The Slow Path is the Best Way

One of my favorite mantras, or quotes that I live by is, “The slow path is the best way.” For me, this speaks to the value of doing things consistently over time for lasting, optimal results. I see the slow path as a lifestyle; a commitment to staying on course rather than expecting immediate results. 

The slow path (evolution) takes time. 

It took me a while to appreciate the slow path. When I started on this journey over twenty years ago, I was attracted to physically demanding dance, yoga, and martial arts practices.

I didn’t have much patience and the thought of meditating made me nervous. I could only manage to meditate for a few minutes after I’d exhausted myself in a power yoga class. Occasionally, I injured myself due to a lack of awareness of my body and improper form.

In 2004 I moved from New York to Boulder, Colorado. Even though I didn’t know anyone there, I just felt that this move was important for my evolution. I began studying Tai Chi which became my formal introduction to the slow path. 

In the movie The Matrix there are different scenes where time slows down. Learning Tai Chi was a similar experience, as it felt like everything slowed down. I became aware of every single pedestrian movement and layers of body armor started to melt away. 

I had no idea how much stress I was holding until I slowed down.

Studying Tai Chi helped me discover new ways of tuning into my body. While I still enjoyed pushing myself physically, my internal awareness increased significantly. For the first time I was able to settle into meditation. 

A few years later I was awarded a modeling scholarship by the Rolf Institute of Structural Integration. Rolfing is a form of intensive bodywork that involves manipulating the body’s deep connective tissues for enhanced structural alignment. It’s a form of non-invasive reconstructive surgery.

Since I was actively involved in yoga community, the Rolfing school was interested to see how I would respond to the Ten Series. The Ten Series consists of ten, 2-hour long sessions that focus on freeing restrictions or holding patterns in particular regions of the body.

Rolfing is incredibly intense work, and I would leave each session feeling so exhausted that I would have to lie down for an hour afterwards. The work was targeting various imbalances in my body due to a mild scoliosis, many of which I had never been aware of.  

Much like the effect of Tai Chi, everything slowed down. 

Experiencing the Ten Series showed me how the scoliosis had affected various parts of my body. As I walked through the grocery store after having my feet worked on, I realized that my right foot had been always been partially supinated (when your foot rolls out). 

It felt like I was learning how to walk all over again.

By the end of the series my posture had improved and I even grew a little taller. My yoga practice slowed down and I was able to tune in on what was happening in each pose with greater clarity. Forward bends like Downward Dog became increasingly therapeutic.

This experience opened the door for me to establish my Qigong practice. In 2014 I moved back to New York where I began learning this form of internal martial arts. Standing qigong involves holding postures for 30-60 minutes at a time.

Through consistent practice, I’m able to use this technique for maintaining my spinal imbalances. It took a lot of patience to get to this point. It also helped me navigate the challenges I faced when I moved back to Colorado.

I am very excited to share the next evolution of my journey on the slow path. The best way to stay up-to-date about these new developments is to join my newsletter.

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Is Power Yoga the Anti-Yoga?

Is Power Yoga the Anti-Yoga

A friend sent me a coupon for a week of free yoga classes so I decided to check out a studio in Manhattan. I’d heard good things about this place – that it’s one of the better studios in the city. On their website they describe their signature style as being based on the chakra system. I let go of any pre-conceived ideas of what this could mean and went with an open mind.

There was a strong MTV element.

The walls were painted with graffiti and one wall displayed a mural of Ganesha holding a boom box and a stack of dollar bills. The floor was covered in glitter and pink hearts that were arranged to help students align their mats so they wouldn’t kick one another in a packed room.

The studio owner came in sporting an Obama tee shirt and a half sleeve. I’d never seen such a blatant political advertisement by a teacher (yoga is not political BTW). The music was bumping from start to finish and the sequencing included some creative variations. The predominant theme of the class was fun, Fun, FUN! It must be what the student-clientele are willing to pay $18 a class for.

I had a hard time concentrating.

The over-stimulation was a stark contrast to my usual “studio” of parks and nature. It felt like I was in a dance class rather than a yoga class. I didn’t experience anything about the “signature style” to indicate a relationship with the chakras. It may have not been a part of the lesson that day (which I honestly don’t remember).

A few days later I received an email from a Buddhist Dharma teacher who shared his reflections on the benefits of Slow Yoga. He said that Slow Yoga helps his students with their meditation practices and that they believe that power yoga is the anti-yoga, or at least anti-enlightenment in the same way that guided meditation is anti-meditation.

With the MTV yoga experience still fresh in my mind, I had to agree that power yoga presents an obstacle. It’s not to say that power yoga can’t be used as a stepping stone but its primary function is aerobic entertainment. I wouldn’t go so far as to say that guided meditation is anti-meditation though…

What do you think? Is power yoga the anti-yoga? Feel free to leave a comment in the box below.