When Life Get's Busy, What Keeps Us Coming Back To The Mat To Practice?

The flow state.

What’s the flow state?

It’s that feeling where body, breath, and mind are linked consciously and seemingly effortlessly all at once. It might come in the form of the endorphin release known as runner’s high, or it might come from being in the zone at work. Yoga gives us a consistent opportunity to tap into the flow state, but sometimes the hardest part about yoga is showing up to class to practice. Our Instagram feeds may show us green juice recipes and inspirational quotes to help us live our best lives, but we also know reality does not look like those curated feeds. In reality, our lives might be pretty messy. Sure, we’d love to get to yoga class, but it doesn’t always happen. Unlike the child yelling in the car seat in the back of the car or the boss dumping a last minute project on our desk, yoga does not have a peevishly loud voice that demands we drop everything and listen to it.

So how do we hear the call to practice above the din of life?

It’s easy to say “it’ll feel good,” but sometimes that’s not enough. Maybe the thought of getting to connect in person with our favorite teacher or meeting a friend at class can get us there. Maybe it’s driving around with our yoga mat and a change of clothes so we have no excuses. But what about sustaining our practice in particularly tricky times?

What keeps us coming back to yoga is that we know it works. It gives us a feeling of fullness in our bodies and wellness in our hearts. Connecting with breath is the essence of yoga. In times of stress we subconsciously hold our breath. Instead, yoga allows us space to observe and link our physical movements to things going on in our world that we may subconsciously internalize. Yoga is a conscious refuge, not an escape. We don’t want to phone it in with yoga because we know we’re only cheating ourselves out of the chance to get to the flow state. To get to that place in yoga we have to center ourselves. Without judgment we have to mentally get ready for whatever might come up on the mat.

Although we do not think about our breath during most of the day, in yoga we honor our inhales and our exhales. Just like our breath, we always have yoga in us. Ideally, we amp up the frequency of our practice when things get hectic, but the reality is that sometimes we only realize we have to come to our mats when we are seeking intentions like getting grounded, centered , and to relax .

A regular yoga practice helps our bodies regain homeostasis. Yoga teaches us what it feels like to feel balanced and centered so we can continue to cultivate that off our mats. Feeling good is a bodily function and we can let our bodies teach us when we’re wandering off that path of visceral happiness. Yoga is a way we can learn to listen.

Some of the best yoga practices happen when we have zero expectations of our bodies. We take it down a notch from the frenetic pace of our day and mindfully place our mats on the studio floor and actively wait. Some days we have an intention in mind but it’s sometimes even better on the days that we don’t. Having no preconceived notion helps us enter a judgement-free practice space. It is that openness that yoga can delicately strengthen and help grow.

Whether we make a mess on our mats or attain that divine blissed-out state after class (or both!), the common theme is knowing ourselves and knowing when we need to make time for yoga. Yoga helps us carve out space to fill up our tanks before we’re running on fumes. Yoga is that reminder to breathe and come into the present moment. As yogis, we are lucky to have that space to safely explore.

Take a deep breath. Come to the mat. Enjoy the journey to the flow state.