Being a Perfect Yoga Sloth & How It Can Help You Today
We have so much to learn from sloths… Seriously!
Our world is so fast and it’s getting really hard to be human (especially a human child) in a not (anymore) so human world.
We are always rushing, always trying to achieve something, get somewhere, do stuff… That’s why we are so stressed! This is also why it is so hard for us to be in quarantine.
We forgot the art of being a perfect sloth.
There is a body-mind connection here; we go so fast and our mind starts racing too. And at a certain point, we don’t even know how to slow down anymore. I’m definitely at this point.
Over the centuries, people have derided sloths (and teenagers) for being either stupid or lazy or a combination of both, but have you ever thought they might just be onto something?
After all, they always kind of look like they’re smiling (not teenagers necessarily).
Don’t you wish you could have that serene expression on your face every now and then?
Everyone deserves to relax sometimes, be let off the hock and fully embrace and enjoy being as cool as a cucumber.
Learning to slow down can really help us enjoy the little things in life.
To be a proper sloth you should allow yourself to just let go and relax a lot more often. Make sure you get enough sleep, take a walk through the park or a long bubble bath, make a real dinner…
We humans should realize that although we may be (doubtfully) the most intelligent of the species, that does not mean there aren’t things we can’t learn from other species. And who could possibly teach a better lesson about how to relax than the sloth? Exactly!
Why slow down? In a world that often feels more fast-paced, busier & more hectic than ever, it’s easy to get swept up in the feeling of needing to do more, just to keep up.
But the trouble is, sometimes we spend so much time and energy trying to keep up and fit everything into our days that we can’t even enjoy any of it!
If you find yourself feeling overwhelmed, frantic or like you’re always rushing from one thing to the next, learning how to be a sloth may be just what you need.
A sloth would have enjoyed this very different era of COVID-19 that mostly stopped our lives, and so can we if we really try (or try less).
When you intentionally slow down your days and your life, it helps you become more present and mindful in each moment. And even better, when you aren’t rushing from one thing to the next, struggling just to keep up, life can be a lot more enjoyable!
But learning how to slow down isn’t always easy. It takes intentional effort to resist the societal norm that “busy is better”, or that being busy equals productivity and importance, and choose to be a proper sloth.
Maybe you’re ready to slow down, but don’t know exactly how to do it. How do you get out of the fast lane and embrace a slower pace of life?
The answer is in this little sloth yoga class below for your enjoyment, and we recommend that you do it as a whole family of truly royal sloths!
Sloth Time & Sloth Speeding Tickets
The goal of this exercise is to help all of us slow down and practice observing what’s going on around them.
And any of you can bring in at any time of the class simply by saying “Sloth Time”!
So whenever anyone calls “Sloth Time”, everyone needs to stop and look around like a sloth in a VERY slow, exaggerated fashion.
Take turns sharing details about what you see and notice around you that maybe you haven’t before. It can be objects that you notice, sounds, people or even behaviours.
You can even make it more multi-sensory, grounding yourself through the senses and taking a moment to name:
5 things you can see
4 things you can feel
3 things you can hear
2 things you can smell
1 thing you can taste
A great mindfulness exercise!
ANY TIME you notice anyone going a bit too fast or faster than a sloth would give each other “speeding tickets” just to be super helpful in making sure that everyone is taking in real easy.
Deep breathing is another great way to slow down when you find yourself feeling rushed, busy or overwhelmed.
Try taking 3 deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth to help release some of the stress and busyness so you can find more calmness and slow down.
Now that we are sloths, let’s try this slow and deep breathing in all kids of sloth situations…
Lying on your back
Lying on your belly
Lying on your side
The other side
In Child Pose
In your favourite Yoga Pose
In Tree Pose
In Mountain Pose
The Slowest Sloth Sun Salutation EVER!
The whole family (you can do it just by yourself, of course, too) can follow a designated leader in a very slow Sun Salutation. No instructions are necessary. After a couple of rounds, challenge yourself (or everyone) to do it slower… And next round slower… And slower…
Eventually, do it so slow you barely move and it takes you ages to transition from one pose to another.
There is no “too slow” here. Go as slow as you can!
And it is good for you too! Besides helping to slow the mind, in some poses, you may find that going slow will challenge your core strength as well.
What else can we do SUPER SLOW in a sloth-like manner?
How about the slowest pillow fight in the universe?
Slowest race - Race each other across the room - The slowest one wins of course!
Slowest breathing - Measure it!
Let everyone come up with more ideas of anything we can do super slow.
Choose a few of these Yin poses to stay in for a while, up to 3 minutes in each. You want poses that will help you become still in body and mind, poses they can relax into.
Here are some of my favourites:
Standing forward bend (and you can even lean with your bum against the wall)
Seated Forward Bend (can be with legs together or with feet apart)
Reclining Twist (do both sides)
Perfect for bringing more calm on a partly cloudy day!
Lie down on your back and look up, or look out of your window, or spread out a blanket in a shady spot (so you don’t have to squint so much but can still see up into the sky) and watch the clouds pass by.
You can even play the alphabet game, looking for clouds shaped like something that starts with each letter.
Connecting to nature always helps. Watch and see for yourself.
If there are no clouds, you can watch trees.
If you are indoors and there are no windows :-( you can imagine clouds in your mind.
None of this should feel like an effort or an achievement... Simply let it all go and embrace your inner sloth.