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Destination: Animal Flow

No journey is long with good company
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When pandemic lockdowns kept Nikki Rubino and Simon Yuen confined to Australia, the pair decided to take matters into their own hands.

As various regions of the world began to re-open their borders, they watched their Animal Flow friends heading to live workshops, mentorships and other gatherings. Though they had connected with many of them in regular online Jams, they felt a pervading sense that they were missing out.

Their FOMO had escalated; they now had FLOWMO.

Animal Flow road trip

With restrictions easing, the two Regional Leaders from Sydney decided to go on a road trip to visit another Flowist, Kat West, who had relocated a few hours south. Convenient timing also allowed a third Regional Leader, Tim Sandeman from Canberra, to be in the area on the same weekend.

“We just missed the Mentorships,” says Simon. “We’d been Flowing with people online but we both wanted something extra. Having a couple of days together allows you to really connect and bond in a way that’s deeper than you usually have time for at a Jam.”

Kat kindly offered up her yoga studio as the activity and accommodation headquarters for the weekend, and Nikki and Simon set about creating a schedule of activities.

Giving back by sharing knowledge

The reunion also provided the perfect opportunity for the four long-standing AF friends to bring some newer members of the community into the fold. Level 1 Instructors Cat Kwon, Yong Ho Son, and Andrea Loeffler joined the trip, alongside one of Kat’s students, Fariyal Suleman.

image of sydney road trip

Sydney Road Trip Flowists, from left to right (bottom row): Cat, Tim, Yong; (middle row): Andrea, Fariyal, Kathryn; and (top row): Simon and Nikki.

“It gave us an opportunity to share some of the things we’d learned over the years as Flowists, and to really give back,” says Simon. “We wanted to help everyone get connected, and it was great to have a laugh and try some new things together.”

Nikki and Simon guided the group through a range of sessions covering Flow design and technique, AF games, coaching skills, and Nikki’s personal highlight: Glow Flow.

“I’d had this idea for Glow Flow in my head for about six years,” laughs Nikki. “Everyone had been hearing about it for a long time. To get a group of Flowists together, all covered in LED lights and glow sticks, playing electronic music and Flowing together in the dark, was like a dream come true!”

Despite having allocated only 90 minutes to Glow Flow, everyone continued for 3.5hrs, finally calling it a night at midnight.

Building resilience to stress through exposure to cold

Simon, who’s also a certified breathwork instructor, facilitated an ice and breathwork session at a local beach the next morning. First, he introduced the group to two styles of breathing: one focusing on internal state and presence, and the second focusing on increasing blood flow and adrenaline. Next, they took it in turns to submerge their bodies in tubs of ice.

“Imagine all of your daily stresses piled into an ice tub in front of you. If you can get into the tub, sit there, in the ice, for 2-3 minutes and remain calm throughout, then you’re really using the power of your mind and breath to control the stress you’re experiencing. If you can control this, then you can control anything else as well.”

For Nikki, the experience was powerful for a different reason.

“I don’t like ocean water so to be sitting in the ice with the sound of the ocean right there was making me freak out. But I still knew that I was safe, and I felt supported by Simon and the group.”

ice bath

Simon guides Nikki through her first ice bath experience.

“It was so cool to do something that felt so far out of my comfort zone. Any time I’m with the Flow community, something like that always happens. There’s always this little element of encouragement and support to step outside what feels comfortable. There’s always growth and development.”

Simon links that back to the inherent sense of support that permeates the community globally.

“It’s such a safe space to learn. I believe that when we’re in a safe community, like this, it’s where we grow. We can drop our egos, and just be open to learning and connecting.”

>Watch the group’s final Flow below.

Find Certified Instructors, Regional Leaders and other Flowists in your area by checking out our community groups on Facebook. Join a Jam or look out for classes and workshops in a region near you.