Updated: Sep 4, 2019
On Tuesday nights I attend a yoga class, taught in German. It has been a special ritual for me as it has become a place I can go to feel grounded and find a sense of familiarity. Before my first class, I was nervous that I wouldn't be able to follow along without being a total disturbance to everyone else. Luckily, with the help of Sanskrit and the occasional English cues that my lovely instructor translated for me, I was able to follow along pretty well.
However, contrary to what I originally thought, not knowing what she was saying was actually extremely rewarding. Each week, the language barrier actually allows me to access a new aspect of my intuition and move with the class through intuitive cues rather than words.
At the beginning of each class, the instructor describes a theme for the class. This week, the class fell on a German national holiday, German Unity Day, which commemorates the day that West Germany and East Germany reunited to create one country in 1990. Naturally, our class theme followed suite and we began the session with an intention of unity; in particular, unity between mind and body.
As we moved through different sequences, both planned and free style, the teacher encouraged us to to find "flow", which she defined as the unification between mind and body. Our goal for the class was to find moments where we didn't let the mind lead the body by thinking about our next move, but rather, let the mind and body move together, in unison.
In addition to finding flow in class, she also encouraged us to find flow off the mat. She shared with us a technique for finding more flow in our daily lives, which starts by recalling a moment where you have found flow - perhaps while writing, painting, or even working. This would be a moment or period of time when you felt like your mind and body worked together seamlessly; when all the puzzle pieces seem to fall into place; perhaps when you’ve felt especially creative or productive. Then ask yourself, “How did your body feel in that moment?”. How do you know you were in a "flow"? Next, recall a time when you did not feel flow. How did your body feel then? What was different?
For me, I often find flow through writing. When I’m in the zone, I can write fluidly and organically and enter a space where time just zooms by around me. It’s feels like a sort of euphoria. When I do not have flow, I notice anxiety creep into my body; my chest gets tight, I feel frustrated and I find it difficult to find clarity in certain situations.
When you can identify between having flow and not having flow within your own mind/body connection, you can encourage flow to happen more frequently. If we allow flow to happen more often, we can avoid over-analyzing or becoming overly-emotional, and rather, more efficiently utilize all of the powerful resources that the mind and body offer us. More so, if we find unity within ourselves, perhaps we can also find unity between us and our surroundings; with other people, with nature, and with any given situation we are faced with.
Where do you find flow in your life? What does that feel like for you? Leave a comment below!