How to get out of your head and into your flow

Today’s thought is on ways our mind stops us from achieving during our practice. I was going into an arm balance in class a few days ago and couldn’t figure out why a pose I had done several times successfully before was giving me so much trouble. Later it occurred to me that I was tired during class that day and I did fall out of the pose once before I was even able to hold it for a few seconds. That one failure messed with my head and my confidence in a way that I didn’t recognize at the moment and I let it make me question whether or not I would ever continue to improve in the pose or if I should just give it up. My mind went down a trail of negativity so easily, and I think in general we are more likely to naturally put ourselves down than encourage. While I don’t think there’s a 12 step process to fixing this, I think there are a few things we can do to facilitate a positive practice where we encourage ourselves to improvement.

Prepare your mind

We have to prepare our minds for the transition from home practice to studio practice. In my case, I was practicing in extreme heat something I had learned and practiced in a much cooler environment: my house. I also had not practiced getting into the pose quickly and that caused me to fall out of it in class where I previously had not. If I wanted to incorporate the pose into my practice, I would have to adjust the way I practiced at home.

Is it right for the moment?

The next decision to be made was, does it actually make sense for me to attempt an arm balance in the middle of a vinyasa flow class? In this class the teacher does pause to allow us to take inversions or arm balances if we wish and we are given four or five breaths to do this. However, the way I prefer to practice my arm balances is much slower than that (10 breaths in a pose is short in my practice). I was setting myself up for failure and negativity by not allowing my body what it needed to do the movement and feel good about the movement. That was a great indication that it wasn’t right for me to do the balances in class at this point in my journey

Be kind to yourself

When we push our bodies in a way that invites negativity and doubt, we miss the point of our practice. We should be realistic with ourselves and our abilities and prepare the mind to accept a new set of circumstances. We should allow ourselves to go through a flow that may seem simpler than what we are accustomed to in order to be able to listen more closely to our bodies and our breath. Only by acknowledging our limitations, accepting them then working through them will we be able to get out of our heads and truly appreciate our flow.

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