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Slow Yoga Revolution

in YD News, YogOpinions

slowyoga

by J. Brown

On the outskirts of the last decade, a small and humble minority has been pushing back against the pumped up power craze that swept through the nineties, and still largely has a hold on modern postural yoga. Now that the longstanding kingdoms that once guarded yoga’s legacies have fallen, and individuals are left more to their own devices, this once obscure and unsung song is finding a new chorus of practitioners.

Two years ago I wrote a piece called: “Gentle is the New Advanced.” It was mostly a response to a NY Times article on the meme of the yoga selfie. I observed that some old-school teachers seemed to be finding a niche among the new-school vinyasa scene by billing themselves as “Gentle Flow.” I also suggested that the allure of the flashy pose and its ability to attract followers was a hollow pursuit that would wither over time. Recent trends might suggest that not only are people reevaluating the merits of Instagram, but younger teachers are beginning to embrace and emulate old-school wisdom.

People are discovering again that yoga is not necessarily something you do to yourself so much as something you do with yourself.

I first noticed the old-school teachers reemerging while at one of the larger holistic learning centers on the national circuit. Whenever I teach at one of these venues, I feel like I am getting a glimpse into the broader commercial yoga world. Over the last three years, I have been changing the title of my program. First, it was: “Fundamentals of Therapeutic Yoga” and the folks who showed up all had conditions that they wanted to have addressed. Then, I called it: “Making Vinyasa Yoga Safe” and a number of old-school teachers attended to bolster their repertoire and ability to meld into the new vinyasa conventions. This year, I presented: “Vinyasa Slow: More Power, Less Pain.” My hope was to attract new-school teachers with a sizzling title. It didn’t work. The participants ended up being people who I had previously met or were already on board with a slower and safer approach.

But a funny thing happened on the way out of my program one day. You see, there was a “Vigorous Vinyasa” class happening in the space after us and the teacher was waiting in the hall. She had noticed the title of my program. She said: “Are you the teacher? I saw the title of your workshop and that is totally what I do.” I looked at the sign that had replaced mine with “Vigorous Vinyasa” quizzically and she continued: “Moving slow is so much more work.” She then proceeded to immediately come into a high lunge and slowly lift and lower her arms to demonstrate. I smiled and said: “I couldn’t agree more.”

For many, power and hot yoga have become like that friend who you initially hit it off with and had so much fun with but now when you hang out it just feels negative and draining. Eventually, you drift apart.

The concept of “Slow Yoga” is not just about the pace with which we move our bodies. It’s a question of purpose. Are you doing yoga practice because you want to sweat? Are you doing yoga practice because you want to be stronger and more flexible? Are you doing yoga practice because you have pain and want relief? Or are you doing yoga practice because you just want to learn how to be well? Perhaps, all of the above. Whatever question you’re asking yourself and whatever the answer you may arrive at, space enough for the inquiry is going to be required. Slow Yoga takes emphasis off accomplishing something and puts it more on experiencing something.

Like any relationship, as a yoga practice progresses over time, the initial buzz wears off and we are left with either an appreciation for the subtlety and nuance of the in-between moments or the empty feeling of nothing ever being enough. We can struggle and fight against this, attempting to forever change things and find new ways to spice things up or we can embrace this mundane inward turn and see what it holds. One thing is for sure: yoga practice that covets what has yet to be attained will always overshadow the beauty of what is already in place.

I told myself that I would stop writing about what is happening in the “yoga world” and just focus on yoga. But it occurs to me that there is no way to separate these out from each other. The “yoga world” consists of people who are interested in yoga practice. The motivations at work and the actualities of people’s experience that make up the yoga world have everything to do with yoga. And up until recently, singing the song of simplifying and slowing things down have always felt like pushing against the tide. Now I’m seeing a wave of new voices picking up the tune.

Fast and intense may serve for a time but it is unsustainable and will invariably require some reevaluation. For in the slowness of our lives is where we are able to perceive its worth. Yoga practice is no different.

