Learn to live like a sloth

Mar 28, 2023

I was reminded this week of a book I was given a couple of years ago as a birthday gift – Sloth Yoga. I loved it before I even read a single page. Sloths doing yoga…what’s not to love?

My slothful soul

I’ve always been fond of sloths. They are the cute, goofy-looking weirdos of the jungle (I can relate) who have found contentment in a life less active. It’s strange then that these adorable arboreals are the namesake of one of the deadly sins; up there with its contemporaries like greed, lust, and envy. 

Being slothful in our world means being lazy. It’s the opposite of busy. But busy doesn’t mean productive. Busy is hustle. It’s that ‘must do more mentality’ which is burning us all out

Did you know sloths actually only sleep around 10 hours a day? Do a cheeky google search and it’ll spit out gems like sloths are world-class swimmers and scrappy little fighters when provoked. 

They’re not lazy, they are in fact remarkably well adjusted to their environment, choosing to live in harmony with the world around them. 

In a world dominated by the idea that busyness is somehow tied to self-worth the words of Bertrand Russell, author of the book In Praise of Idleness are all the more poignant. 

I want to say, in all seriousness, that a great deal of harm is being done in the modern world by belief in the virtuousness of work, and that the road to happiness and prosperity lies in an organised diminution of work.

Life is energy and energy flows like a river. You can relax and allow yourself to be pulled along or you can exhaust yourself swimming upstream until you eventually go under. How hard are you swimming right now? 

Check out: Easy self-care for real life for more tips on how to slow down

The forgotten pleasure of silence

I stayed overnight at a friend’s place recently. I noticed the hum of a fan in the bathroom next to my room as I lay in bed. When the fan finally clicked off the room was filled with silence. Delicious, all-pervading silence. 

How easily we adjust to the noise, realising how much we appreciate silence only when the noise stops.

Like my pleasure in the silence after the drone of the fan ended, stillness comes sharply into focus when obscured by the momentum of busyness

Yoga to me is like that blanket of silence that enfolded me when the sound ceased. 

There’s a sadness somehow, that in order to truly appreciate the beauty of slowing down, silence and stillness I have to push myself to almost breaking point in my pursuit of productivity. 

The culture we’ve created demands that you do more in order to have more and that makes you successful. When this is the message you’re exposed to each day it’s easy to see why you’re trapped on the hustle hamster wheel with no idea how to get off. 

More from the blog: Boredom – it ain’t all bad 

Learning to honour the spaces

How can we honour the space between the breaths that are so valuable?

The answer is simple. I invite you to come to the mat and do nothing. I want you to show up and take my class, sure but I also want you to chill like our friend the sloth. 

I’m not saying pull on your lazy pants and never move from your sofa again. A sedentary lifestyle does not offer health or happiness. 

What I am saying is to pump the brakes, learn to be content where you are. Relax in the perfect present and rejoice in the doing of nothing

Pause between your daily tasks, pause between the postures you experience on the mat, pause before you speak. There’s so much opportunity to slow and do nothing and even that doesn’t have to be done immediately. 

Take your cue from the sloths, they’ve got this living thing down.