Yoga give us a space and time to journey to the simplicity of breath and movement and connecting with ourselves. ~ Jill Conyers
What does it mean to live in flow?
Flow is often described as a mental state where people experience complete immersion in an activity. It’s where things seem to happen almost effortlessly and time seems to disappear while in this state. Athletes often refer to this state of mind as being “in the zone.” In yoga we might refer to this state as being “in the moment.”
So how do we find our flow or allow ourselves to be ‘in the moment’ on the mat?
If we strip away expectation, attachment & at times resistance then we are left with a pure connection with ourselves. Release any expectation you have of yourself, or your perceived expectation of what anyone else might have of you, and simply move on your mat with an awareness of what your body truly needs. This is what is meant when we say “leave your ego at the door as you step on the mat.”
Simply put, move into a pose not because the person next to you is or because the teacher has suggested it and you feel compelled, but because it will benefit your body & mind in that moment. The true challenge is discerning when you’re actually listening to your body or when you’re giving in to the chatter in the mind.
For many of us experiencing that deep connection with ourselves, that allows us to truly understand what our body needs is continuously a work in progress. It’s both challenging & frustrating, but ultimately liberating & empowering when achieved. Unfortunately we live in a society where it’s easy to be told what we need, what we should do and how we should feel. It’s because of this lack of connection that there is a huge trend towards ‘mindfulness’, which believe it or not is not a new concept.
This is why yoga is so powerful.
“Yoga is about clearing away whatever is in us that prevents our living in the most full and whole way. With yoga, we become aware of how and where we are restricted — in body, mind, and heart — and how gradually to open and release these blockages. As these blockages are cleared, our energy is freed. We start to feel more harmonious, more at one with ourselves. Our lives begin to flow — or we begin to flow more in our lives.” ~ Cybele Tomlinson
Yoga is all about connection.
Every time we step on the mat we’re asked to let go of outside distractions, including the ones we bring with us, and connect with our body and breath. In fact, typically it’s the first suggestion your yoga teacher will make at the beginning of class, to take a moment to let go of your day and arrive both physically and mentally on your mat. Then you’ll take the take the time to focus on the breath before moving into the body.
Drawing ones attention to a single pointed focus is one of the most effective ways to deepen a connection. It is why yoga nidra techniques where we draw attention to individual parts of our body works so well to promote relaxation. When we have greater awareness of ourselves we are better able to listen to the subtle messages we receive. When we can listen to the messages we receive through our body, we are better able to discern what the needs of our body are.
In short, by stripping back the distractions and expectations we bring with us to the mat, we are able to find a deeper connection with our body and breath. When we achieve this deeper connection we can listen to the messages our body gives us to discern what we truly need from our practice. Herein lies the path to finding your flow, experiencing yoga that is truly in the moment.
As I said, for many of us this is always a work in progress. Letting go of distractions and expectations is not that simple, particularly when life generally revolves around these distractions and expectations on an daily basis.
‘Go with the flow’ does not mean you disengage from life and just see what happens. It means that you fully engage with what is here and now and what you feel you are being called to do. It means dance with the flow, and as a partner in that dance you are equally in charge of that next step. ~ Brendon Burchard
If we can find our flow on the mat, we can apply those same principles to life.
When we can let go of distractions and expectation we allow ourselves to be more ‘in the moment’ and better able to discern what we truly need or resonate with.
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