More recent videos are added at the top of the page, and can all be found at youtube.com/user/AncestralMovement.
A few movements based on the “Hun Yuan Gong Fa” of Feng Zhi Qiang (Chen style Hun Yuan Taijiquan), but with the emphasis on “washing” peaceful, powerful, joyful, energised awareness through the different parts of the body and out into the space around the body. Very simple but very powerful, gradual changing of the body maps and spatial maps in the brain, and rewiring their connections with the deeper emotional centres and autonomic centres in the brainstem. Slowly but surely changing the sense of self and of three dimensional space on a neurological level, gaining more conscious influence over the activities of the endocrine and immune systems, and improving our ability to change the focus of awareness from the very small details inside the body to the infinitely large outside world:
Some Baguazhang foundation exercises for developing strength and flexibility through the hips, legs, back and torso, and for gradually developing coordination and whole body connected power while changing heights, twisting and bending through three planes of motion. Filmed at our retreat spot in Araluen valley, NSW (Australia), in May 2016.
A talk I gave at the second “Ancestral Alchemy” workshop in Sydney, where I was teaching alongside my good friends and associates Craig Mallett and Dave Wardman. This was an introduction to the basic concepts of ancestral movement – body maps, neuroplasticity, empathy, ancestry and animal mimicry – before we got into some movements:
A long playlist of “springy body” exercises, for developing coordination and training the muscles and connective tissues (yes I mean fascia) for relaxed whole-body elastic power. These are amazing exercises, conditioning and connecting all of the muscles and joints from every angle, I really recommend them for rehabilitation and “pre-habilitation”, for sports and especially for martial arts:
Some more stuff from 2014, essentially a continuation of part 3 of the “evolutionary movement patterns” series, on rotation:
Another three part series, on “waking up the feet”, from 2013:
A 3 part series on the basic spinal movements and their links to whole-body movement patterns, from late 2012. These were the first three that I shared publicly which directly related to the “ancestral movement” concept that I had been playing with in my own practice for some years previously:
Some older Yoga stuff from 2011:
Standing forward bend – Consciously relaxing and then activating all of the extensor muscles of the back, with the breath. We use the return movement to begin learning how to feel and switch on the parts of the back which are weak.
Asymmetrical forward bend – To take the effects of the forward bend/relaxing the back and the return movement/contracting the back into either side of the spine, shoulders and hips, to begin to address left-right asymmetries.
Standing twist and side bends – Some of the other classic standing postures, linking breath and movement so that each posture is actually a breathing exercise. The twist alternately contracts and lengthens the spiral-diagonal lines connecting the opposite hips and shoulders. Going down on exhalation the diagonal from the inner arch of the left foot up the inside of the left hip to the front of the right shoulder is contracted, which lengthens the line of muscles all the way from the back of the right shoulder across the outside of the left hip and down to the outer edge of the left foot. On the return movement all of the muscles along the line which was lengthened are simultaneously and mindfully contracted, another of the important principles of movement in this system: alternately lengthening and contracting muscle groups that connect through the entire body, so that every part gets to move slowly and mindfully through the full range of motion and experience and expand the entire range of muscle activation from fully contracted to fully relaxed and everything in between.
The side bends demonstrated at the end of the clip show how the breathing and movement are carried into the frontal plane, alternately lengthening and contracting lateral lines along the outsides of the body, between the pelvis and the ribcage and the sides of the legs.
Supine bridge variations – These show how contraction of the back, hips and hamstrings down to the feet allows the front of the body to relax and lengthen, helping to open the ribcage during inhalation. The variations show how to make the posture asymmetrical in order to direct the effort and effects into one side or the other, to improve postural or muscular imbalances.
Supine hip flexion variations – show the opposite, how to switch on the deep abdominal muscles (transverse abdominus) and hip flexors (psoas) by drawing the belly button towards the spine and the spine towards the floor, and then draw the knees towards the chest, allowing the outside of the hips and lower back to relax. Keeping the chin tucked and the back of the neck drawn towards the floor engages the deep neck flexor muscles, so together these extremely important movements engage all of the deepest abdominal and hip muscles while relaxing and lengthening all of the muscle groups along the outside of the hips and all the way up the back and neck. Again, asymmetrical variations allow us to isolate one side or the other and direct the effects of the movement into specific parts of the body.
Supine twist variations – again showing how to contract the deep abdominal muscles with exhalation and expand the ribcage and lengthen the back with inhalation, while the twist contracts across the front diagonal (between opposite shoulder and hip) and lengthens across the back. Variations help to direct the effects into specific parts of the spine and abdomen.
Standing forward bend and back extension – another variation of Uttanasana with Ardhauttanasana the halfway posture, engaging and disengaging all of the back extensor muscles.
NOTE: on the yoga videos – these are breathing exercises so the point of the basic movements shown in these videos is NOT to become more “flexible”, at least not in the way people usually mean. They are NOT “stretches”, they are movements designed to engage, release, and make conscious all of the different parts of the spine and torso which are involved in breathing and which can inhibit the breath or the comfortable posture. Progressively slower movement and slower breathing allow us to feel more of what is taking place over the course of a single movement or a single inhalation or exhalation: more refined awareness of muscle contractions, fluctuations of muscular tension and relaxation, and of the deeper internal muscular contractions involved in the breath, through the diaphragm, the ribcage, the abdomen and the spine, and the relationship between all of these processes and the mind.