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Why Slow is the Way to Go: 6 Reasons to Take Your Time

Slow Tortoise

“Stop beating yourself up. You are a work in progress; which means you get there a little at a time, not all at once.” ~Unknown

I’ve been practicing yoga, on and off, for fifteen years.

It’s helped me through and out the other side of infertility, kept me company on the long and winding road of adoption, and helped walk me out of the shadows of depression.

It’s a big part of my life, part of who I am—a faithful friend, the kind that welcomes you back with open arms even after you’ve been inattentive.

In fact, I’d say yoga always gives me what I call an “Alaskan welcome”—the kind my dearly departed dog used to give me whenever I walked into the house, as though I’d been all the way to Alaska instead of around the corner to the shops.

Yoga is always willing to give, but it’s a slow-burning love, and while it has rewarded me richly, I’ve had to wait for its gifts.

I have just completed yoga teacher training, at forty-six, proving the truth that you are never too old to teach (or learn).

While I’m pleased with my pace of learning, ironically, despite my age and experience, there is still so much yoga has to teach me.

And that’s okay, because I am realizing more and more that some of the best things, in yoga and in life, come to us slowly.

Here’s why I think slow is the way to go and why staying power is the most powerful kind.

1. Slow teaches us patience.

And patience is its own gift, especially during times when things are out of our control and we have no choice but to wait it out. When we bring patience to gently moving toward a goal, we have it in reserve for when roadblocks get in the way (as they inevitably will).

2. Slow hones acceptance and gratitude.

When we rush headlong into what we want to achieve, we can get easily frustrated with any hurdle or slight delay. (And frustration is unlikely to get us to our goal more quickly.)

We also miss the opportunity to accept and be grateful for the small steps we take, those incremental achievements, and for where we are right now—for the good and the bad of everyday life.

3. Slow allows for small mistakes.

Rush at something and we run the risk of messing up big-time. Take it slow and we get the chance to experiment with small mistakes, helping us to grow so we can hopefully avoid bigger mistakes in the future. We have to earn our lessons, and we don’t learn until we allow things to sink in.

4. Slow makes room for other stuff.

When we want something fast we can become obsessed with that thing, as though the goal has taken on a life of its own.

While it’s great to prioritize what we really want, it doesn’t make sense to create imbalance in our lives with one overwhelming obsession. Who knows what (and who) you might miss out on if you do.

5. Slow builds resilience.

The lyrics “It’s better to die on your feet than live on your knees” might ring true, but I’m betting you’d still like to be around for a long life.

Slow is about building legacy, and along the way, resilience. That can only be won through endurance.

Fast is great for igniting passion and showing courage, but who do you think is braver and more passionate—the person who sprints out of the starting block or the one who keeps going over the long distance?

6. Slow is seasonal.

Taking things slowly recognizes that sometime we need to sit and deliberate (by a fire or by the beach). We need to wait in faith for the universe rather than selfishly expecting our own desires to take precedence.

We need to look to nature to realize that the seasons cycle at their own pace, and we should always be willing to take things slower (and faster) as required.

Slow doesn’t have to be timid, or lazy, or less-than-smart. Slow isn’t a marker for fear and procrastination, nor apathy and indecision.

There’s a yoga asana (posture) that many people find difficult at first. The Sanskrit name is Supta Vijrasana, also known as Reclining Hero pose.

Unlike the standing Warrior postures, which are strong and forceful, the Hero pose calls for quiet strength as you kneel down and then surrender backward.

When I first got seriously back into yoga two years ago, after a sporadic year of practice prior, my knees would groan and my ankle joints scream when I tried to just kneel down and sit my bottom back between my heels.

I certainly couldn’t recline backward onto my back, while keeping my knees bent and touching each other and my feet close by my hips. But now, having taken it slowly, I can feel a little like a yoga hero.

I can realize the benefits of slow that have snuck up on me in their own sweet time. And I am most grateful.

Slow isn’t dull and boring, but contemplative and considered. Slow is the yin in a very yang world.

Slow is the strength of surrender, and surrender can be the most powerful kind of victory.

Large tortoise image via Shutterstock

About Kathy Kruger

Kathy Kruger is an adoptive mother of two beautiful kids from China. She blogs about going with the flow, finding yin yang balance, embracing change, and being grateful at www.yinyangmother.com. A former journalist, Kathy shares insights from her long journey to motherhood.

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  • Hi Kathy
    I really enjoyed this post..it resonated with me because this is something I have been thinking about a lot lately. When we embark on any sort of journey to better ourselves, create new experiences or make other types of change, we can get a bit impatient about it. Or we may have this desire to just ‘figure it out’ immediately so we can feel truly wise or whatever.

