PART 4: TRANSCENDING AWARENESS
Heightened awareness is a useful component of flow and can be used to influence our performance.
Becoming completely absorbed in what you’re doing can free you from negative thought and day-to-day issues. Perhaps this is why many use sport as a form of escapism and seek it as a form of peace and solitude.
As well as experiencing this feeling of escapism, in flow states we can expect to feel a loss of effort. Our movements feel so natural that pain or fatigue fade into the background and despite using all our energy, it can feel as though we are just gliding through the motions and able to fully take in the sights and sounds of the ride.
Transformation of Time
Transformation of time is another way in which our awareness can become adjusted. Things can seem as though they have slowed down and you are able to make minute adjustments in real time.
This usually instills a feeling of calmness. Alternatively, you may spend a full day out in the backcountry, locked into some technical lines yet feel as if you have only been out for a couple of hours. When lost in flow, time becomes irrelevant.
To achieve and experience this transcendence of normal awareness, you need to become hyper aware of your body and movement, but in order to achieve this zen-like fluidity, a few things need to take place and coincide.
The Inner Voice
Most importantly, it’s the self-critical voice inside of us that causes us to second guess or doubt ourselves. When we silence this negativity, we allow more room for focus and most importantly confidence, a key element when pursuing flow.
Solo sports like skiing, snowboarding, climbing and surfing lend themselves well to flow states. This is because you’re most often pushing yourself against previous experiences, rather than against opponents or competitors.
However, competition can arise on many levels and it’s important not to focus on what others are doing. When we begin comparing ourselves to others, we are giving up valuable mind space and opening up the possibility to second guess our actions rather than doing them fluidly.
Focus on the Process, Not the Outcome
If we give all our attention to the end goal, the accomplishment of a big descent, or the first place podium finish, then we become complacent in our actions.
The process is the act of doing, and focusing on these actions is a clear way to enter flow states and achieve our optimum performance.
This could be breaking down your line into each movement, each turn, rotation and grab. This awareness of our body and how it is moving is what allows us to maintain concentration and avoid complacency.