We’ve trained ourselves to depend on instant gratification. We want things fast. Our society provides us with options for fast cars, fast food, fast reads, fast weight loss gimmicks. In the past, I’ve been enamored of strategies to write fast.
Unfortunately, “fast” rarely equals “sustainable.”
I’ve come to believe more and more in the power of slow. I’m a fan of the slow food movement and of slowing down life in general. I want to focus on journey even as I travel toward a destination; I want to enjoy the process as much as the results.
I’ve found that focusing on “slow” often means delaying gratification and doing the work to build a solid foundation.
Bikram teaches this. The foundation of the standing postures is a locked knee. Lifting the quadriceps muscle to do this properly—and keeping it lifted—takes more strength and stamina than I have at the moment. The teachers repeat: “If the knee isn’t locked, the posture hasn’t begun.” So I focus on locking the knee, even as my thighs shake with the effort. I’m building the foundation. The rest of the postures will come, eventually.
I love learning patience. I love the reminders to keep my focus inward during class and not compare myself to all the other (younger, slimmer, more flexible) people in the room. I love staying in the present moment and seeing how far I can take myself. It’s a slow process, but it’s sustainable.