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Flowing in Real Time

Why Flowists Can’t Get Enough of Mentorships and Retreats
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If you’ve been to one Animal Flow gathering, you’ve been to them all, right? Not so, according to Flowists Bogdana Prosszer, Joanna Butler and Larry Hamilton.

The trio have attended a combined 10 mentorships and retreats between them and are all registered for the upcoming retreat in Greece at the end of 2022.

And they’re not alone, with well over half of the 60+ registered attendees having participated in at least one retreat or mentorship previously.

We wanted to find out exactly what it is that motivates busy Flowists to pack a bag, leave their families and jobs behind, and fly to a foreign country for a week of movement. Not just once or twice but time and time again. Here’s what they told us.

Friendships and community

We may be biased, but the global Animal Flow community is a blend of the most uplifting, caring, colorful and motivated individuals in the world. It’s proven itself worthy of that lofty description– in the way everyone comes together in support of each other when times are tough, and to celebrate, and share inspiration and education.

For Regional Leader, Joanna Butler, from Ireland, the people are what keeps her coming back for more.

Joanna Butler and two fellow Flowists at the Animal Flow Retreat in Breckenridge

Joanna Butler (right) with Regional Leader Andrea Zylinski (center) and Certified Instructor Meryl Cooper (left).

“You could ask, ‘Why attend multiple mentorships? Surely if you have been to one the others will just be more of the same,’” says Joanna, “but each one I have attended has been a totally unique experience in its own right.

“There’s a different Master Instructor team every time, each bringing their own knowledge, individual style and skill set. The one thing that is the same for every retreat but never listed on the schedule is that you will meet amazing people and make friends for life!”

Witnessing firm bonds form quickly as a result of pandemic-era Zoom sessions, Joanna knew that getting to spend a few days together in real life would be a special experience.

“Experiencing the moment when virtual friends got to physically meet, hug, and Flow together for the first time was just magic! The entire retreat is basically a giant sleepover in a stunning location with my favourite Animal Flow beasts from around the world. There was no way that I was going to miss it.”

Motivation and inspiration

When Romanian Regional Leader, Bogdana Prosszer, attended her first mentorship, it was because she wanted to improve her movement skills. And while she achieves that every time, her reasons for continuing to attend have expanded and evolved to include something much bigger.

“In these mentorships and retreats, I get all-around motivation,” says Bogdana. “It’s not only the motivation to grow my movement skills; I find desire and inspiration on how to become a better human. I also find the help needed to stay on track with my goals, and enthusiasm to use my learnings to help others.”

While there’s downtime scheduled every day, anyone who has attended can attest to the fact that the energy of the group always draws more out of you than you think is possible.

Bogdana Prosszer and two fellow Flowists at the Animal Flow Retreat in Breckenridge

Bogdana Prosszer (top) with Regional Leaders Dana Clarfield (bottom) and Alex Diaz Mercado (center).

“Despite all the sessions being physically and mentally demanding, people never got tired,” continues Bogdana. “There was a thirst for connection, for more movement. People continued to practice and create beautiful movement stories together, at any time of day or night.”

Practice, progress and finding flow

Immersive experiences are excellent opportunities for turning learning into action and progress.

According to Joanna, having a dedicated period of time to dive deeply into your practice while surrounded by others on the same journey pays dividends.

“It’s a unique opportunity to step out of your demanding day-to-day schedule and truly immerse yourself,” she says. “You can focus your full attention on improving your practice.”

Put another way, immersive learning leads to the attainment of the much-desired but hard-to-reach state of flow. Conceptualized by Hungarian-American psychologist, Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, flow states occur in situations where the level of challenge experienced and skill possessed are both high but in balance. Flow states are characterized by “energized concentration, optimal enjoyment, full involvement, and intrinsic interests.”

Researchers Joshua Gold and Joseph Ciorciari identified a collection of “psychological phenomena” associated with flow states.

Finding the words to explain that feeling of unity can be tricky but it’s evident in group Flow experiences such as these.

“The other night I binge-watched [five-part documentary series] ‘Our Great National Parks’ which is narrated by Barack Obama,” recounts Larry Hamilton, Animal Flow Certified Instructor from New York.

“I was fascinated by the communication a school of fish or even a pod of orca have as they move and share energy. In my practice of Animal Flow, the same energy transfer happens when we Flow as one.

“I found that same energy flow as we communicated through our own shared language of movement. It’s a language that transcends the Flow… Every interaction is powerful.”

Larry Hamilton and two fellow Flowists at the Animal Flow Retreat in Breckenridge

Larry Hamilton (right) with Regional Leaders Becky Ascione (center) and Gee Tual (left).

What are you waiting for?

Perhaps you’re hesitant to sign up or turn up alone. Never fear. Bogdana, who has found a supportive community waiting at every gathering, encourages Flowists of all levels to get involved.

“If you want to continue to develop your skills, learn new things and surround yourself with a tribe of passionate and ambitious people who will lift you up, these events are for you,” shares Bogdana.

Larry agrees.

“AF is a practice that goes well beyond the Flow. To truly stay connected to your practice, you NEED community. [Program creator] Mike Fitch and [COO/Partner] Karen Mahar have created a worldwide community of people just like you. You don’t have to feel alone in your practice.”

Animal Flow mentorships and retreats are typically held annually and are open to anyone who has attended the L1 workshop. To register for a workshop or find out more about becoming a Certified Instructor, visit animalflow.com