~

J. Brown is a yoga teacher, writer and founder of Abhyasa Yoga Center in Brooklyn, NY. His writing has been featured in Yoga Therapy Today, the International Journal of Yoga Therapy, and across the yoga blogosphere. Visit his website at jbrownyoga.com.

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Earlier

45 comments… add one

  • I grew up with a Hatha yoga teacher for a mother. She always emphasized the importance of moving slowly during yoga practice. She never got involved with any type of “power yoga” and never sustained an injury from yoga. She started practicing Hatha yoga in the 1960′s, teaching in the 1970′s, and still practices regularly. I believe her health, high energy and agility has a lot to do with her approach to yoga.

  • I grew up with a Hatha yoga teacher for a mother. She always emphasized the importance of moving slowly during yoga practice. She never got involved with any type of “power yoga” and never sustained an injury from yoga. She started practicing Hatha yoga in the 1960′s, teaching in the 1970′s, and still practices regularly. I believe her health, high energy and agility have a lot to do with her approach to yoga.

  • Cara

    When I practice at home it is often slower and smoother than when I am in a flow class. I believe it has to do with me matching my movement to my breathe and sometimes it just takes time to settle into a pose to feel the benefits.

  • Glen D. Lovie

    My experience exactly.

  • I write a blog about essentially slowing down, more of deep body-mind-spirit approach. The blog is global in its reach. The physiological, emotional and spiritual dimensions are optimized by slowing down, listening, freeing and following rather than controlling. And it optimizes spindle release in tissue and impacts on multiple systems: neuro, cardio, endocrine, lymphatic, et al. to optimize deep suppleness rather than only more external flex/strength.

  • Lance Kinseth

    Lance Kinseth: Islands Of Grace blog: http://santosharestorative-yinyogajournal.blogspot.com

  • Wondering

    That’s great and all. It’s just amazing that yoga practiced sensibly slowly and comfortably is now a THING. Will there be slow yoga trademarked things, trainings, conferences, certifications, slow yoga celebrity’s, DVDs, will it be all the same people now doing that stuff? It’s baby boomers, we, you whoever they are their taking over. Money to spend n time to play. the largest growing sdgment of the population is 90 plus. Slow yoga is just slow yoga. Let’s see what it gets turned into??.

  • Wondering

    That’s geat and all. It’s just amazing that yoga practiced sensibly, slowly and comfortably, is now a THING. Will it be a trademarked, branded thing? Will there be slow yoga workshops, trainings, seminars, certifications, DVDs , celebrities, books? Will it be the same people who are doing all that now? Maybe a slow yoga cover for yoga journal, or a separate listing from yoga alliance. Yin n restorative have their own little empires, not just vinyasa.The baby boomers are taking over, money to spend n time to play. The largest growing segment of the population is now 90 plus. Slow yoga is just slow yoga. Let’s see what it’s turned into??? Maybe it’ll be like yin another new suit for the emperor.

  • slow/medium/fast

    yes, thinking the same thing.

  • Suzette

    Well, I’m thankful you didn’t stop writing about what’s happening in yoga – this article is very encouraging. I became a yoga teacher (more traditional school/lineage) over five years ago after a decade of a daily home sadhana, and have hardly taught at all I’ve been so discouraged with the yoga scene. There are a few traditional studios around but not in my neck of the woods. As a new, fresh student I thought I could teach anywhere, that “yoga transcends all.” It didn’t, and rift between an athletic hot vinyasa workout and a slow, meaningful, recollective practice blew my self-esteem as a brand new teacher. Thanks for the encouragement and wisdom. My passion to share yoga is building once again and perhaps there is a place for me as a teacher, after all. Namaste.

  • I am very happy to see this movement starting up — or simply reclaiming what yoga has always been. It’s not aerobics or quick-hit strength-building. The slow practice trains your mind for the spiritual practice — the “listening” and presence happen as you pause in a pose and get to know it.

    My home practice has always been slow, and nearly every time I attend a flow-yoga class, with its amped-up, quick-change transitions, I almost always hurt myself. I loved Vinyasa when I was young and nothing ever hurt. But that’s not my life anymore, and back then I thought I was trying to expand and deepen my practice, but it was more about the physical then.

