Slow Movement, Mayans and Mexico
Lily Tomlin: “For quick relief from stress, try slowing down.”
If you haven’t heard, there is a new movement for everything SLOW. It all began with an event that kicked off Slow Food. Slow Food is an organization that started in Italy that was spearheaded by a protest by Carlo Petrini against McDonald’s when they opened in Piazza di Spagna, Rome way back in 1986. This public awareness of keeping a high quality of life, which in Italy, of course, has to include food, wine and human relationships, had it’s beginning.
It was Carl Honore, in his book, In Praise of Slowness, that the phrase “Slow Movement” was coined. It has inspired people to spread ideas about the value of slowness and it is sprouting up in several venues. A subculture is born.
Perhaps you have heard of “slow cities” that give people a chance to get away from, not only fast pace living, but technology such as cell phones and wifi, which inspires speeding up and keeping up with the latest greatest everything. There are different categories for these slow cities and could be well worth some investigating for the next time you can schedule a tech-free getaway.
There is a lot to be said for slowing down, resting, pausing, taking time away from the habitual. Therefore, the invention of the “vacation.” It was working in Europe that opened my eyes to the fact that a large portion of the western world takes a month off from work to travel and enjoy something away from their ordinary schedules. It is an integral part of each year’s plan.
Having come from a workaholic family, I am a bit of a late bloomer to the activity of vacationing. I have started exploring the land of Maya in the Yucatan, Old Mexico. What I have found fascinating is when visiting there, the air is thick with cultural ways that are tangibly pulling you into it’s ancient relationship with time. As a result, you automatically enter slowdown mode, perfect for the Slow Movement.
It turns out that moving slowly is also a strategy for being able to become more aware and to notice HOW you are doing WHAT you are doing. There is a human phenomenon credited to how our brains work that allows us to interrupt a habitual movement or response. Moshe Feldenkrais and Stanley Keleman, both giants in the world of Somatics, have a lot to say about this.
Stanley Keleman, from his article in neuropsychotherapist.com: “Slow motoric acts influence inherited behavior and reorganize aspects of inherited behavior to form a personal motoric self- regulating, self-forming entity which becomes our identity and is the foundation of a somatic formative awareness which generates satisfaction and a kinder life.”
From Dr. Feldenkrais’ book, Awareness Through Movement, paragraph entitled ‘Movement is the basis of awareness’: “We are able to prevent full muscular expression because the processes in that part of the brain that deals with functions peculiar to man alone are far SLOWER than the processes in those parts of the brain dealing with what is common to both man and animals. It is the very SLOWNESS of these processes that makes it possible for us to judge and decide whether or not to act. In other words, we recognize the stimulus for an action, or the cause for a response, when we become sufficiently aware of the organization of the muscles of the body for the action concerned.”
Similar to the slow motion video at the top of this page making it possible to see things we would never see at normal speed, the process of moving slowly makes it possible to sense things that are going on inside of us that would otherwise go unnoticed. This is at the root of how and why the Feldenkrais Method is so effective. The genius of this method is in its ability to make specific use of the human brain that is designed to evolve and grow awareness with mindfulness.
To pull all of this together, for those willing to take the leap into SLOWNESS, I’ve designed a 4-day winter retreat in the land of the Maya, Yucatan, Old Mexico. Guided in Awareness Through Movement® lessons, you will be moving slowly, accessing the magic of your uniquely human brain, growing your awareness, evolving towards a greater ability to know and choose what you want. Plan to come the weekend before and stay for the weekend after to visit nearby Mayan ruins, swim in our cenote and check out our Agave plantation. This rich experience will be an investment in your appreciation of the Slow Movement and how you can start bringing it into your daily life. Take a Slow Break, it’s about time! To make it happen, see more information and registration about The Journey Inward in Yucatan. Also offered in Santa Fe, NM and Boulder, CO.
Slow Movement with Awareness: Better than Exercise by Alan Fogel
Why Slow Movement Builds Coordination by Todd Hargrove