We all are guilty or have been guilty of not properly planning our practice. This weeks Flow Arts Life Hack is dedicated to structuring our practice. It’s easy to forget what you want to work on, what you have mastered, etc. Some people don’t have exposure to formal training practices. It’s good to plan your practice so you make the best use of your time. This is really important if you are renting space. In lieu of the upcoming Ultimate Ninja Competition and festival season, here are some tips to improve your practice, art, and flow.

You will need:

  • At least 30 minutes (preferably 60-90minutes)
  • space to practice
  • water
  • mirror and/or video recording device (both if possible)
  • notebook

Your practice should be structured something like this:

  • 5 minute warm up/stretch
  • 20-40 minutes practice
  • 5 minute break and water consumption
  • 20-40 minutes practice
  • 5 minute cool down/stretch

You can extend each section, but don’t skimp out on the warm up and cool down. It is very important to stretch your muscles before and after (after is really important!).

  1. Bring water. Drink it up. Try not to eat anything heavy before practicing.
  2. Before you even pick up your prop, start off with 20 jumping jacks and 20 squats. This will warm your muscles up so you don’t injure yourself.
  3. After you’ve warmed up, stretch for 5 minutes! Don’t bounce into the stretch, on your exhale push a little further. We recommend straddle stretches on left, right, and middle. Placing one hand on the ground and stretching over the side to the left and right, couch stretches for your quads, and wrist stretches if you are doing and handstands/handbalancing.
  4. Write down 3-4 skills and combos that you want to work on.
  5. Set aside 15-20 minutes for each skill.
  6. Break the steps down for each.
  7. Do the skills successfully, at least 7 times consecutively.  7 is kind of a magical number that will reinforce the muscle memory (this concept works for anything). This means that you might actually have to do the trick 20-30 times.
  8. Practice in front of a mirror so you can see what you are doing.
  9. Even if you are practicing in front of a mirror, record yourself! Even if you don’t share it publicly. Having a video will help you visually see what you might need to improve on whether it’s planes, speed, balance, etc. It will also provide you with different angles and the ability to reflect after the fact.
  10. Take a break! Drink some water. Stretch.
  11. If you have tried something 30 times and still haven’t gotten it, move on and come back to it later. This is why it’s good to have multiple skills that you want to work on.
  12. Congratulate yourself! You are working towards self-progression and you deserve a little self love. End the practice with a treat, either a self massage or a piece of chocolate. You did good work!

If you have anything to add, let us know! We would love to see and hear about how you structure your practices! #faihacks #practice