    I certified to teach in 2013, and have yet to solidify a teaching practice. I may try slow-flow as a method for teaching and see where it goes. I’m willing to risk rejection in my teaching practice to share what I have learned as a yoga practitioner. Slow is much harder, physically, and when doing a faster practice, I feel a bit violated, because a pose can be like an old friend, and I want to hang out for a while and catch up. In quick-flow classes, we rush off to the next pose.

  • John

    “Slow Yoga takes emphasis off accomplishing something and puts it more on experiencing something.”

    Or not. I’ve done thousands of classes that involved spending 90 minutes on a few poses attempting to accomplish the “correct” shape. It is always a relief to get away from such teachers and their accomplishment obsession and just flow.

    Slower is not more traditional. Iyengar was jumping around before he slowed down. Kriya isn’t exactly slow.

    For those slow works for – good luck, enjoy it. Don’t pretend it’s somehow deeper, or more old school, though. Those of us into the magic of making space and time by flowing fluidly with our breath have found something we won’t be trading for the rigid muscles and obsession with making the “right” shapes that so often go with more static practice

    As for “internal strength” If you want to borrow concepts and phrases from martial arts make sure you know what you’re talking about. Fajin is “internal strength” and it’s not slow.

  • Really fantastic article!

  • Asananine

    This article strikes me as overly vague if not contradictory. You state that you titled a recent workshop as “Vinyasa Slow: More Power, Less Pain.” Then I read that power yoga can be “draining”. Elsewhere, you agree that slower is “more work”.
    Presumably, more work would translate into sweating more and becoming stronger.

    In my experience, if you are accustomed to taking a slow approach, then a faster approach will be challenging and visa versa. Not sure where the “revolution” comes from. These two approaches have been around for quite a while.

  • My practice and my teaching have been based on developing, strength and balance. I find that the students that I attract love the slower style. It provides them with more ability to focus on the breath and to be in sync with their body. Whatever style of yoga a practitioner chooses, I think the important thing is that that style matches their intention (for their practice). I hope the revolution in yoga is each practitioner finding a style that suits them at all phases of their life.

  • ‘Slow Yoga Reminder’ perhaps rather than ‘Revolution’, Krishnamacharya (teacher of Jois, Iyengar, Desikachar, Mohan and Ramaswami) was writing about long slow breathing as well as long stays with kumbhaka (short holding of the breath in or out) back in the 1930s. It seems unlikely he came up with that himself but rather from his teachers taking it back further than the documentation we have available. Pattabhi Jois in interviews throughout his life talks of inhalations and exhalations of 5, 10, 15 even 20 seconds each. My belief is that the pace picked up with the more fixed Ashtanga sequence and less time to practice it, other sequences and classes that derived from ashtanga ( power yoga, vinyasa flow etc.) seemed to keep the larger number of asana thus sacrificing the amount of time spent on each one. Perhaps it’s hard to sell an hour class with only eight to ten asana.

  • anna

    Hi ya G,

    Yay! Was skimming through the comments, in kumbhaka in the hope that someone is going to reference Krishnamacharya. Had to be you :)

    Well said old friend.

    Much love, Anna F

  • Asananine

    I know plenty of teachers who teach “slow yoga” and have for years. This piece is the equivalent of a yoga selfie, except more self congratulatory.

  • Ready for a new trend, are we?
    Personally I have always practiced what felt right. Sometimes I need a fluid, sweaty practice and sometimes a slow, strong practice and sometimes a slow, restorative practice. Fortunately I feel like I have been trained to adjust my practice to what I need, not to what’s trendy. It is possible to look beyond what ‘most’ studios offer and find what you need.

  • have been teaching like this for years and it’s actually harder for students to slow it down. I think anyone who has trained extensively in the Krishnamacharya lineage teaches like this.

