More haste, less speed

Through the practise of Ashtanga yoga, I have learnt to better appreciate the beauty of this expression ‘more haste, less speed’. Essentially, the idea behind this expression is to remind a person that if you do something in too much of a hurry, you are more likely to make a mistake and will have to re-do it again. Hence, it is actually faster for a person to do a work slowly and accurately get it right at the first attempt.

In Ashtanga Yoga, one of the key characteristics is the alignment of breath with every asana (yoga pose). Such an alignment creates a dynamic flow in the execution of a series of asanas and the systematic inhalation and exhalation greatly improves the oxygen intake and flexibility of the body as a result. Ignoring the alignment of the breath and movement limits the extent that a practitioner can advance in his or her yoga practice. This was what happened to me when I first started practising Ashtanga Yoga.

I felt that it was too slow to have to pace my movements with the designated inhalation and exhalation and given that I felt that I was of a reasonable fitness level, I thought that it would not make a difference if I simply ‘bull-dozed’ through the asanas. Yet, with passing time, I observed that my progress was limited. Upon self-reflection, I realised that I was missing the gist of practising Ashtanga Yoga, which is to align my breath with my movements. I ended up re-learning the whole sequence all over again, incorporating the breathing sequence this time round.

You may think that the practice of yoga is really not that important to one’s life so even if I did not progress well in my asanas, it would not have mattered much. But the truth is, it does. My ignorant attitude in learning yoga was merely an expression of the deeper attitudes of how I learnt and managed things in my life. Without taking the time to fully examine and think about matters and relationships, I must have made many mistakes in my encounters with people and events that could have been avoided.

Through yoga, I have now learnt to do deeper introspective analysis of myself with the aim of becoming a better and stronger person for myself and for everyone around me. I hope that everyone will be able to learn from my mistake and correct yourself if you are in similar situation.

Lastly, I like to share with everyone, one of my favourite quotes by Eleanor Roosevelt. “Learn from the mistakes of others. You can’t live long enough to make them all yourself.’

Namaste, Fern (200hr TTC, July 2013, Weekday)