Pillars of Power Yoga: Find Your Flow On + Off the Mat | Baptiste Yoga - Yoga Journal

Pillars of Power: Find Your Flow On + Off the Mat

Baptiste Yoga teacher Leah Cullis explains how finding your flow ties your practice and life together, taking both into another realm.
Leah Cullis in Dancer's Pose

In YJ's upcoming online course Pillars of Power Yoga, master Baptiste Yoga teacher Leah Cullis will lead an athletic and spiritual immersion into the five core pillars of Baptiste Yoga: drishti, breath, foundation, heat, and flow. Sign up now for Pillars of Power Yoga to learn more about Baptiste Yoga and be the first to know when this fitness- and focus-boosting course launches. Here, she explains how finding your flow ties your practice and life together, taking both into another realm.

Water is one of the most powerful substances and forces on earth, yet it’s graceful and gentle and glides around any obstacle. Flow, the fifth core pillar of Baptiste Yoga and the culmination or the combination of the first four pillars (drishti, breath, foundation, and heat), is the embodiment of the water quality.

The Fifth Pillar of Power: Flow

When the first four pillars are in place and you have a solid foundation for your practice, you start to tap into the flow, which can also be described as the vinyasa, or the linking of body and breath. That's where you step into another realm. Being in the flow is similar to the experience of an athlete who is "in the zone"—all of the forces come together. Flow is the absence of resistance. Since Baptiste Yoga is such a deeply physical practice, we tap into this zone or flow every time we step on mat. We surrender mental energy over to the physical practice, and it becomes a meditation in motion. When you can be fully committed to the physical experience, focused and totally present, synchronizing everything with the breath at a steady pace, pressing into the earth, drawing up into the core in a heated room, all of your resistance melts away. Then you can flow like water from one pose to the next.

Finding Your Flow Off the Mat

Off the mat, flow is possible when you are clear in your vision, or drishti, aligned energetically with your breath, solid in your foundation on the earth, and willing to withstand the heat of passion and purpose. When you put all of these pillars together, that's when you start to tap into your artistry, or the realization of the life that you want to live.

For me, being in the flow means being graceful and loving in everything that I do. Since feelings of anger or competition don’t contribute to my being in my flow, I choose to respond in loving ways, to be kind to myself, to pay attention, to being loving with my family and partner, and to share yoga with my students on and off the mat. Flow comes from living in alignment with what makes you feel most alive.