(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 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ancestral Movement, Outdoor Training Workshop – Melbourne, March 11-12
A two day, outdoor workshop exploring aspects of natural human movement in different environments.
Facebook event is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/950625825069063/
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.
Facebook event is here: https://www.facebook.com/events/1845104565762384/
Our natural movement and rewilding retreats happen approximately every three months (one per season), in the Araluen Valley, near Braidwood, NSW. Nine days – in total, although participants can come for as few or as many days as they like – camping in the bush by the Deua river, next to national park, with no clocks, no schedule (but SO MANY ACTIVITIES!), a big campfire, trees and kangaroos and goannas and eels and big trees everywhere, lots of time to train, learn, explore, relax and play.
DATES FOR THE NEXT RETREAT WILL BE ANNOUNCED SOON. The approximate date is MAY 8-18th, slightly different to our usual Saturday through to the following Sunday structure, and slightly delayed, both because we are attending the “Nature 2” retreat offered by our good friends Kate Rydge and Sam Robertson of “Nature Philosophy”.
Some important information for anyone who has never attended one of these before:
– Infrastructure is extremely minimal. Bring your own tent or swag, sleeping gear, and food. We have a camp kitchen with barbecue and some pots and pans and camp ovens for cooking on the fire, some big eskis and plastic tubs to keep animals out of the veges. We mostly share our food, but anything you want to keep for yourself you can just keep aside somewhere out of the communal area.
– There are no bathrooms in the bush! We swim and bathe in the river. Toilet facilities consist of a wooden platform with squat toilet up on the hillside. If that’s a problem, then this retreat is not for you.
– Drinking water is from the owner of the property’s rainwater tank about 15 minutes walk around the bend, we will make regular trips over to fill up our big water drums so there is no need to bring your own drinking water unless you want to.
Please note that this is a drug and alcohol free event.
‘NATURAL MOVEMENT’ Could mean anything you wanted it to really. For us, it does mean that, literally any activity which people might (or might not) enjoy doing, but our focus is on:
– exploring and developing strength, mobility, agility of the whole body.
– the role and potential of the mind and emotions, the senses, attention, awareness, imagination, and empathy.
– the ways all of these movements and abilities allow us to engage with our environments and with each other.
– what all of this reveals about our deep and ancient ancestry and our kinship with all other species living on the earth.
– developing an ever-deeper, more detailed, more full and more rich embodied feeling of ourselves and what it is to be a living human being.
From the first write-up of our original group in Canberra:
“Freedom of movement in every direction from every position: lying down, sitting, kneeling squatting all-fours and standing. Every possible variation of rolling, crawling, squatting, swimming walking running jumping climbing balancing lifting throwing and wrestling. Incorporating concepts and methods from any and every culture and tradition, including somatic traditions like Yoga, Pilates, Feldenkrais, Qigong; Excercise rehabilitation; Capoeira, Chinese Japanese Brazilian Filipino and Russian martial arts, dance of all sorts including contact improvisation and Butoh; Movnat, Parkour and the Methode Naturelle; oldschool strength training, Monkey Gym, Stretch Therapy and gymnastics; animal mimicry, hiding, sneaking, and games of all sorts. An ongoing exploration of human ancestry through movement in different environments.”
We will continue our ongoing discussions of the sciences of mind and body and how they can be used to interpret the traditions of mind-body transformation, physical culture, psychology, art and religious or spiritual practice in different parts of the world. Depending on the things being worked on and who is present and interested, these discussions will include varying amounts of anatomy and comparative anatomy (comparing anatomical differences and similarities amongst different species), physiology, immunology, endocrinology, and a very strong component of practical neuroscience and pain science. We will always cover in some form the basics of systems theory and frameworks of the “biopsychosocial model” of health and the field of psychoneuroimmunology, and relate them back to all of our various physical and mental practices and every other aspect of our lives.
‘REWILDING’ is an attempt to return to, or even just investigate, the ways of living of pre-agricultural human societies. Developing our senses by foraging for edible and medicinal plants and tracking or stalking animals, training our bodies and minds by moving through different terrains in different seasons, wrestling and playing and doing basic things like chopping wood, carrying water. Exploring how our lives have been changed by domestication, and how we can gain some measure of freedom from our domesticated existence by learning primitive skills like fire-making, basketry or wood carving, learning how to find our own food, and creating cultures of connection with our local landscapes.
Please contact me (Simon) directly to make a deposit and secure a place on the retreat:
0431 166 737
In the meantime you are welcome to join the Ancestral Movement facebook group (or just add me as a friend), and get in touch if you’re keen or would like to know more.