What is primal flow? This was a question that popped into my head when an interesting YouTube video was suggested to me by the website's algorithm. A doctor recommended I start looking into yoga to strengthen my core, as it has always been one of the weak links in my physique - as I was investigating, I came across this video, and I was completely fascinated by the different movements demonstrated. It reminded me a lot of my Capoeira classes, and I began to think that using these movements could lead to me developing great functional strength if I were to ever return to Capoeira.
It was honestly quite hard to find information on the subject - almost every website that popped up in my search results just included shameless self-promotion for $800 courses! I was eventually, however, able to come up with some details. Primal flow is also referred to as animal flow. It aims to focus on a number of "primal" movements, which are supposed to increase your functional strength and carry over these benefits to your other sports. These primal movements include:
These are known as the 7 Primal Movements. For those that don't know, "gait" refers to exercises such as running or walking. The exercises used to strengthen these 7 movements (those found within animal flow yoga) are, according to Kaizen Performance Centre, "low impact" and "natural". This is perfect for fitness enthusiasts who are interested in forming a connection with the more animalistic nature in our bodies and psyches. Many of these exercises can look very odd, but after trying out a couple myself, they felt oddly satisfying.
Nevertheless, it can be intimidating to try something new. This is why I recommend this article for a good beginner workout. I currently haven't been able to try all of the exercises as I've injured my knees (nothing serious, don't worry) but the ones I have tried, certainly felt like they were a good step forward into beginning this.
The benefits of yoga are numerous, but yoga isn't for everyone - I am not one to be interested in holding odd looking positions for extended periods of time. Yet this type of yoga, feels much more welcoming for martial artists and gym folks as many of the exercise seem to be focused on the repetition of movements, rather than the static holding of different positions. Much of the more advanced movements are feats of strength on their own. It also seems that these motions improve flexibility through dynamic stretching.
To many, animal flow might seem like a rebrand of calisthenics, but with a cooler name. It's a fair enough way to look at it. Both are methods designed to improve functional strength without the neccesity for excessive amounts of training equipment. One of the primary differences, would be that the motions are quite different. There are many exercises I have found when investigating primal flow, that I have simply never come across during my time researching calisthenics.
In conclusion, animal flow is a great way to increase strength, mobility, and flexibility of your muscles, body and joints. Once I have completely recovered from my injuries, I will personally be using it in an attempt to increase my core strength and balance.