Ancestral Movement Mullumbimby Nov 30-Dec 1st – Embodied Evolution


A two day workshop delving into the concepts and practices of Ancestral Movement. The weekend will introduce a few foundational principles underlying the science of mind, body, ecology and evolution; and practices for transforming our bodies and our embodied sense of self at the deepest levels.

Practitioners of any and all disciplines working with the body will learn powerful practices to massively increase their own body awareness, physical intelligence, unusual strength and movement skill, understanding of how to work with and reduce injuries, physical learning abilities and sensitivity to the movements of others, and their understanding of human behaviour and our connection to the rest of the living world.

THIS IS A MOVEMENT WORKSHOP! Most of the time will be spent in practice, we will not talk for more than 30 minutes at a time, and the practices will be physically and mentally challenging and demanding, while still accessible to people of all body types and fitness levels.

Things we will cover:

Body maps, neuroplasticity, pain and chronic pain, emotion, empathy, communication, associative learning and memory.

Spinal freedom and power: simple and extremely effective exercises for mobilising, strengthening and softening around every individual spinal segment in every possible direction, revealing the spine as a sensitive and powerful snake-like structure capable of infinitely complex three dimensional movement and expression.

Abdomen and ribcage control: learning to voluntarily contract, relax and articulate every part of the pelvic floor and the deep muscles of the abdomen and ribcage.

Basic anatomy and physiology of the breathing cycle, implications for health, psychology, meditation and physical performance.

Directed breathing: learning to focus healing attention and direct the movements of the breath with precision into every part of the torso and every part of the spine, releasing chronic tensions and awakening the body from the inside out.

Solo and partner exercises which direct movement, effort and attention into all of the deepest forgotten areas of the body, using rhythmic waves, circles and spirals. Every part of body is softened, strengthened and mobilized in every direction from every angle and then re-integrated with the whole, training the full range of all of the joints and affecting all of the tissues from the skin through the muscles, connective tissues, blood vessels and lymphatic system, the nerves, organs, and bones.

Linking the central axis work with the four limbs reveals ancient patterns of movement that we have in common with other primates, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, fish, and even worms.

The animal or ancestral movement patterns are soft and fluid but extremely athletic. Training these patterns show us more and more clearly the traces of these ancestral forms still existing within our own bodies, and we develop more of the incredible power, grace and resilience of our animal cousins and human ancestors. Through this we gain a far deeper understanding of what is unique and special about human beings and human movement, and begin to feel ourselves as ancient and miraculous beings, fully at home on the earth.

Understanding links between posture, gesture, breathing and voice, feedback loops between the body and the brain, spatial awareness, forbidden movements and inhibition of movement, emotional contagion and entrainment, interspecies empathy, mimicry, tracking and physical theatre, nonverbal communication, cultures of embodiment and connection with the non-human world.

Developing sensitivity, the risks involved, “grounding” and the importance of strength training.

Interactions between different emotions, mind states, postures, movements, and breathing patterns and their effects on the nervous, cardio-vascular, endocrine, and immune systems.

Attention and awareness, deliberate cultivation of emotions and active imagination. Meditation, myth, memory and symbols. The storied body. Ancient traditions of mind-body transformation. Songlines, ritual and the art of memory. Body as landscape, landscape as body. The re-enchantment of the body and the world.

A modified version of the “Hun Yuan Qigong” set originally taught by the late Feng Zhi Qiang, as an example of supercharging or layering mind-body practice to contain all of the concepts described above.


Simon has over two decades of experience across a broad range of disciplines, including Chinese medicine and Western physical therapy, massage and bodywork, exercise rehabilitation, Yoga and Yoga therapy, Qigong, Pilates and the Feldenkrais method; Buddhist, Tantric and Daoist meditation and internal exercise; Capoeira, Japanese and Chinese martial arts, boxing and Muay Thai, wrestling and Brazilian Jujitsu, as well as an academic background in biology, anatomy and physiology, medical science, exercise science, neuroscience, and anthropology. He holds a bachelor’s degree in Health and Rehabilitation Science, and postgraduate science degrees in Biodiversity studies and Zoology.


The workshop will be suitable for movement enthusiasts, trainers, athletes, therapists, dancers, actors, meditators, yoga practitioners, people involved in combat sports and martial arts, rehabilitation practitioners, environmental educators, or anyone wishing to move better, feel better, and become more deeply engaged with the natural world through their own bodies.

COST: $500 for the weekend/$300 concession
(HALF PRICE – $250 – for people who attended my workshop in Mullum in 2017, or who have attended a retreat in the last year)

Places will be strictly limited and must be booked in advance.

CONCESSIONS: Those on lower incomes such as students, artists, people with disabilities etc, are all welcome and are invited to pay the reduced rate. Payment plans are advised for professionals who will use the work in their own practices. The concession policy is to keep this important work accessible to everyone, it is not for people to save money so they can pay for festivals, overseas holidays, or other people’s expensive workshops.

