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Slow Yoga or Fast and Dynamic Yoga?

Updated: May 3

The practice of Yoga has many benefits. But how can we ensure that we enjoy those benefits? It seems that the practice of Yoga has become another type of Physical workout. However, the original essence of Yoga is quite different.

So, what do the ancients have to say about Yoga?

A statue of Buddha in a Berlin Yoga Center - silencing of the modifications of the mind to a state of Yoga
silencing of the modifications of the mind to become a Buddha

The answer to this question can be derived from a single famous phrase, probably the most famous: "yogaschchittavrittinirodha.”

This key phrase holds the essence of Yoga.

  • Yoga – To Yoke together

  • Chitta – Consciousness

  • Vritti – fluctuations of the mental content (Thoughts J)

  • Niroda – to quiet down / the quieting of

Taken from the famous text – The Yoga Sutras of Patañjali, this phrase defines Yoga as: "the silencing of the modifications of the mind."

Nothing more. Nothing less.


So how does Slow Yoga support "the silencing of the modifications of the mind"?


When the mind is restless, the body is restless. Have you ever seen a fidgety person? When we are stressed, there are immediate manifestations in the body. The mind and the body are one.


Slow movements demand alertness and awareness. To move slowly, we need to collect our attention, concentrate, or Yoke Together (as in the meaning of Yoga..). When we do that, the fluctuations of the mind also start slowing down.


Do you know that feeling of joy and quiet bliss you sometimes get during or after yoga practice? It is because of that. And that is why Yogis are happy people.


Practicing slowly, you become more concentrated, aware, and in the moment. This means you become less distracted by fears, anxiety, worries, and thoughts in general. This will automatically jump-start the natural inclination towards happiness.


Here are a few more benefits of Slow Practice:

  1. Becoming stronger – Moving fast is easy. Have you ever tried to do a Pull-up in slow motion? Moving slowly takes much more work. This means that when you practice slowly, you create more work for your muscles. Muscle strength (and mass) grows only if needed – Thus, if we show the body we need more 'juice'. Slow Yoga calls for more 'juice.'

  2. Gaining Flexibility — Constant electrical tension holds our muscles in tone. It is called "Tonus." Flexibility is about relaxing the unnecessary tonus. Slow practice allows the high concentration needed to bring this muscle resistance to light and start letting it go. That is the only healthy way to achieve flexibility.

  3. Creating Health – Stress damages our health. Stress is related to the sympathetic nervous system. It is famous for the "Fight or Flight" mechanism: Fast heartbeat, high blood pressure, adrenaline rush, high muscular tension, fast body movements, and other stress-related symptoms. On the other hand, relaxation is known to support health. It is connected to the sympathetic nervous system, which controls the "Rest and Digest" state. Slow practice shifts from 'Stress to Relax' and allows the body to rejuvenate, recuperate, and maintain health.

  4. Avoiding injuries – People who practice Fast Yoga are far more prone to injuries than those who practice slow Yoga. The most common are kn


  1. ee and spine injuries. These injuries cut your practice and are usually hard to recover from. Practicing slowly with full awareness, you can maintain injury-free practice and a healthy life altogether.

  2. Mastering your mind – Slow movements demand awareness and create awareness. Yoga is all about developing high awareness. Thus, when you practice slow Yoga, you are tapping into the world of meditation, achieving higher states of awareness, becoming the master of your body and mind, achieving the goal of Yoga in "Yogaścitta-vritti-nirodhaḥ", or "the silencing of the modifications of the mind."

So now it is up to you to decide what type of practice is right for you!

 

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