Flow states in Yoga June 2023

Flow is a concept of psychology, emphasising concentration, full immersion in an activity, and a transformation in one’s sense of time while so doing. If we think about nature, flow is everywhere. Water, possibly more than anything else, is associated with flow. Any movement like wind, the movement of the sun across the sky and the seasons can be associated with flow on a micro or macro level. Some additional corollaries of flow are harmony, enjoyment, and productivity. We could think of ancient cultures, tied to the rhythms of life, as living largely in the flow.

Its pretty easy to access a flow state in a good yoga class, particularly if you are familiar with the style of the teacher. There will be parts of the class that are familiar and you can switch off your mind and just flow. Parts of the class will challenging and all the time you will be encouraged to go inward, turn off the monkey mind and just enjoy this dedication of time to your yoga and yourself, staying in the flow.

A person is in a state of flow when they are totally immersed in a task. When a person is “in flow,” they may not notice time passing, think about why they are doing the task, or judge their efforts. Instead, they remain completely focused. A flow state can be reached in even of the most mundane of activities and many of the Buddhist philosophies have talked about living in a flow state for millennia. They call it mindfulness.

Flow states are highly desirable by top performers, athletes, musicians, artists and think tanks. When people and groups are in a flow state, innovation and invention emerge. So how do we access a flow state quickly? Well start by avoiding anti-flow activities like social media and the noise on your phone. Distracted by other peoples thoughts, actions, and responses to what you say or do, you give away your focus and your power.

Set your intentions and narrow down your goals to just few to achieve that task. Flow doesn’t just happen by accident. It’s often quite intentional and something that we seek out again and again.  If you hit a roadblock for one goal, flow into the other task. See the goal setting as a process, not a destination. Keep an eye on the time without worrying about it. Flow will always change our perception of time to some degree. But it’s important to continuously ground yourself and set approximate goals and keep track of how much time you’re willing to spend on each task.

And accessing flow states gets better with practice. The more you learn to drop into the flow, be it in yoga, gardening, or painting,the more this state will become your way of life.

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