Slow Down Already! Applying Yoga’s Wisdom to the Infuriating Illusion of Time

We, as humans, live within the overarching structures of time and space. Though both have their issues, time seems to be the real problem for most of us.

There’s never enough of it.

It’s been a year since I last wrote on this blog. It’s been over three years since I stopped teaching yoga classes (though my book Yoga for Dragon Riders keeps finding its way into the world, so I guess my legacy lives on).

My twin boys are two and a half. This picture, with the Mini Cooper I used to race around in at speeds I wouldn’t dare now that I’m a mother, is at least 6 years old! (Probably older, but let’s not nitpick.)

In some ways, time has flown.

In other ways, time has flown and things set in the dimension of space have stopped. Like the addition we’ve been putting on our house for three years. (OMG! Three f’ing years of renovations. AHHHHH!)

Time drags when something is unpleasant, and skydives when you’re having fun.

Time even nags at you when you’re on your yoga mat, saying, “You have a million things to do. Hurry up and stretch.”

Or maybe that’s just me. Maybe I’m the only one who forgets to breathe in a yoga pose because I’m more focused on what pose I’m going to do next, or trying to spread my toes, squeeze my butt, and extend from my heart in handstand without taking out the toddler running past.

But I’d bet the nearly-finished other half of my house that I’m not the only one who forgets to breathe while doing a practice that is all about breathing. Time catches the best of us up in its blundering rat-wheel trap.

Some philosophies say time is an illusion. In the grand, expansive, all-is-one viewpoint, this whole experience can be considered an illusion.

But to me as a human being, this experience is real. Scary real. Holy-shit-this-world-is-crazy real. And time messes with me, again and again.

So what’s a person to do? Well, yoga suggests staying in the moment, which is great when it works—or you practice it enough that you start having more instances of being present—but can be damn elusive most of the time. (Says the woman whose meditation practice has all but vanished in the wake of having kids.)

Okay. Be in the moment. Will work on that. Anything else?

Yes. How about slowing down?

Oh. That. But I can’t, really, because if I don’t do it, it doesn’t get done.

If I don’t [insert all-the-things here], then it won’t happen. Or at least, not right now.

And that “now” is where the crux lies.

Right now, I’m writing. Writing is one of the most vital things for me as a person, alongside singing and being in nature. If I don’t do all of those three things on a regular basis, I become increasingly less happy (read: more bitchy).

In order to have the time to write, and sing, and get outside, I don’t make my bed, or clean the floors every day, or organize the fifty things that need organizing. I’ve been known to ignore the dishes for 24 hour periods, then deal with the reckoning the next day. (Procrastination: another glorious byproduct of time.)

In other words, I let things slide.

I make time to express myself, to nourish my creative soul and do the things that feed me as a human.

Because time is too short to rush around taking care of the little things. It won’t matter, at the end of my life, if the dishes were done. I’ll remember playing guitar, being with my family, and writing romance novels because that’s what I wanted to do. I’ll remember hugging trees all over the world, and smile when I think of my two-year-old sons running across a park to hug a tree, too.

Yoga invites you to slow down. To take care of you. To breathe and be in the now as much as you can, yes, but also to do what brings you joy. What makes you feel that spark of eternal truth that is your fiery soul?

The wonderful thing about yoga is that it takes whatever form you give it. While yoga is a path of living with integrity and intention, it is also a wild, limitless invitation from the divine to dance your dance.

In the end, time will prove to be an illusion, for the soul transcends. But for now, as I live this human life, I’ll cut myself some slack and make sure to have fun on the roller-coaster ride of time and space.