“Do we want to live in a world where every moment is a race against the clock? Or do we want something better than One-Minute Bedtime stories for our children? The choice is ours. Let’s choose to change the world.” -Carl Honoré
At the start of COVID, our family became unexpected homeschoolers and despite the challenges, we’ve fallen in love with our new way of life. It always seems that unexpected plans bring us the most joy and opportunities for growth.
Over the last year, I’ve dedicated a lot of time to learn more about childhood development, brain health, and learning, and I’m always in awe at the amount of overlap this has with my life as a movement coach for older adults. Not only do I find a lot of connections between learning about childhood development and the work I do, but taking this path has given me the incredible gift of remembering how to learn, experiment, and try new things as an adult.
I recently took a homeschool masterclass called In Praise of Slowness: Raising An Unhurried Child that I was surprised to find had so much applicability to human movement, health, and aging. The course featured a TED Talk by Carl Honoré. And these simple principles apply to becoming an unhurried adult. If you haven’t watched it, I highly recommend it (and it turns out his work also covers aging and he’s given another fantastic TED Talk called Why We Should Embracing Aging as an Adventure).
I’ve found in my movement practice, it’s easy to fall into the trap of moving too fast. Sure, there are some times where I purposely move fast because that is a good skill set to train. But there is a difference between moving fast mindlessly just to get something done, and moving quickly with intention.
This is true of any skill. We have to move slowly before we can move fast, whether we are learning a new language, playing a musical instrument, or expanding our cooking skills. When we observe children learning, it seems very natural for them to move slowly at first. And the same is true of adults, though we don’t seem to extend the same principles to ourselves. Learning as an adult is really no different than learning as a child.
I’ve discovered that I get so much more out of my movement practice by dedicating a whole thirty minutes to a single move performed slowly and mindfully, like performing slow squats or slow walking to look at my technique and mechanics. Moving slowly allows awareness to develop and adjustments to be made, which are critical to making long-term change.
This might feel awkward, painful, and uncomfortable at first, but this is how learning takes place. Learning requires a certain level of discomfort and when we make an effort to implement a regular practice of moving slowly we are setting ourselves up for effective learning.
By practicing slowly and mindfully to start, we establish solid brain connections that allow us to easily accelerate our movement in the future. And we also set ourselves up to live a rich life, continue learning well into adulthood, savor the small moments and find peace in ordinary moments throughout the day. Where can you start to implement a practice of slowness in your life?