Today's lifestyle is focused on productivity, activity, and power. Technological advances constantly bring new information that circulates very quickly. New products are produced every day, inventions that make our lives easier, but they lead us away from being in touch with ourselves.
The environment in which we live such as our job, the information we follow, society, relationships, and hurried lifestyle affect our body, our nervous system, which is not created to receive so much information, is not used to so much action, and this can lead to exhaustion and frustration in the long run.
Through my own life experience and working with people, I have learned that slowing down is a great challenge for people today. In my work, I notice it is much easier for people to do active and dynamic exercise than to slow down and even sit in silence. When we slow down we create conditions for our senses to sharpen, to feel, and see our physical body, thoughts, and feelings which are not always pleasant because our fears, doubts, and agitation are also a part of us.
13 years ago, when I realized I am unhappy, that I wasn't living honestly, I decided to make a change. I moved closer to nature and away from the system, I left my job and my hometown. The change in the way of living, thinking, and acting has slowly changed me. I realized I am an active and restless person, therefore I introduced practices into my daily life that have slowed me down and also calmed me down in the long term.
Yoga, meditation, somatics, and other similar meditative practices as well as different knowledge about life have become my way of living. I began to consciously observe myself on this journey of self-exploration. Observe my body and breath. The body that always tells the truth, we just need to listen to it. Our body is a wonderful, ever-changing tool that responds to our thoughts and feelings.
I was beginning to recognize the tensions in my body. They were present for many years but I never understood them because I wasn't in touch with myself.
I noticed that I am clenching my jaw, that my shoulders are raised, that I often hold my breath, squeeze my pelvic muscles, that my feet are in an irregular position. Stiffness of the body and improper use of my body was the result of a negative attitude towards myself, control, fear of expression, feeling of inferiority, and more.
If we want to change something, we need to see it first, and if we rush, we often don't detect it. We don't detect our current internal state, our own needs, and the needs of other people. It's only when we calm down, when we slow down, that we can sense ourselves better, we can recognize ourselves. When we slow down we notice our habits, thoughts, our physical body, and if there is tension, pain, or discomfort present in it we have a chance to take the next step. We can ask ourselves: What can we do to make things different, to make it more pleasant and easier?
When we learn about our own nature, we can adapt our lives to ourselves. As a woman today, I know how important it is that I know how to slow down after an active working day, how to return to a lighter state, to switch from sympathetic to parasympathetic nervous system which allows for hormonal, digestion, cardiac, and other systems to work properly and this way maintain my health and well-being.
Our body is under stress when we are constantly active, without a break or rest, therefore its resilience decreases and vulnerability increases, we are more susceptible to injuries and inflammation. Something we had a perfectly normal experience with in the past can now cause great stress, our immune system is suffering. We cannot undo the stress but we can manage it. Stress management is a skill that needs training.
In addition to our activities, we must bring into our lives calming and relaxing practices that lead us into recognizing our potential.
When a given situation requires us to be active and powerful, we use it. However, we often remain active and tense even when the situation passes. We often walk too fast, we react too quickly in our relationships, we eat too fast, etc. Awareness is crucial. Slowing down gives us time to sense ourselves better and deeper, to feel and to hear. So, we have two choices: continue living the way we did, like an autopilot, or change the way of living to a better quality life, fuller, calmer, and happier life.
Good psycho-physical wellbeing is a result of an optimal interplay between activity and passivity - slowing down. We all have the ability to create a balance between activity, power, action and passivity, lightness, inaction. If we do not maintain this balance, we are prone to various diseases, pain, tensions, and as a result, dissatisfaction.
There are various techniques for inner peace and slowing down which, apart from relaxation, balance all processes in our body:
Adapted breathing practices (I will list a few: optimal breathing with prolonged exhalation, optimal stomach breathing, alternate breathing, lunar breath, breathing practice where we use the sounds while exhaling),
meditation in a sitting position, meditation in motion,
regenerative yoga, yin yoga,
Tai chi and other related slow-motion practices.
It is important that we find a practice that suits us and then regularly practice it. This is the only way we can see change, feel better, and have a better quality of life. When we practice, we are there, we are aware. Practice with curiosity, as if exploring without expectations, with an inner smile.
I am sharing a video of one of the practices that will slow you and calm you down. This might happen, or not. It is always a little bit different although when we practice regularly, we can see the desired result. More peace and happiness.
Relaxation is our natural state which we cultivate through the years.
13 years ago, Maja Kenda made a radical change in her life. She decided to leave the consumer society and find her happiness in a simple life in close contact with nature. At the same time, this also happened to her inner world. She took the path of self-exploration. Nature became her teacher. Nature taught her to see the beauty around her, in everyone, to hear the silence. However, this departure was not her final destination, so after 7 years she returned to the world here and now, the world as it is, and not how she wanted it to be. This was a new major change through which she started to understand the middle path.
Movement is part of her life. She learned the connection between movement and breath very early. Professional sport required her to have the presence of breath when moving or resting. She was a multiple national swimming champion.
Over the last 10 years, she has been practicing yoga, somatics, MBSR (Mindfulness) method, done various awareness practices related to the understanding of the female nature. She's a teacher of Hatha Yoga, somatics, and an integral breathing instructor.
Some of her former teachers are Blaž Bertoncelj: hatha yoga and somatics, Matejči Šajnam: somatics, Tatyana Tolochkova: Iyengar yoga, Milan Hosta: Integral breathing, Polona Sepe: Kriya Tantra and Yoga, The discovery of women's essences with Savina Atai, Manja Potočnik, Sasha Cobra, dr. Joachim Gross and Robert Križaj: MBSR method of integrated stress management, Erik van den Brink: MBCL - Mindfulness-Based Compassionate Living.
She is a co-founder of the first anti-stress center on the Slovenian coast, Center Diha, where she continuously shares her knowledge and experiences with others. This is her way of life to which she is devoted with all her heart.