Should We Always Be in Flow?

Should We Always Be in Flow?

Flow Performance Skills Sports Tips and Training

Flow is a place where external and internal elements align to create a state of peak performance. Purely by definition it is impossible to always be in flow.

For some, flow is an elusive state of being that they may have experienced once in their lifetime. It all happened so fast, was so blissful and almost indescribable in nature. And somehow it has been impossible to get back into. Often in these cases, it was pure luck that the necessary ingredients were available to create a flow state in that person. So in some ways you could argue that on a population level, flow is a statistically rare event. But it not to say that we can t be in flow more often using the concepts applied through The Flow Centre.

Everyone goes through cycles of expansion and contraction. Taking a close look at your day I m sure you can pinpoint the times you are the most alert, most active, and most productive. You could also pinpoint the times you feel more relaxed and calm. The same cycles appear on a weekly level where you might feel different on a Monday compared to a Friday. Now consider the seasonal changes in your state of mind. Winter is different from summer. These are all part and parcel of the normal ebbs and flows of life. Hence it not a reality to expect flow all the time, but we can definitely increase our chances by creating the most optimal platform during those times our mind naturally expands.

Using concepts from The Flow Centre it is possible to do two things. First is to increase the number of opportunities to access flow by creating the conditions to cultivate it. The second is to maximise the number of times we enter flow by seizing these opportunities when they present themselves.

So do we always want to be in flow?

As a flow seeker and a person who also seeks balance in life, for me personally the answer is no. For me, flow is an amazing state of being that is a very important component to a fulfilling life. It is these peak experience, which give life purpose and meaning. But at the same time I value and understand the importance of down time.

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We all need time to recharge, centre, and collect our energy. In fact this is a huge component to creating the foundations of flow. If our minds and bodies are constantly drained of energy, how could we expect to enter peak performance states? Part of the balance is to nurture important parts of life including relationships, physical health, emotional health, career and personal goals. This takes down time. It ok to cycle through periods of contraction. Often it important to let nature take its course and allow the process to happen. Consider these times as the foundations for your next expansion, which you can use as a launching pad to get more flow down the line.

 

In summary, getting caught up and anxious that we might not be feeling 100% all the time is counter productive. Expand, contract, and join us at The Flow Centre to get more flow in your life.

 

 

joos-small Aucamthor: Dr Joos Meyer – Flow Seeker
Editor: Cameron Norsworthy – Performance Director

 

Extreme Exercise and Flow   Stop Thinking and Plug into the Moment.

Extreme Exercise and Flow Stop Thinking and Plug into the Moment.

Flow Performance Skills Sports Tips and Training

Tapping into flow is addictive. Thousands of people around the world are hunting it down day-after-day without even understanding what they are searching for. This is part of the reason The Flow Centre exists: to explore the different ways people tap into flow and use this to generate the body of knowledge to allow anyone anywhere to access its power. This article is about extreme exercise and how this can be an entry point into flow.

Not everyone has accessed flow through exercise before. It definitely not easy and takes both physical and mental training to achieve. Flow in athletics is commonly referred to as the zone or peak performance . For events such as marathons, bike races, triathalons and Ironmans, flow is accessed through the extreme stresses put on the body. If you have taken The Flow Centre course you will understand that part of the break down of our mental states is when we engage in fight, flight or freeze responses during pressured scenarios; as opposed to adopting flow. These pressured scenarios and responses we choose to adopt are as applicable in the extreme exercise realm as any.

plank

 

There are a number of mental hurdles that occur as you go through progressively more intense phases of exercise. I ve experienced this myself and have occasionally accessed flow states. The times that I have were absolute bliss, which is part of the reason I am addicted to, and passionate about bringing intensity to sport. Lets go through the barriers that exist before you even get close to achieving flow or the zone though exercise.

 

Fitness first

A huge part of being healthy and active is physical fitness. You hear it every day and know it well. But flow is the next level reason for why you should get fit. Without a baseline level of fitness it will be impossible to traverse beyond the first barrier of exercise and flow. The first barrier is the initial physical discomfort of training. As you train, your brain is getting massive amounts of input. It is continuously processing our experiences in order to make the next decision. Breathing right, moving right, fatigue, muscle soreness are all part of the package of neural input your brain is processing. If it’s new to you, the initial physical discomfort will dominate your mind. All you will be able to think is when is this going to be over , how much more do I have to do , or I want to stop . This is all a normal part of getting into shape. This first barrier is unfortunately where 80% of the population stops. We are evolutionarily wired to take the path of least resistance so it only natural to expect that most people stop here. Hence the constant on and off phases of exercise, diets and fads that people go through.

