Have you ever been in a situation where you are totally lost in the moment and you are completely at peace and present? It’s the best- there’s something magical that happens when you become totally immersed in your craft. Time stops and everything falls away except the task at hand. I experience this most when I’m dancing, or really feeling my SoulCycle playlist, or in a creative flow with my business partner. It shows up when I’m not feeling pressure to be anyone or anywhere else. It shows up when I’m connected to my heart, when I love the way a move feels or I feel the beat driving me forward. Inspiration just bubbles up to the top, and I’m along for the ride (if someone could please bottle that feeling, I’d buy it in bulk- ESPECIALLY when I need to kick ass in an audition or class).
Because life is, well, life- and more often than not, most tasks feel more like work than warm fuzzies. We don’t always feel connected to the music or our bodies. The mind churns and worries, doubts reach a crescendo, and the devil on your shoulder starts in… “You’re the biggest/shortest/least experienced/oldest/youngest/worst person in this room. You will never be able to do what they’re asking me to do. You shouldn’t be here. People are going to look at you and judge you. You can’t do this. ” Blech! Nasty.
So how do we stay in the place of divine inspiration, whether it’s to get us through a big audition or that kickboxing class we’ve been too scared to try? Try this three step process and see if you inch a little closer to your zen (and let me know how it works for you):
1. Ground your body by working from the outside in.
Stand with your feet hip distance apart, bend your knees slightly, and rock back and forth from heels to toes a few times. Then settle right in the middle, pressing all of your toes to the ground. Imagine you’re growing 2 inches taller and stand up straight. Take three deep, full breaths, breathing in through the nose and out through the mouth. Each time you exhale, imagine your breath rooting you to the ground. When we get grounded, we lay a solid foundation on which to build great things.
2. Get present to quiet your inner chatter.
Do a quick body scan and identify what feels good and bad. If something feels bad, fix it. (Examples: “My shoulders feel pretty close to my ears. I’m going to drop my shoulders a little. My hips feel nice and open today. My right hamstring is tight. I’m going to stretch it. I’m thirsty. I’m going to drink some water before I start.”). When we concentrate on what IS, we cannot pay attention to what COULD BE, and we gently shift our focus from fear of the unknown to awareness of what simply is.
3. Change the rules of the comparison game.
Comparing yourself to others is a slippery slope. After spending almost 20 years in New York City, I’m not going to say “Stop comparing yourself to others” because as New Yorkers, comparison is inevitable and can often lead to motivation. So let’s go with that- try turning the comparison into a compliment, and you will effectively shift a negative feeling to a positive action. Instead of obsessing about how much better your neighbor’s abs are than yours, compliment her (yes, out loud!) on her super cute sports bra and turn your attention back to your badass self. Reminder: this is a PRACTICE and takes a little getting used to, but it works. Plus, chances are someone is envying you from the other side of the room anyway.
The more we can use these three tactics to bring mind and body together into the present moment, the more often we will experience that feeling of being “in the flow.” So give it a try, and let me know how it goes and how I can help you find happiness in your movement!