  • Maybe I’m the luckiest gal in the world to have found slow vinyasa years ago through power yoga. It seems here that power yoga is being equated with fast, sweaty, noisy, ego-trippin’ : yogaerobics, basically. That’s not what we do at all. Breath is number one, and is the main factor in building heat for the power yoga practice. Practice brings physical strength, flexibility, endurance, and so forth primarily through slow, fluid (almost tai-chi style) movements, moderate holds, and attention to feeling. Everybody knows it feels exxxxtra good to go slow, especially when most of our days have us running ragged. Power yoga, at least what I know of it, is a graceful, empowering practice that has changed my life.

  • VQ2

    Too few more power-ish practices tend to think doing the challenging inversions is king (literally, at times! “King” of asana? Aspire to doing handstand if your noggin can’t “take” the “King” of asana?); that all movement practices (fast, slow, in-between) are basic and lesser-than to the big prize at the end. It’s not like the video stuff marketed in the late 1990s for sure where you kept your feet on the ground. Folks, some people live in or near quicksand, and don’t have the Privilege of having “ground”, imho! I will take a fast, hybrid, gym-style inversion-free workout that posits itself as “yoga” because of cardio/eye issues I have. I will take a slow, meditative yoga practice that may posit itself as “meditative” because I love meditation.
    There is a case for a grounded practice, definitely~~!!

  • VQ2

    I meant to say, “too many”, not “too few”. Too few ADMIT to actually being power-ish yoga practices .. Afraid they’ll lose potential business amongst the rest of us ;-)

    Don’t be “fooled”!

  • I am not as hopeful as you. I feel like Kim Kardashian has taken over yiga, how many pictures of oneself can you post in a day. I don’t see this trend ending any time soon. I am a believer and am completely in love with power yoga. But what I praxis slow, and I explain the same all the time. Slow is stronger, more powerful and without the rush of injury. I wish their was more emphasis on how yoga connects you to your Whole body and a lot less emphasis on marketing and branding. Yoga is still the best thing anyone can do for themselves, there is a style for everyone. Just slow down and see what happens, you’ll be amazed!

  • VQ2

    More like P.T. Barnum and Robert Ripley … Kim Kardashian is just a publicist and “prodigal daughter” of the conjob …

  • So true. Thank you so much. I honestly believe and teach “Slow is good”, but the American culture is always faster and harder and higher and ….. I have to work hard to “Slow down”. Ahhh, “Slow is good”. Thank you.

  • Frances

    I LOVE this quote!
    “People are discovering again that yoga is not necessarily something you do to yourself so much as something you do with yourself.”

  • Laura

    Beautiful article. I’ve been practicing yoga for most of my 60-some years, before it became trendy, before it came to gyms, and long before yoga mats and “yoga-wear” were invented. We used blankets, towels, or simple rugs on which to practice. There was just “yoga” — not “hot yoga,” or “power,” or fast-paced combos like Piyo (which I’ve done but found that form often is sacrificed to speed.) As I age and modify my practice accordingly, I find yoga more essential than ever – - and appreciate slow flows, deeply held asanas, and long, meditative, soul-restoring shavasanas – - returning me to the yoga I discovered in my 20s, reflective of the cycle of life. Yoga is such a gift.

  • Jessica

    I think it’s amusing that mostly everyone commenting “knows” what the best way to practice asana is. How about: there are no bad movements, only those ill-prepared to perform them. Or one person’s medicine is another’s poison. Do what you love and don’t bad mouth others for doing what they love. Simple.

  • namasteve

    …not too mention the bikram culture self destructing under the weight of its own ego…and sexual assult

  • Sanjay

    I think music like this:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GuCDLdrvkA

    can really help people sink into a slow yoga routine.

  • Infored

    Thank you so much for the most excellent article highlighting the so called slow end of yoga practice spectrum. That is where I too have practiced for 60 years and what I teach. I find that the slow movement and holds connect one so well with the breath practices and meditation ppractices you naturally get all three ro lled into one. We now know it changes how your brain and body integrate.

