Inside Flow yoga is a combination of yoga, music and choreography. This modern yoga style can teach you a lot about grace.
His toes pointed, he lifts his foot up into the air. His leg raised, he transitions into a push-up position and slowly lowers down to the ground. He tilts his pelvis in a wave-like movement and rolls up through the spine vertebra by vertebra: Cobra pose. You can clearly identify this pose even though he does not remain in this position but immediately moves back into Downward-Facing Dog. The shapes he creates are organic and full. Each pose is linked into the next, the motion pulse is continuous. The gently flowing motion of his body is fascinating. This is how you may experience Young-Ho Kim's Inside Flow yoga when you see it for the first time, wondering what makes his movements so beautiful, so graceful?
Inside Flow Is Lightness Through Engagement
Young-Ho Kim, creator of Inside Flow, has a simple answer: “In order to move gracefully, you need to activate your LTE.” LTE has nothing to do with mobile reception, though. “It means: Lightness through Engagement”, he clarifies. "The most common misconception is that we think we have to relax our muscles in order to move gracefully. But the contrary is true: Lightness requires engagement of the muscles, up to the fingertips and toes.” When we relax our bodies, we surrender to gravity. But if you engage your muscles, your movements seem effortless, creating the impression that your body is carried by an invisible force – defying gravity.
"Feel into your body and you will find the key."
– Young-Ho Kim
This is what Inside Flow is about: In this yoga style – which is based on Vinyasa Flow – a choreography of Asanas is practiced to the rhythm of a song. This is not only a physically demanding practice but also makes an incredibly light and smooth impression. Young-Ho Kim, who also is the founder of Europe's biggest yoga studio Inside Yoga and the premium online yoga platform TINT, explains: “Not everyone can become a successful dancer or performer on the stage, but every klutz can learn to move gracefully. It is embedded in our DNA. Feel into your body and you will find the key.”
The Importance of the Breath in Inside Flow
Once we become aware of how our body works – how our arteries expand and contract, how our heart beats, how our rib cage rises and falls with every breath – it appears only logical that our bodies are made to flow. According to the French philosopher Raymond Bayer (1933, “L‘esthétique de la grâce”), this is why we consider flowing movement to be particularly aesthetic, graceful and life-affirming. “In Sanskrit this is called ‘Spanda’ – the pulsation of the universe that is reflected in the breath”, Young-Ho explains.
If we move with the breath just as we do in yoga – i.e. we expand on every inhale and stoop on every exhale – our movement becomes very graceful. “The bigger our movement is, the more dramatic and elegant it becomes”, Young-Ho says. However, he emphasizes that efficiency of movement also plays a crucial role: Twirls and squiggles may disturb the flow of movement and breath, moving with momentum easily seems pathetic and fake. Nothing is more graceful and brave than moving with the rhythm of your own heartbeat.
Inside Flow Reveals the Beauty of Slowness
Despite flowing movement, there is no need to hurry: Grace takes time. “Grace arises in between poses. This is why we move very slowly in Inside Flow – just like in a honey bath: to enjoy each and every transition”, Young-Ho says.
"Grace arises in between poses."
– Young-Ho Kim
In Yoga we often focus on particular asanas: We work on improving single postures like our Warrior II or Half Moon. Although good alignment is important, it's slowly flowing transitions that make your practice graceful. In Inside Flow yoga, which Young-Ho Kim himself teaches in his yoga studio Inside Yoga and also passes on to other yoga teachers in his renowned Inside Yoga Academy, the Asanas are put together to form a flowing choreography. So, single postures become freeze-frames of a flow, slowly transitioning into each other. You never stop in a particular pose.
Inside Flow Encourages You to Surrender to Your Feelings
Inside Flow also is about feeling. Contrary to dance studios, there are no mirrors in Young-Ho Kim's Inside Yoga studio – even though this yoga style certainly involves dancing. “If you focus too much on your reflection in the mirror, the perception of your own body becomes very limited”, Young-Ho explains. And this is what we want to avoid.
In his yoga classes, Young-Ho quickly notices whether or not students have a good perception of their bodies. “People who conform to the perceptions of the ideal body often reveal their insecureness through their movements. On the other hand, people who are far from such ideals move with much more grace”, he says.
"Music is the language of the heart."
– Young-Ho Kim
Another tool to help us feel into our bodies is music. In Inside Flow yoga, you always move with the rhythm of a certain song. This is obvious since rhythm is the basis for graceful movement. “Music is the language of the heart. It helps us to convey feelings through motion in Inside Flow.”
The next time you feel the echo of grace in your body, take the opportunity to gracefully move through life: Don't let gravity pull you down, let your inner rhythm be your guide – and take it slowly! In life and graceful movement we should not aim to reach a particular place or position, but rather to enjoy every single second on the way.
Places to Practice Inside Flow Yoga
If you're now eager to practice Inside Flow yourself, you can visit Young-Ho's yoga studio Inside Yoga in Frankfurt. For those of you who live too far away or prefer practicing at home, check out the Inside Flow Pillow Talk on our platform.
Another great possibility of experiencing this unique yoga style and feeling the rhythm of your breath is the Heart Knock Yoga Event, which will take place on September 13 and 14, 2019, in Frankfurt and Munich and is presented by Inside Yoga and TINT. Is there any better way to flow than flowing live with hundreds of other courageous and mindful yogis?
This article was created in cooperation with Anna Ullrich, creator of Women's Health's mindful little sister SOULSISTER. To read her original German article, visit http://soulsister-mag.de/insideflow.