In the sessions I lead I often talk about ‘unrushing’, or undoing the effects of rushing. The fact is that rushing has become the default mode of our age. We are not even aware we are doing it. But our bodies keep the score.
The problem seems to be that it is hard to recognize one’s own tendencies. Of course it is, otherwise we wouldn’t do it right? We wouldn’t rush around like headless chickens if we could see what we looked like. But our brains are blind and quick like quicksilver. We place all the demands of the racehorse onto a body that itself has a complex collection of different rhythms to regulate and expect things to be dandy.
So how can we set about noticing when we are doing it? When we are rushing? These are some of the cues I mention in asana practice also:
- Is your breath compromised?
- Are you walking into rooms forgetting why you came into them? Just because we all do it doesn’t make it normal!
- Do you struggle to keep your attention focused on what you are doing?
- Do you rely on an excessive use of stimulants?
- Are you rushing through the important things? Reading your children a bedtime story, watching the sun rise or set, listening to a song…
When I put out my lower back for the first time I wondered how could this have happened? I practice yoga daily for an hour at least, most of which is slow, conscious movement and breath. I meditate daily, observing my thoughts and regulating my emotions. How did I get into such a state of agony? Could it be that I was stressed? I didn’t think I was. But that is just it. Our thoughts don’t register the half of it. When relating the ream of lists I was juggling at the time it was scarcely surprising to the outsider that perhaps, possibly I was biting off a bit more than I had time to chew.
We are living at a time when multitasking is seen as a desirable super power rather than as the non-sequituur it is. It is not possible to multitask, there is simply no such thing. We may be doing many things at once but our attention can only possibly be on one. Does this mean that we have to give up on our lives and their busy schedules? Not necessarily, but can we bring in that all enhancing quality of slowness that is so desperately needed? I won’t call it mindfulness, consciousness or awareness. These buzzwords are buzzing with a clutter of expectations. Call it what you will, I call it ‘unrushing’.
Read The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk M.D
come to my upcoming workshop at Yoga Akasha on the gunas and their role in our yoga practice