Flow-Flow (SUP & Yoga)

I had just finished the 2011 Bend Paddleboard Challenge and was all jazzed and happy to have completed the five miles in fine form – certainly not for speed, just for fun. (Photo by Jill Rosell) Sitting on the beach a bit later, I was watching the few brave souls in the “style” competition. Suddenly all the crowd on the beach noticed someone climbing down the rocky shore with a paddleboard and hop in the river. The next few minutes were absolutely an amazing mix of balance, style, grace, strength – and flow.  Easily winning the event was Kama Blasing, the surprise entry that sparkled the competition.

After that I paid attention to what Kama was doing.  Throughout the summer I heard quite a bit of buzz about the yoga classes available on the wide grassy area at Riverbend Park – both on land and on the water. Inspired by Kama and Shanan Kelley, this series they call “Flow-Flow” caught on quickly.

Recently, I had the opportunity to talk to Kama and Shanan, partners in the unique Flow-Flow (yoga and SUP) classes. There’s no denying the passion and commitment they have for providing this opportunity to their students in Central Oregon. Looking toward warmer weather, they plan to share their skills with many more people this summer.  Whether you have had a long yoga practice or are just beginning, the experience is customized to meet your interest and abilities. (This season’s session begins June 11, 2012) Flow-Flow is available for private group parties.

Some background: In spring 2011, Kama completed her second 200 hour Yoga Teacher training under the care and guidance of Kat Seltzer. Kama also has RYT 200 Ashtanga from 2004 and second RYT Vinyasa Yoga Spring 2011 at MYC. Participating in the Living Yoga program infused her existing practice with Flow. “True creative exploration of the mind, body and spirit though asana….on the mat and off.” It is her hope to share with others the ability to access, feel, and explore the magic of yoga. Shanan recently took her practice to the next level by traveling to the south of Mexico to study Restorative Alignment under Brigitte Longueville’s guidance, in the process earning her first 200 hour Yoga Alliance teacher certification. Returning stateside with a new view on how this ancient practice can enhance one’s life throughout their life.

clarify that Flow-Flow is offered twice weekly June-October Mon & Thurs 5:30-7:30pm

The power of getting into a “flow” state is explained really well by “the father of flow,” Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi. Understanding the power of “flow” and gaining insights on how to build more flow to life and work, I have read  Csikszentmihalyi’s work many times. According to Csikszentmihalyi, “the flow experience is typically described as involving a sense of control – or, more precisely, as lacking in the sense of worry about losing control that is typical in many situations of normal life. Flow describes well the sense of seemingly effortless movement”

We can all remember a time, usually back in our childhood, when movement, freedom and an absolutely effortless sense of flow was ours. For me, it was often that barefoot walk in summer-soft grass warmed by the sun. When Kama and Shanan described how they begin their Flow-Flow classes I was like, “Sign me up!” Class begins on the uneven grassy earth with a Vinyasa series that unfolds an amazing connection of breath, movement, earth and nature. After 45 minutes of Vinyasa flow on the grass the experienced is enhanced by taking SUP boards to the Deschutes River.  Each person can choose to simply paddle or to explore yoga moves or postures on the paddleboard. No matter what SUP skill level a participant has, this part of the class is based on committing and staying focused.

“Vinyasa yoga teaches us to cultivate an awareness that links each action to the next – on the mat and in our lives” (Photo by Paul Clark, Black and Red Photography)

Shanan Kelley just couldn’t keep a big grin off her face as she described the basic passion she and Kama have for their flow flow classs. From the beginner to the individual with a more advanced practice, they provide training that helps foster a shift in movement that supports change and is a catalyst for openness. As body tissues are gently coaxed toward opening an awareness of how that is a metaphor of the Flow-Flow philosophy.

Yoga done out in nature adds many dimensions to the practice. Grounding feet is far different done on the grass touching warm earth than similar grounding practiced indoors.  Raising up and reaching toward the sky – and being able to actually see the sky – wonderful! I am looking forward to trying this class.  As Kama and Shanan guide us, I am looking forward to being reminded to find the “okay” spot and being present where I am on that given day.

Life offers us many challenges and a culture of more-better-strive-best.  While Flow-Flow encourages exploration and change, there is something more.  According to Kama and Shanan, “Being a beginner is a treasure.”

If you have experienced Flow-Flow (SUP and yoga) in Bend, OR, please share your comments with us.