‘The work of Yoga is 99% waste removal.” – T.K.V. Desikachar
by Michael Hewett, Founder Vessel Academy
When someone says they’re ‘in Flow’…what is that all about?
Many cultures across time/space speak about ‘flow state’ in different ways; how to enter it, sustain it, understand what pushes one out of flow & most importantly, how to quickly recover when it’s been lost.
‘Flow state’ is when we’re out of our own way, become an instrument of the divine will, & are like a hollow bone for a greater force to come through. It feels like a ‘high five’ from the universe. It’s the place beyond self-consciousness, doubt & toil. The impossible becomes possible & work becomes indistinguishable from our passion.
One of my favorite quotes of all time on this subject is ‘The work of Yoga is 99% waste removal.” – T.K.V. Desikachar. This speaks to the fact that Yoga/flow state is our pristine natural state just as our physical bodies are always present & couldn’t be otherwise! How ridiculous is it to ‘try & be present’ when our animal body is ALWAYS here/now!
So what’s actually in the way of the present moment?
Thoughts about the past/future/imagination (but they’re occurring in the present), strong cravings for the Given reality to appear other than it is (anxious about what we don’t have &/or avoidant/hostile towards what we do have) general dysregulation of our nervous system which, is the luminous connective frontier between consciousness & the body.
So what’s one of the fastest ways to recognize & rebalance a dysregulated nervous system quickly & effectively to recover flow state?
Pranayama – the fourth limb of Yoga.
‘Prana’ is the life force that animates our animals with electricity. The difference between the dead & the living is that one has energy & the other doesn’t! The dead have no energy to move about, circulate water, maintain heat, inspire breath or keep consciousness bound to the animal body.
Sometimes the pranic energy is too high, which may feel like being excited, agitated or simply having fun! When too low we could feel tired, lazy, depressed or simply grounded.
A grandmotherly piece of advice to dial into the frequency of ‘flow-state’ is to pause our activity & check in with ourselves, lengthen 3 full complete exhales, soften our eyes by opening our peripheral vision & internally consider if the level of energy is conducive for what we wish to accomplish.
Flow-state exists in the eye of the storm. In yoga-speak this is our sushumna nadi or, central channel. The still point around which our inner reality dances, tempting us to crave what we long for (raga) & craving for the irritations & annoyances to stop (dvesa)!
When our mind is whipped by the winds of craving, we cannot fathom the depth of our connection to All & are temporarily pushed out of flow-state.
Becoming sensitive to what this feels like over & over again inspires us to use the techniques we’ve learned to recover without taking it personally. Through practice our subtle body becomes the fulcrum to bring mind/body back into balance without losing precious time, irritating ourselves & causing trouble for those who cross our path.
At Mind Oasis, we believe in the power of meditation coupled with, well anything. But especially community and intention. Be sure to check out our signature program Community Meditation™ and see how your practice takes off when it gets consistent. We’re talking way more than feeling more calm and capable of dealing with life as it happens, we are talking about feeling the positive effects of your time on your cushion in every aspect of your life. Learn more here.
Interested in going deeper? Consider joining our annual Meditation Immersion.