Alright, I confess it, I’m slowing down. It’s not really to do with getting older though, it’s more a confirmation of a way of looking at life that I’ve held for years but is now getting stronger. Taking things slowly. I used to thrash up and down the pool when I went for a swim but this morning, one of those rare occasions when Highbury Pool was empty, I took the opportunity to swim really slowly, knowing that no one was behind me or ahead of me. Like this, you can enjoy using swimming as a way to stretch and take pleasure in the water rather than as some high-pressured aeobic exercise – ‘doing the lengths’. These days I advise those of my clients who are stiff to enjoy going slowly in the pool and feel each stroke as a stretch. It can become quite meditative.
I’ve also got slower in the way I massage and enjoy it even more – it’s a particularly effective way of working when clients book in for a longer 80-minute session. The other day I was pretty tired having spent all day massaging and then the last client who came in wanted 80 minutes. I wasn’t sure I was going to make it. But actually I found a revitalising rhythm that used a lot of breathing techniques and found myself giving what I thought was one of the best massages I’ve ever given – the guy I was working on was more than happy too! I took it so slowly I did wonder if he was going to ask me if I was ok but really I could tell from his breathing that he was completely with me and enjoying every second.
I don’t always have the courage to go slowly – sometimes feeling the compulsion to ‘get on with it’ – but if I’m ever in doubt as to whether I’m giving a good massage, I slow down. The effect is powerful and immediate.
As Leonard Cohen sang in his song Slow from the wonderful album Popular Problems: ‘Slow is in my blood’.