Costa Rica Yoga JournalMark Goldstein

To Flow or not to flow, that’s the question?

By Mark Goldstein

The answer is; Absolutely, definitely. Yes. Flow!

After all, when you think about it, the opposite of flowing is stopping, or worse yet, stagnating, and we surely would not want that to be a part of our yoga practice. This month’s yoga pose is more of an intention then an actual pose,  it is to flow, big time. All this month in my classes we will focus on finding our flow in our yoga practices in a number of ways. The style of yoga that I offer to my students is named “ Vinyassa Flow Yoga”, and many styles of yoga also make use of this concept. What is this flow you might ask?

Playa Yoga

It is similar to when you’ve been dancing to your favorite music, or running for miles without getting tired, or talking with a good friend and realizing that many hours have gone by. Flow is moving without effort, it’s putting out a lot while receiving just as much, if not more energy, in return. It is a great feeling, and when you find it in your yoga practice you really begin to fly.

Have you ever watched a person float through their yoga postures, and it looks effortless? They’re flowing. All you have to do is connect with what your doing, sink in deep, and let it happen. Some come to their first yoga class ever, and it appears easily. Some may need to spend a bit more time, a few more classes, in order to learn the language of yoga instruction, or build up a bit more stamina, and that is perfectly o.k. It can be a like going to a dance class, maybe learning to Salsa. You might get into it half way through the first song, and loose yourself in it. Or, you might take a few more classes as you get the footwork down and learn the beats. In any case, you know when it arrives, and then you go for it.

sun salutation flowYou can flow in any and all parts of a yoga practice, any of them. A great example of a series of yoga postures that can express this flow are the “Sun Salutations”. There are several different ones, and even a fantastic “Moon Salutation” series of postures. Vinyassa Flow Yoga includes a good number of various Salutations in a typical yoga practice. In a nutshell, a Sun Salutation series of postures will take you from standing up tall, to flat on the ground, to raising up into one or more warrior poses, and eventually bring you back to a standing pose. Throughout all of this we are sending our breath, both inhalations and exhalations, into each and every movement. We also utilize “engagements” in our muscles in order to make certain parts of our bodies stronger, and other parts lighter ( see past articles here ).

sun salutation flow

This combination of breath, movement, engagements and some good music offers us a great recipe to create our flow. I’ve been in classes that use beautiful serene flute music from India for mesmerizing gentle flows, and other classes that played loud Led Zeppelin tunes to create high energy flows. What ever “flows your boat”.

All of this month we will be really paying attention to the essentials in order to create our Yoga Flow. I offer private individual and group classes here at our Manuel Antonio retreat, and can also come to you. If you are interested in setting up your own class, or joining one that we already have going, just let me know. Yoga can be a wonderful part of your life, and I hope that I can play a role in opening that up to you.