A large part to finding optimal health is to come back to the fundamentals and understand our connection with nature. And if we align ourselves to nature and tap into the moments of life happening through us and around us we enhance the ability to enter states of consciousness know as flow states. These are hypo-active states in where our brain opens the capacity to sense the deeper relationship we have with our world. Not only does this state of consciousness accelerate learning, problem solving and connection to our surroundings, but these states open up the potential for stronger creative impulses and motivation.
So why would you want this in your life and how do you practice this? There are many ways we can enter this flow consciousness, such as through demanding environmental conditions where there may be some risks, or by cultivating the conditions with practice or through activities. We can enter these states without our knowing but with the right conditions and practice the state becomes a great tool to have access to. If you desire to optimize your mental capacity for greater processing then it may be something to pay attention to.
surfing and the practice of yoga.
A complete practice for integrating mind, body and spirit.
This state of flowing happens when we are in our optimal state of consciousness, present and focused, our sense of self dissolves and we enter a state beyond the normal flow of time. When this state is entered or created through body awareness practices such as yoga, we find the capacity to fine tune the placement of our body and shift our weight in different ways that during normal states of consciousness take a much longer time to change and even notice. This is an indispensable skill needed for surfing as most of the activity is strategic placement on the board and within the water. This is when developing a regular yoga practice or other mindfull movement technique becomes helpful. From the placement of your feet to the distribution of weight on the board, from the direction your shoulders face to the range of motion in your hips, the number of minute details needing attention demand nothing short of focus and full mental capacity. Yes the postures of yoga help develop and maintain mobility and strength for these dynamic movements but its the practice of breath control in combination with body awareness and movement which I find most powerful.
The power of presence
Anything that grabs your attention brings you into the present moment, the now, and add a little risk to the moment whether it be social or even physical risk, our attention and concentration deepens. Surfing is without a doubt a place for me to connect to this moment where I find vulnerability, humility and I am reminded how fragile we are in the larger picture. Upon entering the water I instantly feel the potential risk and relate that to the rewards of having some good rides. This practice then becomes an opportunity to let go of the challenges I face in life and reconnect to these larger currents of energy circulating the globe. These are the conditions which allow the release of the mundane and a recharging of the internal battery all from the focus and attention of positioning myself for a good ride.
How does this state of consciousness facilitate a deeper connection to our world and why does that matter?
Well, it sets the stage for our natural rhythms to come in. When we are in a rhythm, creativity comes through with much less effort and it becomes easier to let go of needing the external stimulus to make us happy. In contrary to this idea our culture has been creating constant distractions to keep us occupied and addicted to constant stimulus driving us out of this flow. Through practice we can break the mold our culture has been creating and tap into the larger picture of the natural world around us.
This connection can be found in many ways but for me submerging in water is a sure way for troubles and challenges to be released and dissolved. What practices for you bring your into this state of flow? What brings you out of it? Just like anything, the more we practice something, the more familiar it becomes. And when we identify what the triggers are we can begin to design experiences which allow us to practice and cultivate this much needed skill of optimizing our mental capacity.
With my passion for this subject combining the yoga practice and surfing, I designed a workshop Yoga Fundamentals for Surfing which combines the above mentioned ideas. I will be teaching this on Saturday, February 3 at Trilogy Sanctuary in La Jolla California. If you are in the southern California area you might just like what we will be exploring within this workshop. If not, I encourage you to look at what it is that drives your mental energy, where it tends to head.