Autumn retreat review


Back from retreat.

We’re really starting to get somewhere I think. On the movement front, we upgraded the jungle gym to new levels of awesomeness, with massive logs between big trees at all angles so you can balance and climb and swing and crawl all over the place and never have to do the same thing twice. Little by little we are going ever-deeper into the segmental spinal movements, and linking them with all of the fundamental animal movement patterns externally, and linking them with the inner movements of the abdomen and the thorax, the ability to direct breath into specific segments of the spine and central axis, repatterning the lifetime of associations tangled up with body and breath using the beginning stages of the Buddha’s anapanasati – mindfulness based on the breath.

Wrestling, contact improv, acrobatics, natural style tumbling, gymnastics strength, whole-body three dimensional mobility, capoeira angola, exploratory dance and butoh, feldenkrais/bodymind centering explorations of the inner tube from mouth to anus, pranayama foundations and Wim Hof breathing, cold water immersion and soaking in the hot fire baths, Hun Yuan qigong as nature worship.

People brought along some freshly killed animals found by the side of the road, so there was some skinning and hide tanning of kangaroos and foxes, bone broths, roo tail cooked on the fire the traditional way and smoking of kangaroo meat to make jerky in a big smoker made of tree bark. We ate eels caught in the river, practiced stalking and tracked roos wallabies pigs foxes dogs and wombats in the rain, made string and rope out of stringy bark, dyed fibres and wove baskets, practiced making fire with hand drills, carved wood, foraged edible and medicinal plants, and learned about fermenting foods. We told stories around the fire and talked about myths and initiation and traditional ways of life still practiced in communities in Arnhem land. On the last day we had a show and tell of things we’d made, and there was a big spread of baskets, hats, shoes and moccasins, bows and spears and special sticks, spoons, plant-dyed scarves and clothes, jewelry, pottery and other stuff. It really felt like with a bit more time and practice we could actually become a functional community of competent human beings, living in relationship with the land and able to feed ourselves and make the things we’d need to live directly out of our environments. What a crazy thought.

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Autumn Retreat!

(photograph by Rafael Florez)

Autumn Retreat – Araluen, May 9-18

Yep, it’s retreat time again. Nine days in the bush, by the river next to the national park, no schedule, all of the activities and lots of time to sink in, relax and connect.

Movement, everything we can pack in, for every body type and every fitness level. From body awareness to natural parkour, dance, wrestling, evolutionary anatomy with monkey lizard cat worm and fish movements, whole body mobility and strength to become a bit more like a gorilla crossed with an octopus, wrestling, contact improvisation, acrobalance, capoeira, acrobatics, qigong, martial arts from around the world, exercise rehabilitation for every part of the body, rock lifting, climbing and balancing.
Meditation, traditional practices from various traditions, in-depth breathing practices, sensory awareness exercises, visualisation and contemplation methods to awaken and heal the body, supercharge our physical practices, transform the sense of self, embody four billion years of ancestry and reconnect with the natural world.

“Rewilding” nature connection practices and ancestral skills, making fire with friction, foraging for bush tucker, making tools or special objects with stone bone and wood, rope making and basket weaving using natural fibres, primitive pottery, spear making and throwing, archery, tracking and stalking, natural camouflage, bird language, exploring the bush, and whatever else we can come up with. There’s even talk of setting up a bush forge to do some primitive metallurgy.

Guest teachers this time will include Kate Rydge and Sam Robertson (Nature Philosophy), Stuart Gadenne (Tengeri Natural Fitness, former Movnat teacher and member of the Australian special forces), Ei Yang (ReNourish ReWild), Janet Ranken (Wandering Earth), dancer and choreographer Debora Di Centa, Feldenkrais practitioner Eva Culek, and Thomas Emerson (Emerson Athletics)

As always, people are welcome to come for as many days as they are able, but we ask that people stay for at least two nights so that there is enough time to relax, settle in and get to know people.

The cost is $150 per day, payment plans and concessions of basically any amount are always available to people who genuinely need them, so that this beautiful event can remain accessible to people from all backgrounds at any level of income. Please note, this concession policy is not here so that people can simply “pay as they feel”, it is specifically for people on low incomes: students, artists, young families, people with disabilities or health issues, or others who need it.

This is a minimal camping event with very little infrastructure (ie no electricity, no buildings, showers etc), and it is a drug and alcohol free event.
For bookings and inquiries please contact

Facebook event is here:
Also check the facebook group here:

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Deeper Aspects of Ancestral Movement Workshop – Melbourne, March 18-19

A two day workshop delving further into some of the inner practices of Ancestral Movement. This weekend will focus on the science of mind and body and practices for transforming our embodied sense of self at the deepest levels.

Things we will cover:


Body maps, neuroplasticity, pain science, mirror neurons, empathy and nonverbal communication.


Spinal freedom and spinal power: safe, simple and incredibly effective exercises for opening up, strengthening and mobilising every individual spinal segment in every possible direction.

Abdominal and chest control: learning to voluntarily contract and relax every part of the pelvic floor and the deep muscles of the abdomen and ribcage.

Directed breathing: the art of focusing the attention and movements of the breath into every part of the torso and every part of the spine. Physiology of the breathing cycle, implications for health, psychology, and physical performance.


Solo and partner exercises which direct movement, effort and attention into all of the deepest hidden areas of the body. Every part of the feet, ankles, knees, hips, shoulders, elbows, wrists, hands, the pelvis, all of the ribs and every part of the spine is strengthened and mobilized in every direction, from every angle, affecting all of the body tissues from the skin through the muscles, connective tissues, blood vessels and lymphatic system, the nerves, organs, and bones.


Ancient patterns of anatomy and of movement that we have in common with other primates, mammals, reptiles and amphibians, fish, and even worms. Helping us develop more of the strength, agility, and resilience of our animal cousins and human ancestors and to feel ourselves as ancient and miraculous beings, fully at home on the earth.


Posture, gesture, breathing and voice, feedback loops between the body and the brain. Contact and spatial awareness. Forbidden movements and inhibition of movement.

Humans as mimics. Emotional contagion and entrainment. Interspecies empathy, mimicry and tracking. Cultures of embodiment and our sense of connection with the rest of the natural world.


Effects of different emotions, mind states, postures, movements, and breathing patterns on the nervous, cardio-vascular, endocrine, and immune systems.


Attention, awareness, cultivating emotions and active imagination. Myth, memory and symbols: filling the body with stories. Songlines, magic, and the ancient art of memory. Body as landscape, landscape as body. Re-enchantment of the body and the world.


A modified version of the “Hun Yuan Qigong” set originally taught by Feng Zhi Qiang, as a perfect 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, Hindu, 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.


THIS IS A MOVEMENT AND PRACTICE-BASED WORKSHOP! Every topic will be explored in depth through movement, awareness exercises, simple meditation techniques, and partner work.

The workshop will be suitable for movement enthusiasts, dancers, actors, meditators, yoga practitioners, martial artists, rehabilitation practitioners, therapists, environmental educators, or anyone wishing to get more in touch with the natural world or their own bodies.

Participation will be BY DONATION, with the suggested payment of $200 per day. Those on lower incomes such as students, etc, are still very welcome and are invited to come and pay whatever they are able, and to feel good about it.
HALF-PRICE offer, for anyone who attends the workshop on the previous weekend as well, or who attended the Ancestral Movement workshop in Melbourne in August last year.

Further infromation about the method can be found here:

A link to the facebook event:

The Ancestral Movement facebook discussion group is here:

For any other questions, contact or 0431 166 737

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