When was the last time you entered a state of flow? Perhaps you've heard a different phrase with a similar meaning, like “getting in the zone” or “experiencing total immersion” or “zeroing in on a task” – or maybe you have no idea what the heck I'm talking about right now. If the latter is the case, no worries, you've come to the right place.
However they are worded, each phrase refers to a state of absolute presence, balance, engagement, and ease. All of which can be applicable to your daily life, as well as your asana and meditation practices. You know you've entered a flow state when you've become so immersed in the task at hand that you lose all concept of time, hunger, stress, etc. because you are so present with the moment. An example of when we see this is when a musician starts to really get into a song, or when an athlete zeroes in on their next move, or even when a chef is in the midst of preparing a meal. Once they begin to hit their stride in a way that appears almost effortless, we know they've entered a state of flow.
Perhaps you've experienced this in your own life? Think back to a time when you've completely lost yourself in an activity – whether the challenge was high or low. I know you have a memory somewhere in that beautiful mind of yours. Please note that you do not have to be engaging in a creative endeavor to experience flow. Flow state can occur when you're playing with your kids or even vacuuming the floor. Participating in activities that present a low level of challenge, but that you are highly skilled at, can be some of the most effect teachers when it comes to mastering flow.
So, with that said, have you found your memory yet?
For me, I can call to mind certain moments where I easily fell into flow while writing my current fantasy novel. I recall moments where I felt so creatively inclined that the words simply flowed – for lack of a better word – from my mind without a second thought. These were the days where I looked at the clock at 10 a.m. and the next thing I knew it was time for dinner. Crazy, right? I've found that the words written during times of flow are the most representative of my writing style and characters' voices, because that state of flow allowed me to fully capture the images in my mind and place them onto a page without interruption.
How about now?
At this point, you might be asking: Why is flow so important anyway? Some tasks have to get done whether we feel fluid or not, right? Absolutely. But training yourself to enter a flow state is important because when we rely on force and willpower to drive the task at hand, we can end up feeling drained, unmotivated, and unnerved. Whereas, when flow takes over, it allows the thinking mind to check out and take a break while your intelligence takes over. It drives us to a place of creativity and motivation, which can ultimately lead to a release of endorphins when it increases and elevates the feeling of productivity and success that we all crave.
Now, with that in mind, how do you think you can apply flow to your yoga practice – other than the obvious choice to simply take a Vinyasa flow class? There are many ways you can achieve this. Entering flow state during your asana practice can be as simple as allowing your breath to influence your movement, so much so that you no longer have to think about what comes next; your body recognizes that it needs to lengthen on the inhale and contract on the exhale. In flow, you can require little to no conscious thought to move from one position to the next because your body intelligence has fully linked to your mind intelligence, ignoring the chatter of anxious thought and proceeding without force.
In essence, “flow” and “yoga” are one in the same; the union of mind, body and spirit, all working together to experience what it means to be fully present. I hope you take some time today to immerse yourself in something that lights you up – something that fills your cup to the brim, so much so that you have no choice but to overflow with that same energy in every other task your tackle. Remember to hop on your mat if you're ever feeling stuck and/or need to release a bit of stagnation in the mind and body. Your personal practice is there to guide you, just as much as your teachers are. Tap in to your breath, listen to your body, and just FLOW.
To all the women and men who share their yogic journey with me, and all of us at Mountain Yoga Studio, know that we see only warriors posing before us, and we are so proud of each and every you.
Keep going. Keep thriving. Keep loving. Keep flowing.
1) School is almost back in session, which means it is nearly time to make the transition from summer to fall. We will be updating our schedule for the fall months very soon, so keep your eyes peeled and your mind open to the endless possibilities of your practice.
2) One of our newest teachers, and brightest yogis, Jessica Cenotti, has brought her vision to life and made some special goodies for all of your self care needs. Packed with nourishing essential oils, and wrapped in quality packaging, all of her Witch Doctor products can be found in the studio, with sample-goodies available for testing.
Stay up to date on our Mountain Yoga Studio Facebook Page for more information, or drop by the studio for a chat! Your mental and physical health are our top priority. Come hop on your mat to rediscover your light.