Updated: May 1, 2021
Inhale, reach your arms up! Exhale, forward fold. Inhale, jump back to plank. Exhale, chaturanga.
I can’t tell you how many yoga classes I’ve taken where these cues were thrown out so quickly I couldn’t finish a breath cycle in the time given for me to do a movement. Trying to keep up, I would fall out of alignment, wrists not in line with shoulders and potentially cause more harm than good just to keep up!
I’ve never been particularly a fan of fast-paced yoga classes. It generally doesn’t feel great in my body to move quickly from one pose to another. It certainly hasn’t helped me learn to do poses better over time. And I don’t experience as much strength, stability and mobility as when I move more slowly.
As I started to learn more about movement and what my body needs to work and feel better, I started to understand that there were very good reasons why I opted to move more slowly in my yoga practice.
I love matching breathe with movement and allowing myself the time to feel the pose, not just do a "drive-by" and move on. Doing something quickly requires a certain level of skill, and the ability to activate various parts of the body with precision and an immense amount of control. But in order to develop all of those things, we first need to move slowly.
What the heck is Slow Flow Yoga? It is no secret that regular exercise will help to develop and detoxify our body and mind. Practicing Yoga, not only helps to strengthen our muscles but also boosts our stamina. Yoga is a work-out & a work-in. It is physical almost as much as it is spiritual.
A human being is essentially a physical, mental, and spiritual being and all 3 elements should be balanced. It's here that yoga plays an important role. Yoga, which includes simple meditation, breathwork, and asana or poses, is an old technique that aims toward a healthy body and mind. Regular observation revitalizes our body with strength and energy, removes negative blocks from our minds, and attains the required equilibrium.
A little Background First!
To learn about Slow Flow Yoga, we want to first understand Vinyasa Yoga. Vinyasa Yoga is a style of yoga that connects our breath with the yoga poses and movements. Additionally referred to as Flow Yoga, Vinyasa Yoga is more of an athletic practice. Pace plays a vital role here, and therefore the practitioner must be attentive and concentrate on the synchronization of their breath and movement. One breath = one movement.
What is Slow Flow Yoga?
Slow Flow Yoga is a style of yoga that anyone can practice. It's a low-impact exercise, which might assist you to balance your body and mind gradually. Slow Flow has the element of time; it permits the practitioner to evaluate and modify a pose while practicing. Whereas transiting from one pose to another, the yoga pose offers you time to engage with the body mentally, allowing you to feel what your body is feeling and adjust so limiting the chances of injury. Slow Flow is an effective way to learn about your limitations and improve them step by step. After all, the main motive behind every yoga pose is the secure connection between the mind and body.
The Slow Flow class is well-known for warming up the muscles and joints slowly yet effectively. The most effective part of practicing this sub-form of Vinyasa Yoga is that individuals of all age groups and yoga experience levels can access it. It encourages you to enhance your attention span by holding onto a position and focusing on the moment. The slow rhythm calms down your mind, removes all negativity, and awards you with a stronger outlook.
Points to Note: Differences Between Vinyasa Yoga & Slow Flow
Number of Moves and Their Lengths
Slow Flow Yoga, you smoothly and slowly transition from one pose to the other. While other styles like Vinyasa Yoga, you move quickly from one pose to another with a focus on strength-building poses.
Strength and Flexibility
Slow Flow can result in more flexibility as it focuses on the continuous transition of poses. However, with the Slow Flow, practitioners can gain strength in their muscles and joints with regular sessions. Whereas Vinyasa Yoga is a form of yoga that aims toward strengthening your body more quickly as you hold poses longer and target additional active poses.
Body and Breath Awareness
Vinyasa Yoga is a lot of body-centric because it strengthens your body in an exceedingly shorter period. However, with Slow Flow, one must concentrate on each posture and breathing. Slow Flow is a wonderful style of exercise to learn your body and mind at the same time.
Why you should practice Slow Flow Yoga
Yoga is one of the most effective ways to unite our body, mind, and soul to attain a peaceful, wholesome life. Similar to any other style of yoga, Slow Flow comes with its distinctive set of advantages and described as dance-like movements with meditative moments, held together by rhythmic breathing practice. Best-known for enhancing your strength, flexibility, and mobility, Slow Flow may be practiced by those affected by an injury or structural imbalance. If you're a beginner or somebody with restricted ability, you'll be able to begin this yoga form using standard props like chairs, blocks, wall supports, blankets, belts, and so on.
Benefits of Slow Flow Yoga
1. Apart from improving your body's flexibility and strength, Slow Flow prevents lactic acid from building up. When you hold onto a pose for longer, your body is more likely to produce lactic acid that might cause muscle pain. Slow Flow prevents lactic acid build-up and reduces the chances of tissue damage through smooth transitions.
2. Slow Flow is also beneficial for people who have arthritis and other joint problems. Regular practice can improve the mobility of the joints.
3. Slow Flow Yoga uses the body of the yogi as the weight prop. While it develops the muscles, the core strength is built up, and you can gain total body awareness. You become aware when your posture is slouched, and rectify it by yourself.
4. As Slow Flow Yoga encourages constant movement, it also benefits your major organs. They experience a natural pressure with the twist, bend, and torsion of the limbs and torso. This is like a natural massage on them which results in more blood flow to the vital organs. They get more nutrients with the flow.
5. As the poses include deep breathing, Slow Flow strengthens your lungs and improves the flow of oxygenated blood in your body. It also reduces stress and is good for your circulation and cardi-vascular system.
6. With repetitive poses, it gives the practitioner ample opportunity for self-evaluation.
7. As the yoga form also includes meditative poses, it improves your concentration level.
Slow Flow Yoga is easy to learn and comes with several benefits. In the long run, this form of yoga strengthens your muscles, improves your metabolism, and helps improve your mental peace. As a low-impact workout, you can practice Slow Flow regularly without taxing yourself much. If you are looking for a simple yet effective path to attain balance, Slow Flow Yoga can transform you, push you towards the path of enlightenment with the body, mind & soul connection.
Yoga is YOUR practice, YOUR time, YOUR journey. Let it be what YOU need it to be. Step on your mat and Let it all Go.
Love & Light,
*Disclaimer: This Disclaimer forms a binding agreement between you and Chantal Croucher also known as Yogatation, a Sole Proprietorship operating out of Ontario, Canada. In continuing to watch this video and practicing yoga with me, you release me from any liability related to any injuries or issues which may arise from the risks of practicing yoga through this video. YOU ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR YOUR OWN ACTIONS IN PARTICIPATING IN THIS YOGA CLASS. These videos are posted for educational and informational purposes only and not tailored to you specifically in any way. Please ensure you are practicing in a safe space and consult a medical professional before your practice. Lastly, please note that the techniques and approaches to yoga contained in these videos are simply my teachings and I make no representations about their efficacy nor do I promise any results.
Namaste and enjoy the practice.