“The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us.” Ashley Montagu
Have you ever been in the Flow Zone? Many dancers, surfers, sailors, musicians and pro athletes know the feeling. When I asked an actor what makes a good performance, the reply was: “ Relax, get out of the way, and allow the work to come through”. My painter friends agreed. We paint and make art to get into that timeless space. . . totally engrossed in the task, where everything , even time, seems to fade away.
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi , wrote some specifics to achieve this flow state in his book, Flow, The Psychology of Optimal Experience. Here are a few suggestions who doing Qigong to enhance your experience. Focus your attention. Know you have some control in a challenging movement. Have a specific intention, the flow state is personal. One goal may simply be to do an exercise effortlessly and allow qi energy to move through you. This flow state feels good, it is pleasurable and increases feelings of happiness, as well as relaxation.
My objective with every qigong practice is to get into this flow zone; it is achievable doing each movement with mindfulness. I feel it’s the combination of engaging mind and moving body, using the rhythm of breath and motion.
Everyone’s talking and blogging about mindfulness. . . Can you really move into mindfulness? Yes! Generations of Qigong practitioners, artists, athletes and many others have.
In the West, Qigong is often referred to as Chinese Yoga. Qigong embodies mindfulness. Your body is intentionally doing the exercises and your mind is focused on what’s happening while you do the moves, paying active attention to feeling the space created with each movement, allowing the Qi to flow effortlessly. The Energy / Qi, comes first and this energy moves the body. Qi / Chi circulates best with movement, slow easy, relaxed movement. Being in the Flow Zone may be another term for this.
In the beginning learning Qigong exercises involves coordination, balance and repetition of the moves until muscle memory is established. At first the mind is engaged just on coordinating breath with what your limbs or spine are doing. Not to worry, with consistent practice a rhythm builds and one gradually lets go of how you are doing the moves to what you are feeling, by allowing the energy to move you. There’s no place for distraction, to get the most out of your practice give it your full attention and big rewards follow. You may slip into “Zen mind” where the emptiness seems full of vibration but is an invisible force, like the wind. We only see the air move when it blows through the trees, or as spindrift with spray blown from cresting waves. Our mind pulls in that same power and we feel more aware and intuitive.Qigong is about feeling the power of this invisible force and drawing it into your own center. Fortifying your bodily systems and triggering the body’s natural mechanisms to heal and renew itself. It amps up my happiness meter too !
Begin 2016 with Cynthia’s online Qigong class special – Check FB link above for more information , coming soon!