    I particularly like what you said about slowness and not becoming overwhelmed with desire to get one particular thing as quickly as possible. That can be painful in a variety of ways, from not giving time for things to unfold organically and giving up at the first sign of a problem, to creating a more intense feeling of dissatisfaction with our current circumstances.

    Great stuff!

  • MissE

    Thank you, Kathy. I can actually relate to this. Man, I started life slow. In everything. My academic progress has been delayed (I’m 28 and still doing my degree), yet to settle into a career (part timing cause of my studies), yet to get into a relationship (broke an engagement several months ago. Hardest and most painful decision ever.), I eat for an hour plus, showers are long and slow…so, you do get the gist. Haha.

    But…amidst all of that, I learnt to respect time. I learnt to appreciate the things that people often look away. Eventually, this helps me relate to people I meet. Eg. Taking time to listen to them or letting my niece chew her food 100 times before swallowing. I feel empowered, somehow. Simply, taking my time yields many observations that we missed out when we rush. 🙂

  • Gc

    Hi. Relating… I’m also 28 and because of many unfortunate circumstances including depression for several years I am only just getting back to my bachelors work. I commend you for staying strong thru what you’ve struggled with and more power to us ‘late bloomers’ 😀

  • Thanks very much Kelly – it is all about a balanced approach isn’t it and I think we miss the balance when we rush. I’d like to say infertility, IVF then a long adoption journey taught me patience for things to go slow, but it is a work in progress.

  • It’s that balance isn’t it between progressing and rushing and there is so much more space in going slower – the trick is to proceed purposefully and not worry about the pace. Glad you could relate.

  • Ian

    There are many articles on this website that I can only wished I have discovered about them before I went through a situational depression (still going through and feeling the hurt caused by someone I loved). If I had read this article, I would have taken everything slowly instead of pushing for things out of my control and causing everything to end badly.

  • I hope you can find this article and others useful now – we never stop learning and growing and I know I get a lot out of the wisdom of others on Tiny Buddha. Never too late to go slow.

  • MissE

    Thank you!:)

  • MissE

    Cheers! 😀

  • Louise Watson

    Great article, Kathy. Has reminded me to be patient with myself in my career-change efforts and has also helped me to go easier on myself in my own yoga practice. Have just begun private lessons with a great teacher, and my first lesson showed me how little I know. I felt like I’d wasted the last three years since I began practising and was frustrated at how little progress I’ve made, even though I know how ‘un-yogi’ that way if thinking is! Thanks for the reminder that going slow can be a good thing and giving me hope yoga-wise!

  • Sunshinesoon

    Hi Kathy,
    I came across your article while seeking something to read to get me rebalanced after a stressful day. I’m also traveling the journey of infertility. I saved the beautiful image of the turtle on the beach as a reminder of these words. Namaste.

  • charmaineslater49

    So important to go slow we find out who we really are instead of being distracted all the time.

  • Melisa cole

    how i got my husband back and got pregnant after 5 years!!!my husband has been patient with me and has been encouraging me that it will be best if we had hopes that we will have a child one day.last year,we had a little fight and he demanded for a divorce and i was so down because without him,i am nothing.he ledft me and the next day i met him with another woman in a shopping mall.i even tried talking to him but he pretended he didnt know me.i told my sister about it and she introduced me to the Famous Dr Malaa,who helps in so many ways.i contacted him and he did his thing,before i knew it,the next day Moric called me and apologized that he was sorry for everything and that i should take him back and that he will cancel the divorce,i had no choice than to accept him,and we have been living happily until i felt sick and went for check up and the doctor confirmed me pregnant.i am so happy and all thanks to Dr Malaa for all his help.contact him now for any kind of problem and he will surely try his best to make you happy. His email is (bestspellhome@gmail.com) or also call his mobile +2348159645271.thanks once again Dr Malaa for everything 🙂

  • Melisa cole

    how i got my husband back and got pregnant after 5 years!!!my husband has been patient with me and has been encouraging me that it will be best if we had hopes that we will have a child one day.last year,we had a little fight and he demanded for a divorce and i was so down because without him,i am nothing.he left me and the next day i met him with another woman in a shopping mall.i even tried talking to him but he pretended he didnt know me.i told my sister about it and she introduced me to the Famous Dr Malaa,who helps in so many ways.i contacted him and he did his thing,before i knew it,the next day Moric called me and apologized that he was sorry ford everything and that i should take him back and that he will cancel the divorce,i had no choice than to accept him,and we have been living happily until i felt sick and went for check up and the doctor confirmed me pregnant.i am so happy and all thanks to Dr Malaa for all his help.contact him now for any kind of problem and he will surely try his best to make you happy. His email is (bestspellhome@gmail.com) or also call his mobile +2348159645271.thanks once again Dr Malaa for everything 🙂

  • Loved this. Thank you.