 

For those who are lucky enough to persist and get past this phase and gain a baseline level of fitness, a multiple or further physical barriers will present themselves. These barriers are where athletes might believe that they are not capable of anything beyond this point. However. these hurdles are actually more mental than physical. The human body is capable of amazing things but mental barriers must be pushed through to achieve them. Each time a new mental barrier presents itself you are faced with a few different options. Fight, flight, freeze or flow. Only through practice and persistence will you be able to choose flow more often; assuming we already have the necessary fitness required to complete the task.

 

After pushing through a number of these fatigue barriers and experiencing a number of second winds your mind becomes more engaged in the moment. Higher centres for conceptualising and planning are no longer important so they are shut off. The priority becomes getting through the current circumstance or event so extreme presence and flow is accessed.

 

Tips to finding your flow in exercise:

  • Look for extreme pressure/intensity in your exercise as a way to plug you into flow
  • Actively choose flow over fight, flight and freeze. Do so using a simple exercises that plugs you into the moment. Focus on your breath.
  • Make sure your fitness is above adequate for the task
  • Look for flow through all your exercises
  • Know your body first, then push your limits. When the body says stop keep going. Do this gradually to avoid injury.

So there you have it. Find your flow through exercise. Push through the barriers and choose flow over flight, fight, or freeze responses though practice and perseverance.

 

joos-small Aucamthor: Dr Joos Meyer – Flow Seeker
Editor: Cameron Norsworthy – Performance Director

 

Flow Training – Rich Environment – Awe

Performance Skills Tips and Training Videos

We know that experiencing a rich environment is one of the primary triggers to flow, so for those that are not in the wilderness or experiencing awe form your surroundings, then here is a video to help you get there from your living room. The more we fill our lives and our minds with these almost shocking environments, the more we allow flow to enter our lives, so watch it as often as you can! Make sure your sound is on, and activate full-screen HD for the full experience.

 

This magical short was filmed over the course of seven days at El Teide, Spain highest mountain. It is a famous location and renowned as one of the best places in the world to film the stars and see our beautiful skyline. BIG RESPECT and THANKS!

 

Experience Flow Now

Flow Tips and Training Videos

Thanks to FGP and Red Bull Media House, we have a short video designed specifically to help people experience flow. It has been created to help watchers engage in the moment, as it flips form slow mo to fast pace action sports bringing us into the now.

What to do?

Watch the movie, whilst being aware of your senses. Imagine being the athlete, as you seek out every detail, sound, and movement. Allow yourself to become completely immersed in the movie as if you were there, looking through the eyes of the athlete. Engage, observe and experience. Your flow sensation might be small on your’Richter Scale’ but the more familiar we become in experiencing flow on minute levels, the more flow starts to occur in our lives.

Enjoy!

The Art of Flow from Flow Genome Project on Vimeo.

It is important to acknowledge the building blocks of confidence. Confidence doesn’t just happen randomly one day, it is built over time with experience. It has a foundation full of building blocks that we have consciously, or unconsciously put in place. This exercise takes a closer look at these blocks and gives us a structure we can use to build confidence when we want.

Write down a list of what you do really well in your performance.
Imagine a scenario where you are really confident. What does it look like? Let’s turn this state into a goal. Write down this goal as an outcome.

Now write down a list of smaller steps you believe you need to have, feel, do, see, believe in order to reach this state/goal. These steps must all be in your control and not affected by external circumstances.

Continue reading

 

As we become more aware of our breath and deepen the in-breath and out-breath, we help deepen the mind body connection. To help this process visualise your breath as it moves in and out of your body. Start by becoming aware of where the air normally goes.

Does it go into your upper chest or maybe you breath air into your stomach? Practise sucking in air deep into your stomach until it’s full then allow the air to slowly fill up the lungs from the bottom up until there is no space left except the throat and mouth. Once these areas have been filled, slowly start releasing the air out in reverse order.

Keep practising this lengthening the breath every time. As you spend time lengthening your breath, you awareness will begin to go everywhere and anywhere. Where possible stay disciplined and keep focusing on the breath.

Simply be aware of what is happening inside your body and outside your body during the breath. Staying present to the moment or ‘now’, is a valuable tool in any circumstance. After much practise you can use this tool to anchor yourself to the present in a matter of seconds.

 

For more info please get in touch or purchase our book on flow.

 

 

 

Find an anchor you can use to remind your self to have fun and play. Whether it is jumping up and down like a chicken or doing an impression of the cartoon character, Tasmanian devil, find your own meaningful anchor that you can quickly do in 20 seconds or so, that physically and mentally shakes you up, changes your state and gives you a clean canvass to play from.

