Slow down to reduce stress and prevent injury

November 7, 2013

In a former life, I was an outfielder on a softball team. There were times I fielded the ball well, and times I didn't. Whenever I didn't field the ball well, I could tell that I was moving too fast and thinking about throwing the ball to second base to make a play prior to actually fielding the ball.

 

This happens in other aspects of life too, not just sports. When we get overstimulated, the mind moves so fast and is constantly ready to move onto the next thing, whether it's during a task at work, a conversation we are having with a loved one or in the act of cleaning the house. This is also when injuries occur or stress develops. Ever sprained an ankle because your your eyes and brain were moving faster than your feet?

 

So, how do we slow down the mind? Building upon the principle that "like increases like", we can counterbalance the fast with something slow. Slow movement, like how one moves in tai chi, can help us sync our movement with our mind. Restorative poses can dial it down a few notches, especially those done laying on the back.  There are also several yogic breathing exercises, or pranayama, that can be practiced to help slow down the mind. Examples are alternate nostril breathing and sitali.

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