Finding Flow - By: Brynn Scally
The word FLOW as a vinyasa yoga teacher feels a bit cliché. The yoga world, like in all areas of life, gets saturated with certain words that often start to lose their meaning once you have heard them too many times and in too many contexts. There is a lot of repetition in yoga. In my first few years of teaching, unknowingly bringing my type A mind frame onto my mat, I thought that in order to be a good teacher I needed to somehow re-invent or be unique. I needed to give my students the unique new class they hadn’t experienced before, a new “flow” or choreography they would think was great. It took until recently for me to find the true beauty in the concept of “flow”. I feel I have evolved into a teacher that can be in the “flow” of letting the poses we have repeated over and over in this 5,000 year old practice, be the teacher. The healing in this practice of yoga comes from repetition. The repetition of movements and the revisiting of postures over and over call to the practitioner to constantly re-examine feeling, to revisit sensation until it turns to ritual and in ritual we find spirit. I have learned to soften and flow with the waves of a practice that speaks for itself, as a teacher I’m simply inviting others to float with me.
In recent years (I’m proud to say), with the help of yoga and age, I have been able to feel and tap into a real flow off my mat with my friendships and marriage. I’ve learned to stay open for the flow and exchange of thoughts and feelings, riding the waves when they are peaking and not hardening up when they crash. This past week I find myself reflecting on how to find my “flow” in the midst of a new and unchartered amount of upheaval in my life. The upheaval feels like a tidal wave, maybe because it came upon me so fast. This wave is frothing with an angst that feels fresh to me, though I know many women among me and before me have felt it. Within the state of the world right now I am facing the journey of having children leave for college and have a life of their own, my female body changing with the age that I am, and a life threatening personal crisis of someone close to me. How do I soften and let go enough to flow and find a rhythm in this? I don’t know the exact right answer, but am examining what has brought me into “flow” in those other areas of my life.
Learning to soften and breath while my physical body is challenged on my mat has been my greatest teacher. Once in a while in a class you find this beautiful spark of harmony where breath and movement create a synergy that allows a feeling of floating through sensations as they arise. The key is the same as in swimming class when we learned to float, we soften and breath. With past struggles I learned to notice when the edges seem hard, when the mind is creating the boxes of right and wrong. I found a rhythm during those times, rhythm practiced into ritual. I found spirit in waking in the morning and checking the seeds I planted, feeding my pets, cooking dinner. And then (here is the hard one for me) I had to learn to receive. I found that relationship flow took a long time for me because of my resistance to receiving. To learn to soften into a hug and really feel it. Feel loved. As I write this I am aware that perhaps someone may want to reach out to me in response, I will try to be open. My slow practice of learning to receive takes patient volunteers.
As I start on this new journey in my life I am reminding myself that there will be a lot of feeling like I am drowning, there’s no escaping it. But as I look toward the future I know that I will need to start over with what is already known. I will need to revisit again and again what I’ve already learned. I will need to move through motions again and again until they become familiar, they become rituals and take part in a new sacred flow.