Ever have one of those days where you find yourself wondering, "Whoa, where did the time go?" Or, my favorite, "What the heck did I even do today? It all seems like one big blur..." Unfortunately, I have been guilty of asking both of these questions at one point or another. When these questions come up for me, I (gently) remind myself to get back into the moment and slow down (way down).
This past week I found myself in this sort of Alice in Wonderland-sucked-down-the-rabbit-hole relationship with time. What do I do when I find myself down in that rabbit hole, you ask? At the risk of falling into the oh-you're-so-predictable category, I'll admit that I do more yoga. But rather than extend the duration of my practice, I divide my practice up into multiple mini practices that I do throughout the day. Every few hours I'll stop and do 5-10 minutes of what feels right, whether it's pranayama or asana (or sometimes meditation). I notice that slowing down and getting into my body helps me avoid time wasting, procrastination, and the like.
My ultimate favorite practice when I'm in need of slowing down or taking better care of myself or resting after a particularly busy day is a simple one -- and, it just so happens that it's included in Mark Whitwell's new book, The Promise of Love, Sex, and Intimacy: How a Simple Breathing Practice Will Enrich Your Life Forever (you may think that this is a pretty wild claim, but I am in total agreement with Mark on this one and I can't recommend his book or his 7-minute practice highly enough):
--I lie on the floor with my knees bent (arms resting down by my sides), lower legs resting on a chair seat so I'm at a 90-degree angle
--On an inhale I bring my arms up and rest them on the floor above my head (at the end of the inhale, my arms are just coming to rest on the floor)
--On an exhale, I bring my arms back down by my sides (again, my arms are just coming to rest on the floor at the end of my exhale)
--I repeat this for 10-12 times before resting my arms extended out on the floor at shoulder height
--I lie in rest for 5-15 minutes
Yes, that's yoga at its simplest, purest, and most delightful -- breath supporting movement followed by rest.
If you're looking for something that offers a bit more movement and lasts a bit longer, I encourage you to check out Mark's new book and/or his iPromise app for Android and iPhone. Don't let the duration -- 7 minutes -- fool you into thinking that the practice isn't effective or transformative, for it is. My personal yoga practice is quite similar to what Mark outlines in his book, and my time on the mat is something that I look forward to and treasure.
So, keep it simple. And, as my Driver's Ed instructor used to say: "Slow it down! Slow it down!" [Blogger Confession: I still drive too fast, but I've slowed down the rest of my life.]