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 email@example.com
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: https://www.facebook.com/events/212376346328323/
Photo (by Heike Qualitz) is from our retreat a few years back with visiting guest teacher Shira Yaziv of Athletic Playground in Oakland, California.
SUMMER RETREAT, JANUARY 2019
JANUARY 19-27th. Eight days of camping in the beautiful forest in the Araluen valley, southeast NSW, next to the Deua river and Deua national park. A bit of time out to come back home to our bodies, to sink back into the landscape, learn all sorts of amazing physical and practical skills, meditate and maybe think a little bit about how we all got here and what we want to do with our lives.
As always we will have a basic schedule two or three full movement sessions together every day, as well as a 2-3 hour wilderness skills, arts and crafts session every afternoon, and some night time activities as well. Evolutionary movements, breathing and pranayama, jungle gym practice, capoeira parkour contact improv tai chi wrestling climbing tumbling balancing rock lifting juggling strength training injury rehabilitation acrobatics massage internal organ work martial arts meditation qigong and so forth will all be happening, and in the craft space and bushcraft times there’ll be wood carving, weaving, ceramics, tracking, making and throwing spears, archery, learning and finding edible and medicinal plants, fire-by-friction, making paints and dyes with plants clay rocks and ash, maybe some hide tanning or leather working, knife sharpening and safe effective knife usage workshops, wood chopping (lots of wood chopping) and all sorts of nature awareness activities.
Yes we really do do a lot of activities! but also everything is optional, there is plenty of time for rest, a little retreat library with lots of amazing books, hammocks, beautiful nature to explore and walk in, various activities of different intensities happening daily, and a general vibe of encouragement for doing things at your own pace. There’s also a beautiful river to swim in and a couple of bathtubs next to the river which we can light fires under, which is nice.
Other exciting news is that Craig Mallett (AKA “Craig”) is finally returning from overseas and Sydney adventures to be our guest teacher! So he’ll presumably be sharing awesome Daoist internal and external practices as well as natural parkour and various other made up stuff. Plus Janet Ranken and Harry Townsend will be doing things in the craft lands, one or two other guest teachers of movement and crafty stuff are still to be confirmed, and of course lots of the regular amazing crew will be there with all of their wealth of knowledge, skill, and good vibes.
Cost is $1200 (this does not include food). $900 for regulars or concessions, and again there will be several half-price ($600) spaces available for volunteers. Further concessions are available by negotiation for people who really need them, and also payment plans are totally fine for people who need to pay in instalments over time.
$400 deposits are required to save a spot. Numbers are strictly limited, and the last few have all booked out quite quickly and I had to turn a bunch of people away which was a bit sad, so don’t leave it to the last minute if you really want to come.
Great. For further enquiries or to book a spot please email me (Simon) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
and the facebook event page, and ancestral movement facebook group if you’re not already there:
AUTUMN RETREAT 2018 Feat. RAFE KELLEY!
Evolve Move Play and Ancestral Movement are teaming up once more for a week long camp, exploring the human organism and our unique and incredible adaptation to the living world through movement training, sensory awareness, breathing and meditation, bushcraft, story telling, neuroscience, rehabilitation science and much more.
With Rafe Kelley coming all the way from Seattle to join us again as our guest teacher, we will practice our extraordinary mix of movement, body awareness, training in the trees and rocks by the river, on the huge natural jungle gym and all through the forest, learning natural movement, dance and wrestling, martial arts, meditation and qigong, and also get Rafe’s insights on all of the same plus his own vast expertise in natural parkour and embodiment practices all grounded in evolutionary biology and anthropology. We will go deep into the evolutionary anatomy of the human body, the ancestral movement patterns that we share with all other living creatures on the earth, and discover the range of movements and behaviours completely unique to human beings.
We’ll also be deepening our explorations of nature connection through foraging for edible and medicinal plants, fire making, working with wood leather and stone, basketry and rope making, primitive pottery, archery and spear throwing, animal tracking, stalking, bird language and other sensory awareness practices.
We’ll delve deeper into psychoneuroimmunology, practical neuroscience, and various ancient and modern methods of mind-body practice to not only rehabilitate any injuries and massively improve our movement abilities but simultaneously influence every system of the body to improve health and fundamentally transform the sense of self and our experience of the living world.
Most importantly, we will be camping together for 7 days in the beautiful bush (in the Araluen Valley NSW), by a beautiful river, next to a beautiful national park, with no clocks, no phones, no internet, and nothing to do but hang out and enjoy ourselves, train hard, learn amazing and important skills for living good wholesome lives, and get some serious rest in the lush peaceful forest.
This is a fairly minimalist camping experience but is not “hardcore” – we will all be bringing our own food and cooking together in the basic camp kitchen, and we will be doing 6+ hours of practice of different sorts every day, but the practices will be tailored to the group and accessible to absolutely anyone of any level of physical ability.
The material covered will be life-changing for any human being, and will be invaluable for any movement practitioner, teacher, performer, therapist, meditator, rehabilitation or health practitioner of any sort, environmental educator or wilderness skills enthusiast, or anyone wanting to engage more deeply with their own bodies and the rest of the natural world.
$1950 for the week
$1750 for registrations before March 15
$1200 special offer for regular retreat attendees, contact Simon to confirm.
For ticket information please contact email@example.com
(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.