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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Teaching Philosophy: Emily Seymour

I am a firm believer in the value of alternative education. My parents were public school teachers and I grew up observing their methods. My father was a middle school music teacher and my mother taught elementary school. I witnessed their enjoyment of creative education, their commitment to professionalism, and their bureaucratic struggles.

Growing up, I was recognized as a gifted and talented student, particularly in the Arts and Humanities. I attended young writers conferences, Girls State, and participated in the Odyssey of the Mind program. I was a competitive musician, an active thespian, and studied with world-famous dancers. I feel very fortunate to have had these outlets, as I did not enjoy standardized education.

In high school I wanted to attend private school but that wouldn’t have reflected well on my parents. So I chose the most alternative private college I could find. No grades, no tests – just an opportunity to enjoy my favorite subjects. I took a leave of absence to apprentice with a master teacher and choreographer. Sharing dance and yoga with thousands of children ignited my love of teaching.

I became a dance major at a state university but my interest in Traditional Eastern Arts led me to another alternative college. At Naropa University I experienced a synchronistic connection to my education. Whether I was engaged in a Socratic approach to Survival Skills, practicing yoga infused with philosophy, or learning the nuances of Tai Chi, it all interwove to form a rich tapestry of immersive, creative learning.

My teaching philosophy is rooted in these experiences. I especially enjoy working one-on-one and with groups of students over extended time frames. My yoga training has strengthened my ability to support students and colleagues in a balanced way. I believe in the importance of being thoughtful, disciplined and attentive to details. I welcome opportunities to further develop my skill set while leveraging my background.

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Outdoor Fitness Classes – Parker Tai Chi and Qi Gong Club

Outdoor training season is one of my favorite times of year. Navigating the weather can be a bit of an adventure here in Parker, Colorado. We get flash hailstorms all summer and it can get pretty windy at times. Which is a big reason why I’m so grateful to have a new indoor training space.

On nice days it’s amazing to train outside here. The sunsets are gorgeous and the skies are incredible. And after a long winter it feels so good to soak up the warm sunshine while exercising.

One of my local outdoor training spots is the Parker Norwell Outdoor Fitness park. Park gyms are a very cool phenomenon. I’ve seen a few of them in my travels around the country. This one was designed by the Barkholt family from Denmark:

During travels in Asia, the family experienced how the public outdoor fitness parks everywhere offer easy access to exercise, and the perfect supplement to the family’s walking and running routines.

This experience inspired the Barkholt family to develop their own unique line of outdoor fitness equipment, expressing the very best of Danish Design: quality, functionality and aesthetics.

There’s one piece of equipment that I really like – the curved pull up/stretching bars.

It’s perfect for practicing a full range of strength and flexibility exercises. A few of my favorite exercises include:

  • Hamstring Stretches
  • Flat Back Stretch
  • Hanging Spinal Stretch
  • Leg Lifts Series (for core and leg strength)
  • High Bar Stretching

These exercises are highly beneficial for all levels of experience. If there was one thing I could recommend that people do for themselves this summer it would be to train outdoors 2-3 days a week.

I’ll be co-hosting a series of small group sessions at the Norwell Park Gym and other local outdoor training spots. Contact me if you’re interested in attending a free seminar on how to do these exercises.

For more information visit the Parker Tai Chi and Qi Gong Club’s Facebook page.

 

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