When the flow state embraces you, it feels AMAAAAAZING! Here’s How to Feel It!
At one point my world became very focussed on monkey bars. Both my kids were discovering the delights and challenges of mastering them.
I must have I watched about two hundred different children doing different monkey bars. Their faces are delightful to watch. Eyes wide-wide open and gaze uplifted, searching for that next bar. Momentum powered, mouths agape, tongues out, often cutely to the left.
Their focus always beautiful to witness as those monkey bars demanded all their strength, co-ordination and courage.
When I think of their complete absorption in the present moment, and their ecstatic feelings on successful completion, it makes me think of my aerial classes and how we help our grown-ups master their own kind of monkey bars.
I love helping my aerial students get into their own state of flow for one very simple reason:
I know that when you can achieve that flow state on a regular basis THEY WILL FEEL HAPPIER.
In positive psychology the concept of flow states became popular thanks to research by Mihaly Csikszentmihályi and his colleagues. The flow state is an experience of deep focus and rapture while you are performing an activity.
This experience where you have full involvement and enjoyment of the activity is also known as ‘BEING IN THE ZONE’. It’s a pleasurable state where you have complete absorption and time flies.
You might already have your own regular special ‘thing’ you do which is conducive to the state of flow.
You can experience flow many places: During study, at work, while playing music, making love or playing sport. You also experience it during certain exercise and that’s where we can help you.
There are some ingredients to promote GETTING INTO THE ZONE.
First, you want to choose something that is enjoyable to you.
You’ll need to allow a little time to get into the state of flow too. It might take 15 minutes to achieve it. So it can’t be anything that is super high intensity. That’s what the centring and warm up blocks are about in the aerial classes we teach. Students start to focus and limber up without being overly challenged. It’s where a confidence exuding teacher helps too as the students can relax into things.
Flow Lies Between Too Easy and Too Hard
Next, it’s about tinkering to find the right level of challenge for your own skill in that activity.
This is because the flow state sits right between a certain arousal and the sense of being in control. If the challenge is too hard then your lack of control will create rising anxiety which will deflect away any ecstatic flow state.
If the activity is too easy and boredom or apathy will result so the required arousal will dissipate. It needs to be an activity that requires complete concentration so that all those other everyday mundane thoughts switch off.
In Aerial your challenge level will be linked to your experience, both as a teacher and a student. If you are a new teacher or student of aerial you may not enter flow as readily as those more experienced because your skill level isn’t high enough just yet. Think back to when you learnt to drive a manual (stick shift) car. Remember, you had to combine one foot easing on the accelerator as the other foot eased off the clutch. At the same time, one hand might be shifting gears and the other hand switching the indicator on. Remember when you learnt that, it felt clunky. You probably felt awkward. It might not have been a lot of fun. The level of challenge during that learning period was more than your skill level at that time. It can be like that with some aerial moves in the beginning. When a few things need to happen simultaneously, you tend to stay in ‘’technical brain’ because you are still on your learner’s licence! But with repetition, everything feels smoother and therefore more enjoyable. And then the flow state can come mor readily. Despite this, what you may still notice regardless of skill level is how quickly sense of time flies when you teach. This is because you get so absorbed in the moment for the whole time. And there is a sense of flow with that that also feels great!
- Aerial routines that feature certain repeated patterns will help create that flow state. You want the moves to require a little energy, focus and co-ordination (like the kids on the monkey bars!). Repeating patterns, even if a little demanding, gives students confidence so they know what to expect. Aerial flow sequences could be a perfect platform for you to find your state of flow.
- Yoga is well known to score high in flow rankings when compared to other sports activities in general. Aerial yoga combines the beauty of yoga with the challenge of aerial so it can herald in a flow state. Plus, yoga practices are ideal for their ego melting abilities.
- Self-consciousness will stop you achieving the flow state. The idea is that when doing your chosen practice you need to lose self-consciousness so your ego state softens. Then your fear of failure melts away and you can easily slip into delightful flow. This means as an aerial teacher you want to go low on ego and high on support.
- Aerial movements where you commune with the beat of good music can help. As a teacher you aim to cleverly keep your students in their comfort zone of manageability so they feel masterful, with just the right amount of challenge so they go into flow.
- There is something specific about aerial that shortcuts you into flow states! There is just something amazing about the zero compression inversions which involve that special mix of letting go of control yet holding on that promotes the flow state. Plus there is the flood of happy hormones through your body seems to shifts people into amazing flow state – It’s more than a little magical!
- The rocking and swaying when students rest in cocoon at the end of their aerial class is like a short cut to entering a delicious flow state. Time really does fall way and a ten minute relaxation can become timeless.
I would love to hear your thoughts on how aerial helps you find your flow!
If you need any help choosing a training path forward for you, don’t hesitate to contact me so we can talk on zoom. Click on this link to connect. I would love to hear from you!