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Getting Started on Your Animal Flow Journey

Turning intimidation into motivation
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If you follow @animalflowofficial on Instagram, you’ll see a wide variety of people from all over the world demonstrating their personal Flow style. For some, it’s all about powerful sequences with lightning-fast transitions. For others, slow, strong and seemingly gravity-defying moves form the basis of their preferred style of practice.

If you’re new to Animal Flow altogether, you might find yourself watching these Flowists and wondering if you’ll ever be able to perform the moves with even a fraction of their control. But your movement journey is your journey and all you need to do is take one step at a time. After all, even Mike Fitch had to learn to crawl first.

We’ve answered the top five questions that many people ask when starting Animal Flow.

1. Where is the best place to Flow?

If you have your body and a bit of space, then you have everything you need!

While the luxury of a big space such as a yoga or group fitness studio is wonderful, you can achieve a lot in a small space. Even a balcony or a small living room can be enough to perform drills and simple sequences. Remove any obstacles or trip hazards such as cables or moveable furniture. The less your brain has to focus on avoiding, the easier it will be to focus on learning new movements.

If you’re keen to Flow outdoors, pick a flat, grassy area like a park or your local sports field.

“As a beginner, stay away from sand as it can tire you out quickly,” says Kathy Donatto, Master Instructor from the US. “Also try to avoid concrete and rocky areas which can be tough on your body if you’re not used to them. My number one suggestion for location is just to pick a place where you feel happy and comfortable.”

2. What should I wear?

Choose active wear that allows you to freely move in all directions. If you can comfortably bend over, squat down or raise your arms overhead then you’re probably wearing the right clothing. Animal Flow is all about getting your hands and feet in contact with the ground so, where possible, kick off your shoes and socks for maximum benefit.

Master Instructor Kathy Donatto coaches fellow Master Instructor, Alisha Smith, through a Pop Out.

3. Am I too old / young / big / small / weak for Animal Flow?

No way, says Donatto. “Check me out, for instance. I’m not your typical-looking fitness trainer but I’m 51 and I feel almost invincible. Whether I have a little extra weight or no extra weight, I now feel that I can do whatever I want with this body and that’s amazing!”

“It can be tempting to compare yourself to others and it’s nice to have people to look up to, but this really is about you. Focus on your own journey, be proud of what you can do each day, and have fun.”

Movements can be modified to suit your existing fitness level and take into account a wide range of physical limitations.

4. Will it hurt my wrists?

In the same way that your muscles need to gradually get used to the healthy stress of unfamiliar movements, so do your wrists and hands. While it can be normal to experience some slight wrist discomfort at first, many Flowists experience nothing more than fatigue.

Beginning and ending each practice with Wrist Mobilizations is important for wrist care. So is gradually increasing your exposure to the ground.

“I like to say, ‘Sprinkle it in,’” says Donatto, of the frequency of your Animal Flow practice. “Then you can have heavy downpours. Be patient, take your time. It really is a journey so just take it little by little and enjoy it.”

And, of course, when embarking on any new exercise routine, it’s always important to seek medical clearance particularly if you’re concerned about a pre-existing condition.

5. Where can I learn the movements?

Something that’s just as important as finding the right physical environment for your practice is finding the right social environment.

With others

When you join one of our local Flowist Facebook groups you can connect with Certified Instructors and other enthusiasts in your area. Taking a class or attending a Jam (a gathering of people who Flow together) is a fun and motivating way to start your practice and get fit.

With a coach

Learning from a coach is a sure-fire way to be challenged and supported by someone who knows the fine details. Our huge global network of Certified Instructors deliver classes and sessions in over 40 countries. Find an instructor by joining a Facebook community group or follow our stories on Instagram for details on live and online classes.

On your own

If you’d prefer to get started on your own, then Animal Flow On Demand is the perfect option. You’ll find online tutorials on all movements in the Animal Flow library along with an ever-growing list of follow-along Flows and full length classes. You can also try this beginner class with Animal Flow creator, Mike Fitch.

At a workshop

Ready to immerse yourself in the knowledge behind the movements? Spend two days with one of our Master Instructors at a workshop and learn the entire Level 1 curriculum. You’ll have everything you need to create your own Flows and deepen your own practice, or prepare to become certified to teach others.

“Get a buddy, Flow with a family member, find a Certified Instructor or join a Jam,” encourages Donatto. “If there is one thing I wish I knew before deciding to take my first Animal Flow class, it would be just how good my whole body would feel after it. Animal Flow really is ‘movement for everybody.’”

Give Animal Flow a try by joining Mike Fitch, program creator, in this beginner-level sample class. Mike takes you through a 30-minute class including Wrist Mobilizations and a simple Flow created using four Level 1 movements: Loaded Beast, Front Step Through, Underswitch, and Jumping Side Kickthrough. All you need is your body and a little bit of space!