Further information about the method can be found here:

The Ancestral Movement facebook discussion group is here:

To book a spot or for any other questions, contact or 0431 166 737

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Ancestral Movement Summer Retreat, December 2019

Summer retreat in Araluen, December 14-21.
One solid week of camping, training, learning, exploring and awesome quiet times, in the beautiful Aussie bush of Araluen Valley, NSW, on the Deua River and Deua National Park.
Days are long in summer, so we will have time for three or four 1.5-3 hour movement sessions each day, plus rest times and dedicated space every afternoon to work on bushcraft skills.
Movement sessions each day will include a mix of “hard” and “soft” – or “external” and “internal” training: explorations of every part of the anatomy, learning simple effective tools for rehabilitating our physical ailments while developing strength, mobility, awareness, sensitivity and responsiveness through the entire body. These will also include explorations of the evolutionary history of each body part: the spine, the four limbs, the hands and feet, and the types of movements and different terrains and environments they have been adapted to over the millennia. Movements and anatomical traits we have in common with primates, other mammals, reptiles, fish, and even worms, primitive cell colonies and single-celled organisms, fungi, and plants, which help us feel, literally, the biological facts of our shared ancestry with the rest of the family of living organisms on the planet.
Simple breathing and meditation or awareness practices from various traditions, showing how these practices relate to fundamental human abilities in nonverbal communication, emotional regulation, bodily and spatial awareness, and how they can be practiced to progress from the most basic level to the most advanced.
Basic parkour, barefoot running, wrestling and BJJ, climbing, balancing, tumbling, partner and group games, juggling, acrobatics, contact improv, butoh exercises, capoeira, kali, and other martial arts.
Bushcraft and nature awareness practices including fire-by-friction, bush tucker and plant identification, weaving, basketry and rope or string making from natural fibres, primitive pottery, wood carving, stalking, and tracking.
Discussions of useful, relevant and fascinating aspects of human evolution, evolutionary biology, comparative anatomy and animal behavioural biology, neuroscience, anthropology and ecology will be infused throughout all of the practices each day, while the practices themselves work to anchor this learning deeply into our experience of the body and the rest of the natural world.
Our special guest teacher this time will be Daniel Sainty from Rewild Australia, returning again to retreat after several years. Dan is an amazing teacher of primitive skills, living the skills every day with his partner Danielle and their kids on a bush property in Yarrowitch, NSW, where they also run retreats. I’m not sure which skills he’ll be focusing on this time (so far I’ve heard mention of felting, ceramics, and I can’t remember what else…) but Dan also holds a black belt in Brasilian Jiujitsu, so we will definitely be getting some extra wrestling sessions in while he is with us.
Other guest teachers TBA!
The camp is minimal in terms of infrastructure, but open to people of all types of physical abilities and interests. Everyone is encouraged to try whatever they can, to enjoy rest whenever they need it, and every activity can be scaled according to each person’s abilities on the day.
COST: $1200, $900 concessions & regulars. A limited number of $600 volunteer spots will be available, but first preference for these will be given to returnees and regulars.
For bookings or more information email to
(Photo is of one of the local goannas, taken by the amazing and much-missed retreat regular Heike Qualitz)
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Spring Retreat – September 21-29, 2019

Spring Retreat in Araluen is going down, September 21-29th. Camping and training in the casuarina forest by the Deua river and national park in southern NSW, with the local goannas, birds to wake us up in the mornings, wombats cruising through the bush at night, eels in the river, an awesome bunch of humans.

As always we will be going deeper into the body with evolutionary movement practice, balance climbing and parkour on the bush jungle gym, internal yogic practices for progressively opening up the sensitivity and power of the deepest parts of the body, every part of the spine abdomen and ribcage, spinal breathing, whole-body breathing, pranayama and qigong, wrestling and BJJ, capoeira angola, eskrima, martial arts of all sorts, contact improvisation, juggling and acrobatics, strength mobility and agility work, injury-proofing and rehabilitation, massage, meditation and deep relaxation, exercises for the senses, and the imagination.

Discussions of ecology and evolutionary biology, comparative anatomy and physiology, the science of pain, injury and rehabilitation, the practical neuroscience of meditation, memory, emotion, nonverbal communication and embodiment.

Bushcraft, wilderness skills and nature-art workshops every afternoon, ongoing once people start their projects. These sessions could include fire-by-friction, basketry, wood carving, ceramics, learning edible and medicinal plants, tracking, stalking, archery or spear-throwing, hide tanning or leather working, nature awareness skills, making paints, eco-printing, all depending on the weather, what resources are available in the landscape, and people’s inclinations at the time.

Beautiful bush to explore, a camp library full of amazing books, hammocks, hot fire baths, a clear river to swim in, and plenty of time to really deeply chill. We have no clocks and no phone reception on retreat (there’s phone reception up the hill).

We will be organising another visit with Patricia Ellis, Yuin elder from Moruya, sharing knowledge and culture of the Yuin people who have lived on and maintained this country for countless thousands of years. Other guest teachers include Janet Ranken and Harry Townsend, both sharing amazing skills and knowledge in the bushcraft and skills sessions and holding things down in the craft space every day. Our main guest teacher and further special guests still TBC.

Cost is $1200 (this does not include food). $900 for regulars or concessions, and several half-price ($600) spaces available for volunteers. Further concessions are always available by negotiation for people who need them, and also payment plans for people who need to pay in instalments over time.

$400 deposits are required to save a spot. Numbers are strictly limited, the last few have all booked out quickly so don’t leave it to the last minute if you really want to come.

For further enquiries or to book a spot please email

and the ancestral movement facebook group if you’re not already there:

(jungle gym photo by Rafael Florez)

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