Find Flow, Harmony & Total Connection with Horses Holistically and Naturally. Creating Flow Through Heart-Mind-Body Alignment and Synchronization with Horses
Nirvana is the bliss available when all mental constricts end. It is the awakening of intense awareness, attunement to the senses
and freedom of thought.
This is how flow feels to me.
It’s more than a cognitive, mental state. It is a somatic experience that resonates within me and my horse, connecting us beyond words, beyond actions, aligning us through feel, energy and a frequency that connects us in heart coherence.
It’s what being in love feels like. When we are so connected in our hearts, we lose track of time, our thoughts, and plunge ourselves into the depth of feeling as one with another.
Being in a flow state gives us a sense that our mind and body are as one - working together automatically, seamlessly. This is how I develop horses and their human partners, beginning with relationship, regulation and flow.
The photo above is of Sundance and I, schooling upper level dressage, bitless and bareback (with a really good suede pad). She is executing the Spanish Walk and is in total balance, self carriage and true collection (look how loose my rein is). Not to mention her focus. She is focused on what I am teaching her and giving 150% in return.
It just doesn't get any better than this...to develop in total heart-mind-body alignment, synchronicity and love.
There are no tricks here. No coercion, force or operant conditioning. This is flow. Flow on a somatic level beginning with heart coherence. We feel as one, think as one and move as one.
Everything I teach a horse revolves around flow and that is why they love being with me and working with me. Our relationship is the motivation, the reward and the meaning.
When we are in flow state we feel happy, elated as a deep sense of calm and wellbeing consumes us.
In Buddhism, nirvana is the highest state that someone can attain, a state of enlightenment, meaning a person's individual desires and suffering go away.
In positive psychology, a flow state, also known colloquially as being in the zone, is the mental state in which a person performing some activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity.
We have all experienced these moments and they feel like magic as we transcend our normal, everyday lives and find ourselves lost in the flow of energy, the state of flow within and with our horses.
While flow has been widely explained by scientists and psychologists as “the mental state in which a person performing some activity is fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus, full involvement, and enjoyment in the process of the activity” there is more to it...
Flow is not just a mental state. It is a somatic experience that creates the deepest connection with horses.
It is what creates self-regulation, emotional agility, healing, and safety and it accomplishes this scientifically and easily through energy alignment and synchronicity within the brain and nervous system.
Rhythm is what makes flow state so powerful, and work so easily.
Rhythm is described as a strong, regular, repeated pattern of movement or sound. It is a particular type of pattern formed by true rhythm.
When we ride and get in rhythm with our horse, we create flow state.
When we are in tempo with our horse we are in rhythm, thus in flow state. This can be accomplished in any equine activity that involves rhythmic movement, from grooming, liberty, lunging to riding.
When was the last time you felt flow in your life including your horsemanship?
The Science Behind Flow State
Rhythm produces gamma waves in our brain. Gamma waves are the fastest brain activity. It is responsible for cognitive functioning, learning, memory, and information processing.
Even if you can't keep a beat, your brain can. "The brain absolutely has rhythm," says Nathan Urban, a neuroscientist at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh.
When you concentrate, Urban says, your brain produces rapid, rhythmic electrical impulses called gamma waves. When you relax, it generates much slower alpha waves. Alpha waves are a medium-frequency pattern of brain activity associated with restful and meditative states.
Studies have shown that meditation, exercise, and certain foods can trigger the body's release of endorphins, the “feel good” hormones.
Research shows us that the “Big five” chemicals are all released in the brain, at the same time, during a flow state: norepinephrine, dopamine, serotonin, anandamide, and endorphins.
These hormones are responsible for alleviating pain, lowering stress, improving mood, and enhancing one’s sense of well-being.
The body naturally releases high levels of endorphins and dopamine when we do pleasurable activities. This is so important to feelings of ease, calm, and well-being.
Research shows us that horses also release the same hormones as humans and through their pituitary glands and hypothalamus.
Horses are hardwired to seek out activities and interactions where they feel good, release endorphins, and remain in their parasympathetic nervous system.
Unfortunately, most of our domesticated horses have lost their ability to self-regulate, thus remain in their sympathetic nervous system.
We can change that by creating opportunities for our horses to find flow so they can release endorphins, connect with us deeply, heal themselves, self regulate and most of all enjoy being and working with us.
Please leave us your comments, share this post and stay tuned for The Power of Flow in Holistic Horsemanship: Part II where I will explain how you can achieve flow in everything you do with horses. (Subscribe now so you don't miss it!)
May you always be one with your horse,