  • Pat Jack

    I love my practice and love slowly entering a posture and experiencing a conversation with my body as the posture is approached, entered and then experienced, and then released and an exit is begun and then completed as the beginning of the entry into the next posture. Coming into tadasana, hands by the sides, 10 breath cycles once tadasana has been established, 5 breath cycles to raise the arms, 5 breath cycles to reach and extend through the raised arms above the head, 5 breath cycle back bend with arms reaching overhead and back, 3 breath cycles to return to tadasana arms still overhead, 5 breath cycles to lower the arms to tadasana, arms by the side, 5 breath cycles entering into forward fold, 5 breath cycles in forward fold, 3 breath cycles looking up and extending out in forward fold, 10 breath cycles coming back into forward fold, (hanging out or head to knees), 2 breath cycles to fully release forward fold, 2 breath cycles to step back the first leg and begin to establish the proper support for entering chaturanga, 2 breath cycles to step the second leg back and then 2 breath cycles to fully establish chaturanga, 5 breath cycles to lower the head and chest through chaturanga to the floor, (deep, rich, sweet breathing with ujayi breath and a full yoggic breath), 2 or 3 breath cycles to come into cobra, 10 breath cycles in cobra, 2 breath cycles to leave cobra and begin to enter downward dog, 2 breath cycles to establish downward dog and get comfortable … somewhere … 10 breath cycles in downward dog, etc …

    Slow, meditation in motion, that’s the sweetness of it.

    I took one of Bryan Kest’s power yoga videos and slowed it down by a factor of 5, then wrote my own narration, and I’m still working on that. A 250 minute flow, slow flow, that is the same as one of Kest’s videos is a path to walk, and I’m still walking towards that.

    In my practice, the speed at which some posture is considered, and then entered and then obtained is relative to the amount of time spent in the posture, and all of that range of motion experienced so slowly, (the movements between exiting one posture and then finally obtaining the next posture to then hold), builds strength and flexibility within those micro movements that get you out of one posture and into the next posture.

    This type of practice, for me, is much more obtainable in the standard salutations, or pre-made flows, but sometimes I have a practice which is just a meditation in motion, listening to my body, mind and heart/spirit for where I want to go and which postures I want to experience. Usually, I will stay in a posture, breathing deeply until I get some cue from my practice as to where I might go next, and I breath into that …

    If 3 iterations of sunrise salutation take 300 breath cycles, and each breath cycle takes an average of 7 seconds, or more, that’s perhaps 2,100 seconds of yoga flow, 35 minutes of yoga flow that will give you total and complete, wonderful and delicious exhaustion and provide you with an incredibly intense workout and a meditative experience in motion that is wonderful.

    The slower the better, the deeper the breath, the richer the experience.

  • Patrick

    Each person’s body respires at a different rate from another person’s body. A different amount of oxygen is needed and a different amount of waste removal is needed, (exhalation), for the same or different amounts of work. Some people are stronger and more efficient at different points in a flow, or in a posture or series of postures.

    I find that when I am in a class where one is expected to synchronize their flow with all the others in the class, I find that there is a struggle among all the people in the class, because a person’s rhythm in flow is naturally different from another. In classes where the instructor encourages everybody to breath together, to inhale and exhale together, I sometimes laugh out loud at that, and I don’t go back to those types of classes. Those types of classes where the teacher demands synchronization of movement and breath among all the individuals in a class, that to me just smacks of “control freak”.

    There is no magic that happens in a class where every person can comfortably and normally maintain the same respiration patterns as the other people in the class, for many it’s a struggle and it becomes a “leader and followers” exercise, a challenge of the most basic type, to get enough oxygen, and to exhale enough waste gasses to then get the proper benefit and joy, from a posture or flow.

    It’s basic science to me, everybody’s heart beats at a different rate and at a different rhythm and time and everybody moves and breaths at different rates and moments. To demand that people involved in strenuous activities marshal their energies so that they are synchronized in movement and breath, for me, is not pleasant at all.

