Fire spinners masterfully rotating flaming hoops and pois. Levitating wands bathed in multicolored neon light. This is just a glimpse of the immersive Flow Arts experience.
While Flow Arts has been around for many years – from indigenous tribes in New Zealand to circus jugglers – it has only in recent years flourished as a performance art here in the Philippines with a passionate community behind its local emergence.
The idea of Flow Arts is pretty simple: you move with an object like it’s an extension of yourself following your natural rhythm. It is a disciplined practice that blends play, exercise, and dance to achieve the ‘flow’ state.
Coined by renowned psychologist, Mihaly Czikszentmihalyi, ‘flow’ is basically a state of complete absorption wherein people are happiest. Others refer to it as being ‘in the zone’.
With the fourth Philippine Flow Arts festival coming up in Zambales , we decided to learn more about this exercise in coordination. Luisa Jimenez of Flow Arts Philippines kindly gave us a mini-tutorial of some basic Flow Arts moves using poi and a hoop. Check out these five forms you can do to keep you active this summer!
STEP 1: Do an inward spin with the poi in your right hand. Make sure that the poi is spinning in front of your body (which is called the wall plane). Then do the same with your left hand.
STEP 2: Simultaneously spin the left and right poi then slowly move both hands closer to each other until the right wrist is above the left.
2. The Weave
STEP 1: Holding the poi in one hand, circle the poi to the side of your body (this is called the side plane), then slowly draw a figure 8. Then do the same with your left hand.
STEP 2: When comfortable, circle one hand first and let the other hand naturally follow with your left wrist over your right wrist allowing the poi to weave through your body.
3. The Corkscrew
STEP 1: With your right hand, draw a circle with your poi on the floor (this is called the floor plane) and then draw another circle to the sky. You can compare to to stirring a pot and then using lasso. Notice that the movement draws a figure 8. In the same direction, repeat with your left hand.
STEP 2: When comfortable, you can begin spinning both pois with both hands. Let the left hand follow the right hand.
4. Body Hooping
This is essentially hula-hooping. Make sure your feet are hip width apart with one foot in front of the other. Place the hoop around your waist and hold it with both hands. Spin the hoop around your waist and move your waist forward and backward or side to side. Keep your core engaged to avoid the hoop from dropping.
Place the hoop in front of you on a vertical plane. Make sure that the top of the hoop is slightly above your head and the bottom of the hoop is at least as low belly button. Grip the inner side of the hoop with your right hand, then slowly turn the hoop clockwise. Make sure that the hoop does not drop and is stationary. Keep turning the hoop. Once you reach the point where you cant twist your arm anymore, open your palm and let the hoop roll at the back of the hand. Flip your hand and immediately grab the hoop again while making sure hoop stays in the same place. You can support the hoop with your left hand with palms open to keep the hoop aligned.
“Don’t worry about not getting the moves down immediately because it takes practice, but some may naturally get it right away… My favorite part is when you reach that state where you suddenly enter a trance and get lost in it. You start moving without thinking too much about the technicality of the movements, just letting it all flow,” Luisa shares.
To fully experience what Flow Arts is all about, join the country’s fourth Philippine Flow Fest on April 29 to May 1 in LiwLiwa, Zambales!
Special thanks to Life Yoga Studio for sharing their wonderful space.