Animal flow. It sounds raw and wild, which are exactly the sensations that this ground-based movement style aims to evoke. Animal flow is a fluid way of moving that uses a combination of movements designs to elicit specific results. Created by Mike Fitch, an innovative fitness educator and movement coach with 20 years of experience in the fitness industry, Animal Flow draws from his experiences with gymnastics, yoga, parkour and breakdancing.
He realised that the common thread that ran throughout these disciplines is the use of animal movements along with the emphasis of flow. He developed specific ways to integrate animal patterns and other bodyweight-focused movements to create Animal Flow.
Animal flow can be practiced anywhere, with no equipment. The practice involves flowing from one position to another, opening up the body and using stabilising muscles.
The specific range of movements and combinations of Animal Flow are called “The Six Components” and are designed to elicit certain results. To create an Animal Flow sequence, some or all of these Six Components are combined in a myriad of ways.
THE SIX COMPONENTS OF ANIMAL FLOW
Wrist mobilizations are simple, yet effective movements used to prepare the hands and wrists for the challenges of Animal Flow. Healthy wrists are so important to the success of both novice and experienced flow-ists, that it's the first of six components that make up the AF system.
Animal Flow activations are a way of "waking up" the body and encouraging it to communicate with itself. Activations are a way to bring conscious awareness to your body and its interaction with the ground. The AF practice uses two activation positions, Beast and Crab, which are foundational forms in the overall program.
FORM SPECIFIC STRETCHES
The goal of the FSSs is to encourage a combination of flexibility and stability (i.e. mobility) throughout the entire body, building "strength through motion." Each FSS begins in an animal base position and moves through various end ranges of motion.
Traveling forms are the animal locomotive movements. They represent the mimicking of animals to improve the function of the "human animal." The basic traveling forms are known as the ABCs of animal movements: Ape, Beast, and Crab, along with their variations.
SWITCHES & TRANSITIONS
The S&Ts make up the bulk of the "flow" in the AF practice. These are dynamic movements that can be linked together to form endless combinations or can stand alone as a powerful exercise or drill. The four base S&T categories are Underswitch, Side Kickthrough, Scorpion and Front Kickthrough.
Flows are predesigned sequences where movements are linked together to create a continuous series of motion. Once you’ve learned a Flow, you can decide how you would like to use it as your complete workout or integrate it into your regular workout style. How you make the most of your Flow practice is truly up to you.
At ZONE, we consider movement one of the best ways to Find Your ZONE, and this is definitely the case for Animal Flow.
Fitch says some people think of Animal Flow as training, but others call it "movement meditation."
Moving in a primal way that invites you to concentrate on each breath and to figure out where your body is in space allows you to be absorbed in the flow and to connect to yourself. Although Animal Flow is relatively new (the first class was held in Miami in 2010) there is a growing body of evidence that show it’s benefits for strength, functional movement, range of motion, muscular strength, endurance, alignment and cognition.
To learn more about Animal Flow - https://animalflow.com/
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