The downside of being sick -- not feeling all that well.
The upside of being sick -- slowing down.
While I don't believe that sickness is one's only opportunity to slow down, it certainly is a wonderful excuse to do so (without the guilt, if you're someone who just can't stomach taking it easy without a "reason."). This week my yoga practice has been slowed down with a capital S.
Now if this were a credit card commercial, I'd say that slowing down is priceless. First off, slowing down your yoga practice enables you to really be conscious of the breath. Secondly, slowing down keeps you more conscious and in your body rather than getting stuck up in your mind wondering what you're going to eat for lunch as your body moves through the motions of yoga.
Not only has my practice felt like a true moving meditation this week but it was very enlightening. I became incredibly curious about how a posture felt on each side of my body. For example, I found that my right psoas muscle is tighter than my left. Rather than get my head involved by coming up with a reason for this and a solution to the issue, I just noticed the difference and moved on.
After doing this for a week, I find myself noticing how I do daily things like wash dishes, sit in my desk chair, reach for something on a high shelf, hold my body, etc. It's been interesting to notice which side of my body does the most work and/or holds the most tension. This awareness seeps into my body and I've found myself making small corrections this week.
I once had a client who played a lot of tennis. As a result, his right side held more tension and was a bit tighter than his left. He had never realized that until we started working together and I had him move slooooowly through his yoga practice.
How about this for a fun experiment -- Do 3 slow Sun Salutations. Draw out the breath (inhales and exhales lasting 5 counts) and coordinate the movement to the breath. And notice. Have an awareness of the right and left sides of your body as you come into a pose. You can then take what you learn during this slow practice into your daily life. Notice what's happening in your body when you're going about your daily tasks. Can you find a correlation between what was happening in your body in those Sun Salutation and what happens in your body during the day (while driving, sitting, moving, running errands, picking up your child, cooking dinner, etc.)?
You certainly don't have to be sick to slow down. In a world that values speed, it's important to slow down once in a while. Faster isn't necessarily better. And slow can give you insight into what's going on in your body.
Have fun in the slow lane!