Ancestral Movement is an approach to practice exploring the patterns of anatomy and biomechanics retained in the human species through our four-billion year evolutionary history, from the ancient oceans to the present day.


Training these patterns can awaken strengths and movement abilities from the very depths of the body, abilities which form the foundation of all human movement but which are often hidden due to layers of tension and cultural conditioning.

Working with the fundamental movement patterns of the torso and central axis, and of the four limbs we uncover universal movements common to all primates, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, fish, and even worms and other invertebrates – and through this we get a greater appreciation of the incredible movement abilities that are completely unique to our species.

We gain more of the inherent power, agility, natural grace and ease of movement of our animal cousins; a deeper experience felt in our bodies of the fact of our evolution over geological time and our shared ancestry with all other living creatures.

Ancestral Movement incorporates deep and very physical embodied practice with comparative anatomy, basic neuroscience, evolutionary biology, animal behaviour, physical and cultural anthropology. This powerful model helps us to see a common theme within all embodied experience and running through human physical cultures across the world, from modern pain science and injury rehabilitation to psychology, yoga and Eastern meditation, devotional or religious practices, dance, ritual, anthropomorphism, animism, theatre, storytelling and mythology.

Although the material is quite “conceptual”, this is a MOVEMENT workshop, concepts will be directly applied and we will be practicing movement for almost the entire time. The practices are accessible to people of virtually any level of strength and fitness, but will be challenging for even very advanced movers or athletes.


– The practical science of body awareness: basic neuroanatomy, neuroplasticity, sensation & motor control, awareness & attention, pain, emotion, memory, nonverbal communication.

– Awakening the torso: exercises for feeling, relaxation, strength, power, responsiveness and expressivity of every contractile structure of the abdomen, pelvis, and ribcage.

– Awakening the spine: opening up fully three-dimensional movement at each individual vertebral joint, developing a sensitive and powerful spine like that of a snake or an eel.

– Spinal breathing and whole-body breathing: learning to direct the breath into specific parts of the spine or torso at will, using relaxation and internal pressure, and eventually to develop blissfully relaxed whole-body breath and internal awareness.

– Wave movement, connecting the limbs: linking the two primary body waves with the four limbs to generation the basic patterns of animal locomotion, crawling, jumping, walking.

– Spiral movement: leading with the eyes, reaching and rolling, turning, tumbling and carthweeling, soft sensitive and agile three-dimensional movement.

– Mind and imagination in physical practice.


Simon is a lifetime practitioner of mind-body traditions and physical culture with a background in evolutionary biology and medical science. He has extensive experience in Yoga, Buddhist meditation, Shiatsu, Thai Massage, Chinese medicine, Capoeira Angola and several Asian martial arts as well as Western physical therapy, exercise rehabilitation, Feldenkrais and Pilates. He is currently living in Australia teaching small regular movement classes, training Brazilian jujitsu, learning wilderness survival skills up and down the east coast, and working towards a Master’s degree in Ecology. He also runs a seasonal movement retreat in the forest in southern New South Wales.

Facebook event is here:

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Autumn Retreat 2019

Autumn Retreat is happening in Araluen, May 18-25th.

Seven days camping, learning, training and relaxing in the beautiful forest by the Deua river and national park in southern NSW.

Two or three full facilitated movement sessions each day, plus constant impromptu small sessions happening whenever there is a spare moment, evolutionary movements to rediscover the inner animal powers, balance climbing parkour and games on the massive bush jungle gym, internal yogic practices for opening up and strengthening all of the deepest parts of the body, spinal waves, spinal breathing, whole-body breathing, pranayama and qigong, wrestling, capoeira, 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.

Infused throughout the movement sessions will be 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, and 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.

Of course there is also beautiful bush to explore, the retreat 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.

Our exciting guest teacher this time is Lalita Ramona Yagnik, coming up from Melbourne to share the Indian martial art of Kalaripayattu! Ramona has trained extensively in India for many years, and is one of the first and only teachers of this art in Australia, plus she’s also an Ayurveda practitioner and naturopath. I’m excited.

We will also have another visit with Patricia Ellis, a Yuin elder from Moruya, sharing knowledge and culture of the Yuin people who have lived on the 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. 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:

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A two day intensive focusing on principles of intelligent movement: body awareness, whole-body connection, balance and stability, three-dimensional movement, injury rehab and antifragility, elasticity, spatial skills, ground mobility, intelligent strength, relaxation under pressure, “flow”, creativity, sensitivity and communication.

All topics will be explored with a range of solo movement practices, partner exercises and games. There will be a small amount of basic theory covering important practical elements of anatomy and physiology, the neuroscience of body awareness and pain, and evolutionary biology.

COST: $400 full/$300 concession

Half-price for anyone who has attended a full Ancestral Movement retreat or workshop with me in the last year (or who is booked into the upcoming retreat in January). Further concessions and/or payment plans are available by negotiation for anyone who needs them.

BOOKINGS ARE ESSENTIAL, spaces are limited: To book a spot, or make enquiries, please email

ABOUT ME (Simon Thakur):

I’m a teacher and practitioner of movement, long-time student of human biology and rehabilitation, meditator, general science nerd and evolutionary biology nut. I have a degree in Rehabilitation Science, an advanced diploma in Myotherapy, diplomas in remedial massage and Shiatsu/traditional Chinese medical massage, and a pile of certificates in all sorts of bodywork and physical training. I’ve studied Yoga, Chinese “internal” martial arts, and Capoeira Angola for years with some of the world’s best teachers, lived for close to ten years in Asia learning local languages and practicing full-time with the best teachers I could find, and am currently living in Canberra teaching a bit, working on a graduate degree in evolutionary biology and ecology, and studying Brazilian jujitsu in whatever spare time I get. I also run retreats in the bush in southeastern NSW where we do all sorts of nature-based movement and meditation type stuff and mix it up with bushcraft, basic wilderness survival, and other activities which might have something to do with “nature connection”, “rewilding”, “deep ecology” and so on.

A link to the facebook event:

More information can be found at or you can check out the facebook group at

Photo (by Heike Qualitz) is from our retreat a few years back with visiting guest teacher Shira Yaziv of Athletic Playground in Oakland, California.

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