Go with the flow
“Flow is said to lift experience from the ordinary to the optimal, to a Zen-like state, and it’s precisely those moments that we feel truly alive and in tune with what we are doing” ~ Mark de Rond
Our Dailey Method word of the month for February is FLOW.
As we Align/Engage/Move (our primary alignment principles) and practice Stability/Space/Support/ Smile (our secondary alignment principles) we can deepen our practice by allowing for more FLOW. “FLOW” is about finding pleasure and enjoyment in our TDM practice, and in our lives, by keeping the energy fluid between actions or thoughts that otherwise could feel separate.
In his book Flow, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes flow as “optimal experience… The state in which people are so involved in an activity that nothing else seems to matter.” “Flow is important both because it makes the present instant more enjoyable, and because it builds the self-confidence that allows us to develop skills and make significant contributions to humankind.”
How do we tap the inner fire necessary for flow? And how do we practice “going with the flow” in our lives? Here are some ideas to help you find your own FLOW:
- FOCUS and FEEL – “Energy flows where intention goes”( ~ Author unknown). Be intentional about where and how you focus your energy. When people are in “flow” they are fully present in whatever activity they are doing. Time almost ceases to exist. Concentration is essential to focusing energy. In TDM practice, listen to your teacher for alignment, supports and cues, but also keep tuning-inward and trust your own body to feel where it should be or how to get there. Notice what is working and what your body needs each time you practice and honor that without getting stuck there. Allow presence in each moment as you move from one exercise or variation to the next. Stay awake and connected within. Practice inside-out. Feel yourself center in your focus.
- BREATHE and BE – See if you can find more FLOW in your breathing practice this month! When you soften and breathe, your foundation grounds, your body opens, and your energy flows more naturally. Your body systems regulate and perform optimally. Notice how your breathing and energy flow are connected. Appreciate where you notice energy flowing freely in your body and give extra attention and love to any areas where you feel “stuck”. Breathe deeply into stuck areas, focusing on release and flow. Allow movement to flow with breath.
- CHALLENGE and TRUST – To “go with the flow” can sound passive – but it doesn’t have to be. We can balance will and acceptance. We can practice bringing our best, and then release our ideas about “how that will go” or play out in any situation. We can CHALLENGE ourselves to expand – growing our comfort zones – and at the same time TRUST that our bodies and our lives will take us exactly where we are meant to go. In this way, our physical practice becomes a life practice as we work in class to BALANCE effort and ease & strength and softness. Allow for setbacks. Allow for obstacles. Sometimes “going with the flow” may mean taking a leap to get around something or diving head first. Flow like a river; and control the flow with your attention and intention. Building on our Word of the Month from January, can you keep your inner FIRE, as you FLOW like water? Soft, strong, and fluid.
One of my favorite ways to cultivate a FLOW practice during Dailey Method classes is to experience “THE DAILEY DANCE.” Every class should be a flow of presence, concentration, breath and movement. This dance is created by all participating – teachers and students – and it changes every day based on exercises, music, mood and what each of us brings to the dance. Every hour spent in class should be an opportunity for you to flow your way into a more centered, balanced, *radiant* you.
Go boldly with the flow! Be like water.
~ Jill & Lorna
“Water is the softest thing, yet it can penetrate mountains and earth. This shows clearly the principle of softness overcoming hardness” ~ Lao Tzu