    Classes are good sometimes, but slow flow, (not gentle), slow flow intermediate and advanced asana classes are quite rare because the slower you go, the less synchronized you can be with others. When practicing very, very slow intermediate and advanced posture series or asana flows, synchronizing movement and breathing patterns with others is extremely uncomfortable for most people, and again, there has to be a leader and then followers, or you have to have a metronome or some rhythmic elements leading the movement.

    The more choreographed a yoga class might be, the less I enjoy that type of environment.

    The faster you go, the more members of a class can flow together, or might force themselves to flow and breath together and I don’t like that, at all.

  • Zephyra

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    I feel this shift, too! *claps*

    Once a mega Power Yoga enthusiast, and admittedly Instagram yoga selfie junkie, I am becoming disillusioned with trying to look good on camera, or become a pretzel. I injured myself in doing so also, and it took months to recover. I am being kinder to me, gentler to me, and feeling the effects with more strength and more beauty in my practice (and of course, resulting in my life). Thank you so much for this. The nuances of yoga are what keep me going down into the depths of the yoga world.

    Namaste.

  • Zephyra

    Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

    I feel this shift, too! *claps*

    Once a mega Power Yoga enthusiast, and admittedly Instagram yoga selfie junkie, I am becoming disillusioned with trying to look good on camera, or become a pretzel. I injured myself in doing so also, and it took months to recover. I am being kinder to me, gentler to me, and feeling the effects with more strength and more beauty in my practice (and of course, resulting in my life). Thank you so much for this. The nuances of yoga are what keep me going into the depths of the yoga world.

    Namaste.

  • renea

    Love it! Thank you…”Slow Yoga takes emphasis off accomplishing something and puts it more on experiencing something” I live and teach in Miami where yoga is the new aerobics/boot camp which is fine, but I always say…do your fast powerful yoga, run, swim, bike and triathlons, but once a week at least slow down and get back into your body and rest there with what you’ve got!

  • Dawn

    I’ve encountered these same thoughts in the last year. It really hit home after a class that was way too fast and I left disappointed and confused????. I felt ‘off’. I love this article; echoes my thoughts. Well written article.

  • gina

    Not exactly new; here’s a blog from a few years ago describing the process.

    http://www.dailybandha.com/2012/03/easing-in-to-chataranga-dandasana.html

  • rachael

    I love this article. I love slow yoga. I have always felt disconnected in a vinyasa class. If yoga is about yoking one’s mind, body, and breath, how is this achieved when one is being directed through a series of postures with a single notion of breathe? Surely my breath length is not identical to my neighbours. In short, vinyasa class did not leave room for me to breathe…on the contrary, it forced me to match my breath to the cues given by the instructor. I teach hatha and slow is my motto. Let’s explore the pose and if we are including dynamic movement there is no expectation that we will all be in sync. Life is already a bit of a race. Yoga gives us space to slow things down and get in touch with ourselves. This is what brings me to the mat.

  • Linda Wells

    I absolutely agree. Slow works for me.

  • Jessica

    I agree, slow and strong is lovely and often harder. I love it all, variety is good. Interesting to see this footage of Iyengar teaching in 1977, it’s pretty hectic!
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SgEC9uxFDQo

  • Just some guy

    A friend and student sent me this article and asked me to read it and give me her opinion. So I read it and I will discuss it with her sometime in the future. She’s really smart. I like talking with her.

    I will also do this: comment here. I think I have commented on a yoga blog only once before; the sadly short lived Babarazzi. I think that comment was just something along the lines of ‘fuck yes.’ Anyway…

    You wrote:

    “I told myself that I would stop writing about what is happening in the “yoga world” and just focus on yoga. But it occurs to me that there is no way to separate these out from each other.”

    There is a way. There is so very much a way.

    My teacher’s teacher in India said that the desire for “name and fame” was more debilitating than being addicted to opium and even more likely to prevent one’s attaining liberation.

