Mike Fitch teaches L3 in Poland
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Behind the Scenes of the First Ever Live L3 Workshop

Certified Instructors from around the world convene in Poland to begin the journey to L3
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Mackenzie ‘MK’ Phillips knew that she had to get to Poland. The first live L3 Animal Flow workshop would be held in its capital, Warsaw, in September 2022 and MK just had to be there.

Progression through the levels of Animal Flow has been a very intentional journey for the executive-level practicing lawyer turned personal trainer. MK had initially heard about the program when she was a member of the US health club chain Equinox in 2015 but she took her time before registering for L1.

“I kept seeing it show up in my Instagram feed during the pandemic,” MK explained. “Some new modalities are not what they are all cracked up to be. I didn’t want to waste my money on some new movement system where someone claims to have invented the push-up or something like that. It turns out that Animal Flow has been one of the best investments I’ve made, personally and professionally.”

MK took L1 with Master Instructor Chris Flores in May 2020 and quickly followed up with L2 just three months later, this time with Master Instructor Rich Scrivener.

The decision to fly to Poland for L3 was a simple one for Chicago-based MK. While she had attended AF events live in Costa Rica and Colorado, USA, MK’s workshop experiences had all been online.

“I knew the L3 Test Out journey would be an arduous one so I wanted to digest the workshop experience as soon as possible. It was an easy decision as I knew my ‘Polish Team’ Animal Flow family would be waiting with open arms and hearts, ready to receive all of us.”

MK Phillips sits between Miguel Caratão and Miro Baściuk at the L3 workshop in Warsaw, Poland

MK Phillips (center, with Miguel Caratão [left] and Miro Baściuk [right]) flew from to Poland from Chicago, USA, to join the L3 workshop.

The unknown: where nerves and excitement meet

If you have attended an Animal Flow workshop, mentorship or retreat, you’ll know that feeling of being both nervous and excited. For MK, the cause of her nerves was also the cause of her excitement: being shoulder-to-shoulder with so many standout Flowists had her wondering if she’d keep up.

Perfection is not what is desired or expected at an L3 workshop,” MK said, “but there were days I felt like an imposter.

“Who was I to Flow with this exceptional group of humans? Was I good enough? Was I a fraud? I knew cognitively that these thoughts weren’t true but there were some moments I needed to give myself a good pep talk and seek support from my other Animal Flow family members.”

Finding community, finding yourself

While every workshop experience is different, that kind of support is one thing that occurs without fail. Another is the ineffable magic that is made when like-minded people congregate with a shared purpose of expanding the boundaries of what is possible.

“The workshop brought me back to this notion that we all need to spend some time trying things out and working the process before really coming into our own,” MK shared. “Every person who attended the L3 workshop poured their soul into every warm-up, collaborative moment, drill, and Flow. Observing flecks of brilliance fly off of everyone throughout the weekend was so special.”

Workshop host and Polish Master Instructor, Mirosław (Miro) Baściuk agrees.

“For me, the best moments were related to the participants’ successes–the first successful Floats, the beautifully performed lateral Pop Outs,” he said.

“It was an amazing experience to see how big of a leap in skills is achieved throughout Level 3. But it is not only a matter of skills; it is also a much deeper understanding of what Animal Flow is, and what benefits and opportunities it offers for ourselves and our pupils.”

Check out the action from day 1 (directly below) and day 2 (further down the page), as captured by videographer Monika Lemanowicz.

Bringing the vision to life

The live workshop was a momentous occasion for Mike Fitch.

“The vision for L3 has always been based on the idea that it’s a live exchange of experiences, energy and wisdom,” he said, “and this workshop encapsulated that.

“From the time I started to think about L3, it had always felt to me like it would be a journey that the attendees and I had to go on together. It wasn’t going to be easy but it was going to be an experience that we could all remember for a lifetime.

“The energy that was created over the course of the workshop was the momentum that pushed everyone forward. Everyone energized me and they energized each other.”

Workshops: so much more than just work

The special moments for the L3 group extended beyond the confines of the workshop room and out into social time.

Miro was excited to welcome the group to Warsaw, organizing dinners across the weekend and time together before the workshop commenced.

“Level 3 is very specific and therefore very beautiful,” explained Miro. “It is chosen by people who are already aware of their paths of development and who connect those paths with Animal Flow.

“I only knew many people through social media and it was great to meet them live. The workshop was attended by participants from Poland, the USA, Romania, the United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, Portugal, and more.

“We are a very international company but we’re all connected by one idea–Animal Flow. This allowed a positive atmosphere of mutual support to be built from the very beginning.”

Finding flow and earning your stripes

That one connecting idea continues to unfurl and further reveal itself the deeper into the program you go.

“Animal Flow goes far beyond the movements,” said Mike Fitch. “It’s truly about how we find flow as we navigate our day and our relationships and our place in society. L3 gives me a chance to broach some of those subjects and approaches.”

Mike’s goal for L3 was to have workshop attendees leave with a better understanding of, and connection to, their bodies, the AF system, and its philosophy.

“It means so much to me to think that there are people out there that not only know how to perform high-level Animal Flow but also how to teach it,” said Mike. “They know the philosophy and they embody it as they carry the idea through their day-to-day life.

“By the time someone comes out the other side of L3 they can say, ‘Now I get it. Now I understand why we did all of those reps in L1, why we learned what we did in L2, and how they are the building blocks that give me a foundation to truly experience the L3 process.’

The Test Out procedure is detailed and requires Flowists to submit a range of video tasks and complete a written assessment. It’s an important part of the journey that shows the Flowist has well and truly earned their L3 certification.

“Once someone comes out on the other side of the Test Out successful, I’m confident that they know more about the AF system than anyone else––aside from myself and the majority of our Master Instructors.

“So, once it’s all said and done,” he concludes, “I’m quite proud of them.”

The journey to L3 begins with L1. Comprising two 6.5 hour days, you’ll learn all 30+ movements from within the L1 curriculum. Discover the benefits of quadrupedal movement training and learn the tools to coach and execute the movements. For dates and details, visit animalflow.com/workshops.