Slow, mindful yoga is as important to your health as cardiovascular exercise. Emerging research suggests several important benefits of slow, mindful movement practices. Scientists are starting to understand the benefits slow movement has on important systems involved in the regulation of energy including:
- The Immune System
- The Pain Response System
- Body Temperature Regulation
If you have low energy or feel fatigued or exhausted, a visit to your health care provider is in order. And…slow movement may help reduce fatigue, nourish your body, and improve your energy.
Flinging yourself through 55 minutes of sun salutations followed by a power śavasana may provide a good workout, but it won’t give you the same benefits as slow yoga. Slow, mindful yoga trains your nervous system to build resilience, adapt to stressors, develop greater patience, and improve overall health and well-being. And in a culture that views time as money, slow is a luxury!
“(Slowness) is a cultural
revolution against the notion that
faster is always better. It’s about
seeking to do everything at the
right speed. Savoring the hours
and minutes rather than just
~ Carl Honore, In Praise of Slowness
Dealing with Chronic Pain? SLOW Reduces Pain
Perhaps one of the most exciting developments in recent years regarding the benefits of slow movement is in the field of chronic pain. Chronic pain has baffled the medical community. It is a growing public health problem, which has spawned the opioid epidemic. But science is starting to understand that slow, mindful movement can begin to unravel dysfunctional pain signals, reduce
sensitization, and reorganize the system.
This in turn helps to develop a more functional and accurate connection between the body and mind so that chronic pain is reduced. An import aspect of this process is that slow movement fosters the “rest and digest” or parasympathetic nervous system response, which is helpful for reducing chronic pain.
“Practicing yoga has the
opposite effect on the brain as
does chronic pain.”
~ Catherine Bushnell, NIH
More to Come
I’ll be sharing more in the weeks to come on this idea of slow, gentle yoga. I personally like to call it Mindful Yoga. I offer Mindful Yoga on Fridays at 11 am and Saturday mornings at 10:30 am. These sessions are one hour and half of the session is spent in meditation and the other in yoga. The meditation is at the beginning and at the end of the session. At times I offer a Restorative Yoga session where we spend time in deep relaxation with poses that are typically lying down on the mat.
Starting the Saturday after Thanksgiving, the Saturday 10:30 am sessions will be Restorative Sessions. Get restored before or after you shop!
What is Restorative Yoga?
Through restorative yoga we remember how to relax and then how to bring that sense of relaxation into activity. Many of us tend to be in “go, go, go” mode and then collapse in a heap at the end of the day. Living a yogic life is about not going completely one way or the other. It means we have some sense of “active” and some sense of “restorative” integrated into our lives. This middle path isn’t linear—some days we need more activity, other days we need more relaxation. Yoga is also about paying attention.