It’s a common word you’ll hear in Pilates and Yoga. So what does this mean in Pilates? In training it is emphasized over and over how important it is to seamlessly move from one exercise to the next. To flow. We are taught that each exercise should have a definitive starting and end point. The transition from one exercise to the next should connect. The more I teach and practice, the more I understand this principle. Pilates should be smooth and steady in all of its movements. No jerking and no fast movement. Unless you’re on the jump board. Pilates was created for dancers, so ultimately, think of it as a dance. A smooth one of course!
Everything in Pilates can be easily translated into our daily life. What does it mean when someone says “flow through life”? It means that they are able to handle life’s changes and transitions easier, with grace and ease. When you learn how to transition exercises smoothly, your brain begins learning how to do this through every action in your life. That’s why many people who take Pilates feel better in their daily lives and feel out of balance when they skip their practice.
I know for certain that when I don’t practice some sort of Pilates, equipment, mat, or standing, everything feels off. I haven’t practiced in awhile and today I went back to a yoga class (I do Pilates M/W/F and yoga T/Th) and I cannot even tell you how off my entire balance was. I felt like I was going back to my first time in class where I had no idea what I was doing.
I have to stay consistent in my practices. I can tell you just from me how important routine is with this. I have had a rough couple of months and my entire body felt off. Along with my mind. That’s why Pilates emphasizes a mind/body connection. Problems still occur in life, as we all know they can’t be prevented, but I am able to deal with them a lot more gracefully when I am practicing Pilates. Flow doesn’t mean easiness. Flow means adaptation.
I have learned to take things less personally and realize that not everything is about me. Sometimes the other person might just be having a bad day. I’ve also become a lot more lenient when things don’t go as planned in my hand written calendar. Yes, I have a handwritten calendar still! Hand/brain connection. It’s very real for me! It used to really bother me when something in life came up and threw off my entire day. Now? I know that there will be other times to get things done. My laundry can wait until another time in the day or even tomorrow. I do still love my lists, but I have learned to “flow” through the curve balls life loves to hand out! Oh I still get ticked off and sad at times, but I bounce back a lot faster than I used to. Flow creates resilience. Flow requires 100% commitment to the moment you’re in because if you’re not committed, things can go wrong. But on the other side, when you are fully committed to the moment, you might also experience more enjoyment and joy. We find true flow anytime that we are fully immersed in something.
Finding flow in everything we do is imperative. Work, play, exercise…everything. So if you’re finding less flow in life, it might be time to re-evaluate what you are doing and if it really works for you. Figure out what will help you to flow a little more easily. Set goals, make lists and decide why you are doing what you are doing. And when you are feeling your flow is out of whack? Consider getting involved in something that will help you live in the moment. Call on friends, volunteer, work, come in and do Pilates… Just do something to get you back into the present moment. That seems to be where we all find our ultimate flow!
Whatever you do, do it with love, happiness and joy. That makes all things better!