    You wouldn’t know my teacher’s name. He has never published a single yoga article; print or otherwise. I’d be surprised if he has upgraded from the PC running windows 98 I last saw him use. He has never been on the cover of a yoga magazine. He refuses to teach at yoga festivals though the many ‘known’ teachers who know him have encouraged him to. He is not a Lululemon ambassador. I doubt he has ever set foot in a Lululemon. Well… perhaps to buy someone a gift. He is fond of gift giving. Yet he is still teaching yoga in the same neighborhood he has been teaching yoga in for 30 years. He is still helping people learn to be still; he is still helping people learn to move.

    If you really feel the need to write, get your name and face out there, and feel the thrill of seeing your name in a byline that’s of course ok. It’s probably making things a lot harder on your personal progress… but I suppose it might help others. Who knows? Not the point I am rambling towards.

    I more mean to say that I am always hopeful that at some point the yoga “blogosphere” (do people still use that word?), yoga magazines, etc will take their collective teeth off their collective tail.

    Too fast they say. Too slow. Too many props. Not enough props. Too much heat. Too little heat. Too much music. Turn the music off. Too little Spirit. Stop capitalizing ‘spirit’. And on and on and on and on and on…

    If you are going to write, perhaps try planting your feet firmly on something you believe in and singing a hymn of praise to how beautiful the view. You seem smart and kind, J. Brown. Why sow strife? Why benefit from people’s natural inclination to click on things that resonate with the pernicious ‘YES I ALSO HATE THAT THING TOO’ feeling? My teacher teaches what he knows and loves. I’m not sure I have ever (and I mean this literally) heard him say ‘do not do this’. It’s always just ‘do this’. I try every day to live up to his high standard.

    Teams are great for the sports children play. The rest of us could grow out of needing to be on a team if we wanted. ‘Slow yoga’ is not a revolution anymore than ‘fast yoga’ is a horrible regime that needs to be revolted against.

    Lighten up, J.Brown. Figure out how YOU love to move. Share that with others. No more drawing lines in the sand and declaring ‘MY COUNTRY IS BETTER THAN… WELL… BETTER THAN WHAT I IMAGINE YOUR COUNTRY TO BE. I MEAN… I CAN’T BE IN TWO PLACES AT ONCE. BUT I AM STILL SURE YOU ARE WRONG!!!!’.

    Oops. My ‘caps lock’ was on. That’s better.

  • Maia

    Having practiced for 6 years, I was brought up with the revolution of fast yoga for great bodies… and I guess as a token some spirituality with an Om at the end of the power hot class. 4 months ago I finally started my certification here in Hanoi where I currently live. Our guest teacher in December was Hart Lazer. I was not ready for him. I was not ready to be told without any words, that my whole practice was incorrect, my alignments were going to lead to an injury, and pretty much I felt like a fool to be following Instagram precious flexible girls who could do scorpio while drinking a cup of tea in the cutest outfits. With shame I accept I was dragged into the superficial era of yoga. I knew however, that I was getting fed up of how it was losing its essence, how it has become so “cheap”. I deeply knew there was more to it for me. Maybe that’s why Hart came into my life. It was challenging to embrace his practice. But I did, I had no choice… or maybe I did not want another choice. I like challenges. I am blessed my spirit has surpassed the “body yoga” to the true essence of yoga in a time where our bodies have different challenges conditioned by our tech savy environment. Learning to make sure we practice safely, meaningfully, and with ease. Not just doing a crazy flow just to say at the end of the class “yeah, I can do that!”. What a fool I was. But just like William Blake says “The path of excess leads to the tower of wisdom”. I am proud to be one who will continue to teach a slow, safe and mindful practice. Thank you for writing this article. It reassures me I am on the right path.

  • I began my Dru Yoga teacher training when in an electric wheelchair due to MS. Dru is focussed on slow, flowing sequences designed to remove energy blocks and open your heart, finding the still point in movement and the movement in stillness. I visualised the physical component, learned to breathe, relaxed and meditated 24/7 because it brought calm to the madness of MS. It was my intention to learn how to teach yoga to other people in crisis. Within 9 months I returned my wheelchair and now teach yoga and meditation to people in crisis and anyone who wants to find a mindful path to well-being.

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