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  • Writer's pictureUnwind Yoga Studio

3 Lessons I Learned From Switching To Slower Yoga

Updated: May 28, 2022

"Slow yoga is so boring, isn't it for old people?"

Actual quote by a student, let's call her Bridget, and between the lines there was a lot of "I am young at heart and way too cool and energetic to enjoy slow exercise!".

Bridget is a professional in her late 40s, very active, good exercise regime fitted around her busy everyday life of family and work. She originally wanted to do yoga as friends had told her "it's good!", but when I mentioned that at Unwind we teach slower yoga styles, she balked.

"Why don't you try it? Worst case you have paid £19 for a few yoga classes with amazing teachers."

"Allright," she said. "I will do the trial, but I know myself, I don't like anything that's too slow and easy."

Well.....that's where Bridget was in for a surprise. She was in for a few surprises, actually, and this is what happened next:

Bridget joined as a member before she finished her trial.

From the first class, she experienced something so pleasurable, she wanted more.

She was asked to spend the first few minutes of the class grounding (aka the time where the teacher guides you from whatever has happened so far that day to be in your space, on your mat, with your self, your body, mind and breath), and Bridget felt a first shift: this wasn't something she knew from the gym.

When she started moving slowly, she noticed tension rolling off her shoulders. The poses were held a little while, and that was challenging, something she had not expected. Being fit surely meant she could breeze through the poses. But a stamina was required here, in the body and more so the mind. Patience was tested - and frustratingly for her, some of the "unfit" students were much "better" at doing the poses.

Now, we don't teach in a way that asks you to compare yourself to the person next to you, in fact, we encourage you to do only you. But once Bridget's competitive nature was tickled, she wanted to "get the hang of the slow yoga moves".

When I bumped into her the other day, Bridget gushed about the "nice post-exercise feeling AND being completely happy, like walking on clouds" she gets after a slower yoga class.

At first, Bridget came to us for a different type of exercise in between her gym and running days. She immediately felt she achieved all the goals she was expecting, and more: relaxation, fast muscle recovery, increased mobility. She started to be more aware of her body, recognised aches better, stopped pushing past pain points. Bridget improved her breathing, too which helped with the running, and stress management.

She no longer thinks slower yoga is "for old people" as she has met our other student of all ages and fitness levels.

From being very sceptic about the "slower"style, she realised that slow is actually a luxury. In her fast paced life, slowing down was what she was missing. She just didn't know it, until she experienced it.

New discoveries

There have been some exciting new scientific discoveries about slower yoga recently. One is in the area of chronic pain, another one depression.

Both of these are massive global issues that baffle the medical community as they are so vague and difficult to pinpoint, or treat. Both whip up the opioid epidemic, causing more problems along the line.

Slow yoga and chronic pain

Research is unraveling the fact that slow movement can disrupt pain signals, reduce sensitivity to pain, and reset the nervous system, which fires up when pain occurs.