Many believe that hard work pays off, and perhaps it does, but we are going to look at leveling up our flow arts with a new perspective: Consistency and maintaining composure. When we are learning flow arts, which is essentially an arrangement of new motor skills, the nervous system is going to get a major work out. When we lose our composure, break down in frustration and quit practicing, this is when we are no longer flowing with our flow but rather resisting it, making it harder than necessary.
Here are some tips to avoiding conflict with yourself and this new extension of your body (aka, your prop):
Sure, you may have been wowed before at someone spinning fire poi REALLY fast, but it does not last. When we add too much energy to our prop and try to show off, even if we succeed a few times inevitably failure comes in with great humility (often as a blow to the head or genitalia). Muscle memory builds faster the slower our movements. Our awareness grows with a steady observation of what we are doing. Eventually, we can perform tricks effortlessly and then we can begin to pick up the pace and wow ourselves and our audience with ease.
Stop holding your breath
Your muscles and bodily tissues have a hard time expanding and adapting to your new motor skills when they are suffocating. Humans without a regular breathing practice discovered through meditation, yoga or other form of inner study (do reach out to me if you need some lessons) will hold their breath for even the simplest of tasks. As we invest less in our breath, the life force energy we are fundamentally depend on decreases, and with it goes our capacity to think clearly, feel good emotions and even keep the physical body moving as desired. I cannot stress this enough: breathe more. Stretch out your lungs and give yourself regular reminders to focus on your breath, if only for a moment. I guarantee that your flow arts will become much easier and more enjoyable.
Do NOT push it
Celebrate your small victories with small to large breaks. Learn to recognize when your mind is getting maxed out and stop pushing it. Observe when any part of your body is getting tired, and trust that if you stop now your stamina will be even greater tomorrow. And if you start to get angry at yourself or your prop, IMMEDIATELY put it down and walk away. We may be taught the expression, “no pain, no gain”, but this will not do. You will naturally experience some discomfort when trying some new poi or hula hoop moves. This can be physical, mental and emotional discomfort, but that does not mean it has to amount to pain. Consistency is more important than “hard work”, for to truly flow is effortless. When everything feels good you learn much faster. So, if it doesn’t feel good, take a moment to stop before you over challenge yourself and begin to create neural associations and muscle memories you do not want.
Drink more water!
What flows better than water? To have a greater functioning self in your flow arts practice, learn from the best. Drinking water more regularly will cool your system, ease your firing neurons, keep the body hydrated, and give you moments to pause and reflect. While you’re at it, give your water a blessing or two. “Thank you. I love you.” always puts us both at a better, more refined and aligned state. Don’t knock it till you try it.
And that’s about it. Besides these four, the magic number 5 would have to be keep coming back, even if you do injure or humiliate yourself in some way. At a certain point in our practice, we lose the need to take it “seriously” and viola, your flow game levels up majorly.
If you need a spotter, reach out; this is what I do. Let us level up our game together.
Yours in flow,
Inspired to begin or further your flow arts journey? Check out our Shop!