Its that simple, give it a go!

 

For more info please get in touch or purchase our book on flow.

Getting into Trance for Flow

Getting into Trance for Flow

Tips and Training

 

Simply follow the following directions:

Make yourself comfortable either sitting or standing and focus on one small area out in front of you. Pick a spot that is above eye level. Maybe this is a small section on a wall or a tree outside, whatever you choose make sure it doesn’t move. Focus in on this one area, finding new detailed information the longer look. Keep your eyes on this one spot, staying fox all the time gaining as much information as used on the small detail you can see. Over a couple of minutes allow you vision to become very tunnelled as you go smaller and smaller, slowly becoming more and more aware of the detail in this small single point. When you have been transfixed on this one area for a couple of minutes, whilst keeping your eyes transfixed on this one spot, allow your periphery vision to widen. Start to see what is to the left and right of the spot you are staring on and keep widening you periphery vision until you can see the floor in front of you.

This is essentially what happens during our performances when we are focused on the task at hand whether that is looking at a tennis ball or our partners arm as we perform a complex dance move. We maintains fixed focus point, yet our periphery pick sup all the detail the body needs to know to do what it is doing. In examples see on the ball of playing tennis, whilst the focal point is focused on the ball, the periphery is taking in vital information such as how far away the net is, where the opponent is moving, where the line we are aiming for is positioned, and so on. The subconscious is busy digesting and adapting to this new information, so we can make the best shot available to us.

As take in the new visual information in your periphery, start to become aware of your other senses. Maybe, you can feel the wind against your face, the clothes against your skin, or the ground beneath your feet or bottom. Maybe you can hear noises around you both close and far aware. Allow all your senses to become heightened as you become fully connected to the moment. Turn up the senses like you turn up the volume button on a remote control. Become fully engaged as you experience the now, just as it is. Stay in this space for as long as you can, raining your mind to stay connected to the moment experiencing it without the grip of the conscious mind.

You may start to notice thoughts come in and out of your otherwise clear mind. When they do simply acknowledge them and let the flow out, as you would a leaf that floats past you in the wind. Simply be aware of them, and let the leave as quick as it came. Simply focus on connecting your senses to the moment. See if you can feel what is happening behind you, to the sides of you, below you and above you. Allow you presence to be all around you, almost as if I it exists outside of your body.

The above practice normally elicits a slight state of trance, a light state of hypnosis, our gateway to flow. The more we practice getting in and out of these states, the more we become aware of trance states already existing in our day to day lives. These trance states are very similar to the light trance states we experience when driving a car on auto pilot, or loosing time when we are engulfed in surfing the internet. We are doing what may seem a simple task without the conscious interference of stress, fear or other conscious thoughts. We do these task without ego and self image, we simply do them just as we breath, or pump blood round our body. Trance, like flow, has no identification with the ego, it does not dwell in the realm of the conscious mind, it simply exists and functions effortlessly and incredible efficiently, just as we want all our performances to be.

 

For more info please get in touch or purchase our book on flow.

 

 

Believe in Yourself – Tips & Training

The next time you have a match or performance and you start to doubt yourself, think of the incredible innate ability that already exists inside.

  1. Replay past successful performances where you played at your best.
  2. Replay only the most powerful of these experiences.
  3. Replay the memory looking through the eyes of the performer (not looking at yourself from a 3rd person’s perspective)
  4. Soak up the emotion of how you felt and replay the movie again and again until the movie seems real
  5. Should the doubt surface again, simply back yourself and replay the movie until it has gone.

Once this vivid movie has helped you dissolve any doubt, create a title and front cover (dvd) to the move. In the future repeating the title to yourself and imagining the front cover may be all you need to ‘back yourself’.

Once the above process has worked on several occasions, find another experience and repeat the above, creating 2 or 3 movies that will may work in different situations. Feel free to change or customise the experience, emotion or detail, to achieve the outcome you need in order to ‘back yourself’.

Note:

  • The above task may take an hour initially. As you become more familiar with replaying the past experience this whole process can carried out in 10 seconds.
  • The brain understand and learns best from images, so the more intense the movie is the greater the effect.
  • The more you can practise this task, the more established the mind body connections will become. This process literally reestablishes old connections and allows you to be at your best.
  • If the one memory is not working or you are finding a block to reaching the associated feelings, change the experience to another past experience where you have surprised yourself or played your best.

 

For more info please get in touch or purchase our book on flow.