Awakening Through the Body – November 18/19th, Mullumbimby NSW

A two day workshop delving into the world of Ancestral Movement. The weekend will introduce a few key principles underlying the entire science of mind and body, and practices for transforming our embodied sense of self at the deepest levels.

Practitioners of any and all disciplines working with the body will massively increase their own body awareness, physical intelligence and movement skill, their 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 AND PRACTICE-BASED WORKSHOP. We will not talk for more than 30 minutes at a time, and the practices will be demanding and challenging but 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 spinal power: simple and incredibly effective exercises for strengthening and mobilising around every individual spinal segment in every possible direction, making the entire spine into a sensitive and powerful structure capable of infinitely complex three dimensional movement.

Abdomen and ribcage control: learning to voluntarily contract and relax 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, and physical performance.

Directed breathing: learning to focus the 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 waves, circles and spirals. Every part of body is strengthened and mobilized in every direction, from every angle, and then re-integrated with the whole, affecting all of the tissues from the skin through the muscles, connective tissues, blood vessels and lymphatic system, the nerves, organs, and bones.

Integrating the central axis work with the rest of the body 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 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.

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

Attention and awareness, cultivating 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 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, 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.


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

COST: $400 for the weekend.

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 whatever they are able. Payment plans are advised for professionals who will use the work in their own practices. My 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 infromation 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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Spring Retreat 2017

It’s happening again! End of winter, beginning of spring, and our first two-week long retreat! You don’t have to come for the whole time, just an absolute minimum of two nights so there is time to drop in, relax and connect. Camping in the bush by the beautiful river and national park, trees and rocks, goannas, kangaroos and wombats, learning, exploring and training with great people.

Several hours (as much as you can handle) of movement practice every day:

Practices to wake up, strengthen, mobilise and express with each and every little bit of the body, to rehabilitate all of our old injuries and to bullet-proof the body against new ones;

Practices of moving the body through space, up and down off the ground with ease and grace, tumbling climbing running crawling rolling jumping and balancing;

Partner work exploring contact, proximity, creativity, cooperation and challenge, wrestling, capoeira, martial arts from around the world, games, acrobatics and massage;

“Yogic” aspects: profound explorations of the central axis of the body, spinal undulations and the ancestral animal movements which come out of them, segmental abdominal and thoracic control, spinal breathing and centreline breathing, the foundations of breath control for health and meditation, pranayama, Wim Hof, qigong, and the science of body, breath and mind, of empathy, emotion, and the sense of self.

Throughout the retreat everyone who wants to will also get the chance to learn and work on a wide range of “ancestral skills” and crafts: making fire by friction, making cordage from natural fibers, basket weaving, plant identification and bush tucker foraging, wood carving, hide tanning and leather work, traditional food preparation, making and throwing spears, archery, tracking, stalking, bird language and sensory awareness, primitive fishing, and hopefully this time even some primitive metallurgy in our first ever bush forge.

All that, as well as the camp library, communal kitchen, hammocks, fire baths by the river, chats around the central campfire, the combined knowledge and skills of an amazing community of people, spontaneous workshops and skill swaps, loads of time to chill.

A NOTE ON CONCESSIONS: The full cost is $150 per day, up to a maximum of $1200. To keep this event accessible to people of all backgrounds, those on low incomes or with disabilities etc are welcome to concessions of essentially any amount, according to their needs. Payment plans are also accepted.

DEPOSITS ($300 standard) ARE ESSENTIAL TO SECURE A SPOT. In case of cancellations, deposits will be held towards any future retreats or workshops for up to one year.

For more information or to book a spot, contact

Ancestral Movement facebook group:

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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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