise. Yes you will go beyond the point that is comfortable, going beyond the comfort zone can bring up fear and other emotions.We are trying to teach our students not to react when life becomes uncomfortable.To practice acceptance while holding the pose for a while. Exercising acceptance on the mat really helps when something happens in our daily life that brings up particular emotions that we do not particularly like. Learning to stay with the breath and stay present to any emotion that arises .
If you are whipping through the poses then you don’t have enough time to develop awareness within each pose and ask yourself, “What’s happening now?” with your breath, body, thoughts, emotions, energy and spirit. Spending time in poses allows you to open the doors of awareness to come to know yourself, your body, your thoughts and your emotions.
It can also be humbling, causing us to feel startlingly weak and shaky in the poses we’ve been practicing for years with ease.And yet, the challenges inherent in slowing down are invaluable. When we slow down, the teachers have time to actually speak to alignment ,you have the time you need to refine and fully experience each pose.It should not be painful nor feel like grunt work .Where do you need soften, are you breathing , are you adjusting so the posture fits your body.
Admittedly, a slower practice will be less of a cardiovascular workout than a fast, flowing one, we have still have those faster pace classes for those days you want to flow more.
Consider slowing down helps you build strength where you need it most. The shaking we might experience en route is a good sign: the phasic muscles are having their last hurrah before transferring their efforts to these deeper muscles. On the other side of the shaking, it’s not collapse that awaits, but another layer of strength.