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How I Discovered The Power Of Flow State

Updated: Feb 1



Move, breathe and flow state

Have you ever had a moment in your life that felt so unique, so powerful, that it completely shifted your perspective on the very essence of reality? A moment that made you realize that maybe there’s a whole other level of existence that we can access, a level of peak performance that we can achieve?


Maybe you’ve had one of those moments, but have no idea how it happened. Or maybe you feel like you have this massive potential just waiting to explode out of you, but you can’t seem to find the switch to make it happen. 


We all have access to a state of peak performance and massive potential. It’s called a Flow State, and many years ago I discovered that by using the right combinations of movement and breath, I could unlock its power when I needed it most.


Welcome to Move-Breathe-Flow, your journey to peak performance.


THE ORIGIN STORY


That powerful, unique experience I just described? I’ve had many of them, more than I can count. But there are two that stand out among the rest, especially the first one I ever had, which is how I discovered the Move-Breathe-Flow (MBF) formula. 


I usually tell this story with a lot of detail but for the sake of brevity, I’ll focus on the highlights. In 2008, I was studying biology, working as a Muay Thai coach, and was about three months into a new meditation practice, something I started after finding an awesome book in the university library called Zen and the Brain, by James T. Austin


As a Muay Thai coach, my training was pretty intense and included trail running in my favorite park, a small mountain in the center of Montreal, QC called Mont Royal. So this one evening, I took off for a run on my favorite trails, which included a final sprint up the mountain to the most scenic lookout spot. Normally, I would have recovered for a few minutes, enjoyed the view, and then made my way back down. But for whatever reason, this one time, I decided to try something new. I found a quiet spot in the forest to sit down and meditate. 


Trail running

I’d never done this before, meditating outside, in the forest, and especially not after running up a mountain with my lungs still burning. The first few breaths were hard, as you can imagine, but with each breath, it got easier, and my mind grew quieter, until CLICK. That’s what it feels like when the mind shifts from one state to another, like a switch going off. I’ve had many moments like it since then, but what I remember most from that first time was the deep sense of connection and awareness, while simultaneously feeling my body and mind being completely still and at peace. 


When I opened my eyes, my senses were clearly heightened. The colors were brighter, the sounds were sharper, and even the breeze on my skin felt different somehow. When I stood up and moved around, my body felt strong and light. I even ran for a few minutes and it felt effortless, despite having just run up a mountain. I had no idea what was happening, but I knew I had tapped into something powerful. 


What I know now, but didn’t know then, was that I had tapped into a peak performance state. I had triggered the power of Flow.


WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE


That first Flow experience was memorable for sure, but like I said, I had no idea what was going on. Well, that’s not completely true, as a biology student I knew that I was tapping into some different neurochemicals, and the book I was reading on meditation filled in a few gaps as well, but I wouldn’t really figure things out until several years later, after spending some time in the jungles of Costa Rica. 


Again, there’s a lot I could share about the year I spent in Costa Rica from 2013-2014, but I’ll stick to the highlights. My family and I were there so my wife could study at the University for Peace, a school mandated by the United Nations and dedicated to the study of, well, peace. 


While my wife was in school, and our son was in school, I was pursuing a different kind of education, setting off into the jungle almost every day to explore, move, and breathe. I had some pretty crazy experiences while we were there, but the most memorable, and the one that would set me down the path of studying flow states and peak performance, happened a few days after we had settled into our new house.


I went for a run to explore the area, on a very hilly dirt road which ended with a long uphill sprint. I then went to swim in the basin of a waterfall and then sat down to meditate under a massive, ancient tree. Much like that first time up the mountain, I had the same CLICK, the same deep sense of connection and mindfulness. But probably because I was sitting in a jungle in Costa Rica, the whole experience felt so much more intense. 


When I opened my eyes, not only were my senses heightened beyond anything I’d ever experienced naturally, but I was surrounded by a group of monkeys that were treating me like I was one of their own!


Monkey in Costa Rica


We had seen these monkeys before, but they were usually pretty skittish around us, so the fact that they were accepting me in this way helped me realize that something special was going on, something was obviously different about my energy. I sat there for a while, partly because I wasn't sure how the monkeys would react if I moved, but mostly because I wanted to fully appreciate this incredible experience.


My new friends eventually left, and I got up and went back to the house. I learned a lot that day, about movement, meditation, and altered states of consciousness. I learned that there's a thin line between science and Spirit when it comes to peak performance experiences, it all depends on which lens you wish to use. The two experiences I just described were very much seen through the lens of spirituality, but they also inspired a powerful desire to better understand the science behind them, which led to years of research on movement, breath training, flow states, and peak performance, research that I continue to explore.


Patrick Sebastien

Performance Coach

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