This is the story of how I arrived in my body, how I learned to root and to heal through making the mundane mindful.
I love slow movements. Slow and precise. For me, they are deep medicine. I learned about "slow" in a village in France, years ago. I was house-sitting for 3 months—something I thought would be a delight. However, I was immensely bored.
I believe most of us can identify with that feeling. Dissatisfaction over nothing. It's like when you can't sit still, and anything in the vein of having to wait or go slow runs ripples of agitation through your body. To me, it can feel like an electric tingle all along my back. What do we do with these moments? Those moments when we're not in an ashram, and we have to face our own day? Where is our yoga then?
In that village, I took one of my endlessly free days and went into the small town centre, carrying nothing. I immersed myself in the nothingness of nothing to do. I felt the tingle, like a taught reptile skin, creeping up my back, but I took a deep breath and simply stood.
I focused on my feet connected to the earth. I could feel every bit of my foot pads, my toes, and my bones—rooting. I dropped my awareness into this. I barely moved. And it was in the hardly moving that something began to shift.
I took a breath and slightly moved one foot along my path. I noticed every little muscle in my ankle, and my foot fold onto the ground. Something about the precision and the placement was incredibly soothing.
I continued on, diligently placing one foot in front of the other. I became aware of other parts of my body. My shoulders drew back and down. And where my shoulders had been tense like a frightened cat, they began to hold me like angels' wings.
It was in my face that I felt the deepest sense of this slow medicine. I was aware of every opening and closing of my eye lids, the twitch at the sides of my mouth as I began to smile. The depth of my breath. The lightness that bloomed from the back of my head.
Somehow, it had transformed from a feeling I thought needed to be appeased with action. I realised that the slow precision of movement allowed me to fall back into a sensual, true flow.
I translated this slow, mindful movement into other areas of my life, like making a coffee. I breathed with the making of my coffee—a cherished ritual. I began to dance in the shower and skip down the street. And the nugget of it all—the way I move with the world, the way I flow. Celebrating all these tiny details of my expression, from the way I smile at someone on the street, to the way my limbs stretch across the bed as I say Thank You to the day. This is how I move. This is my medicine.
Come move your body with us on July 8th: Dance to Freedom with DJs Raio and sôfrēē in Zagreb!
Cover and 2nd text image: Elena Alger