The Yoga of Slowness
One of the most powerful things I’ve learned in yoga is the value of slowing down. I naturally move at a “10” level of pace. My natural disposition is to be fast-moving, which can be helpful as long as I don’t over-rely on it.
In these complex and volatile times, we are all moving fast—sometimes faster than ever before. Is this really serving us to be our best?
Remember the 59th Street Bridge (Feelin’ Groovy) song from Simon and Garfunkel? The lyrics may seem a far cry from relevance for leadership, yet I don’t believe it is. Take a look.
- Slow down, you move too fast.
- You got to make the morning last.
- Just kicking down the cobble stones.
- Looking for fun and feelin’ groovy.
- Hello lamppost,
- What cha knowing?
- I’ve come to watch your flowers growing.
- Ain’t cha got no rhymes for me?
- Doot-in’ doo-doo,
- Feelin’ groovy.
- Got no deeds to do,
- No promises to keep.
- I’m dappled and drowsy and ready to sleep.
- Let the morning time drop all its petals on me.
- Life, I love you,
- All is groovy.
We are moving too fast, as if we are in a perpetual “spin” cycle on our washing machines. The pacing of our lives and workplaces has changed radically, yet our leadership practices have not adjusted. The price we pay for this is enormous. Reactive decision-making, stress, breakdowns in communication, are just a few. Usually doing more, faster isn’t a recipe for quality. In fact, in can keep us stuck in repetitive patterns without allowing space for listening, imagining, and creating.
How can you bring “slowness” into your leadership?
Create moments where you deliberately slow down the pacing. It can be when you are walking or washing dishes. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that you slow down and breathe deeply from your belly. Notice sensation in your body. Notice what you see, smell, and hear. Slowing down your breathing and your pacing will change the quality of your awareness. When this changes, you allow important qualities of thinking to reveal themselves. Insights, priorities, clear vision can only happen when you slow down.