Awareness is curative. The space we often call “the now”, or “being present” is a place of infinite possibilities. When you truly drop into this space, you become aware that any path is available to you. It is a place of healing. It is a place of transformation.
Where you place your awareness is where you send your energy, your resources. Quite simply, being aware of something gives it “life”.
Awareness is a powerful tool in the healing/transforming process. Whether the transformation happening is seen as “psychological”, “physical”, “emotional”, “structural” or otherwise, being present with it helps the process. What we call the conscious mind directs energy to that which needs upgrading, bringing intelligent resources with it. Intelligent resources that know exactly what to do.
In a world where your awareness is often being pulled in many directions, slowing down can bring awareness to the “physical” body immediately and powerfully.
You can apply this principle to any movement. Even something as simple as moving your ankle in circles will feel very different when you slow it down. You will become more aware of the movement without having to try to become more aware of the movement.
Moving slowly creates more feeling. More awareness. More awareness creates more healing, more transformation.
Slowing down also removes the need to “try” to be aware. “Trying” brings with it more tension, so whenever we can just “do” or “be”, all the better.
Slowing down also brings with it more control over our movement, more skill. When we then move at “normal” or faster speeds, this will translate into better performance and therefore more enjoyment. Feeling more skillful at something always feels good.
I’d like to invite you to try it. One of the movements below can be challenging, especially when done slowly. Don’t worry if this is the case, start where you can. If you need to remain with your knees on the floor, do so. If you are not able to move once your knees are off the floor, hang out there for a while and feel what’s happening in your body. Stillness is as good a teacher as any. Find movement within the stillness. See where the body tremors and moves while you remain still. Wherever you are at is good and any slow movement will help you connect with your body. This leads to exponential improvement if done regularly.
As was said earlier, you can slow down any movement and connect with the body but to save you having to decide what to do on this first occasion, I’ve put a couple of examples below. One is more challenging as it is a “loaded” movement, loaded by your bodyweight. The other is not and as such, while not creating the immediate rush of feedback, provides a more gentle way in.
Loaded (and awesome in so many ways):
Get on your hands and knees. Eyes looking forward, lift your knees up so they are under your hips, a few inches off the ground. You are ready to crawl. Keeping your back relatively flat, start to crawl forwards, keeping those eyes on the “horizon”. Crawl as slowly as you can and feel where the body is “talking” to you. Where there are imbalances, adjustments to be made.
Stop at any time and allow these adjustments to integrate into the body. The time in between doing these exercises is equally as important as the doing. 5 minutes of crawling will be noticeable the next day in terms of posture and how you feel. If you get up to 15 minutes (even every other day), you will see huge improvements. Always give yourself time to allow these adaptations to integrate, and whenever you are doing the exercises and feel a strong pull saying “that’s enough for now”, please listen to that internal voice.
A lighter loaded exercise is to simply take off your socks and shoes and walk really slowly barefoot outside. See what you notice about how you move, how you feel. Close your eyes if you can, feel the wave like movement of the foot as it rolls across the floor, sending a wave back up through the ankle, the lower leg, the upper leg, across the body and into the opposite arm and shoulder. Then across and all the way back down the other side. It’s a bit like doing the walk from Saturday Night Fever. And that’s always a winner. If you’ve not seen it, please go and watch right away and copy.
Moving your hands/wrists in circles really slowly. Close your eyes as you do to enhance the sensations. Closing your eyes when doing anything enhances sensations and awareness of movement. A “stillness” version of this is simply to close your eyes and bring your awareness to your hands. If you notice your awareness wander, gently bring it back. You can’t do it wrong. Be playful with it, feel how your hands feel for a few minutes – Don’t be surprised if they tingle and maybe even feel like balls of light. This also makes for a powerful meditation of sorts.
Slowing down (and finding movement within stillness) has a powerful effect on how we move, how we feel and therefore how we live. Within every moment of slowing down/stillness are infinite possibilies to “level up”. Move slowly whenever you can and see what happens. You might just enjoy it.