Hello! My name is Simon, for my whole life I have been an explorer of human evolution and mind-body practice in nature. I was introduced to yoga when I was three years old, and since then have been continuously studying and practicing different forms of yoga, meditation, martial arts and combat sports, dance, physical training and therapy from traditions around the world. Over the years I have taught yoga (primarily through the lineage of T. Krishnamacharya via his students AG and Indra Mohan), capoeira angola, qigong and internal martial arts, Butoh, rehabilitative exercise, and worked as a therapist and bodyworker for over a decade using Chinese medicine, tuina, shiatsu, Thai massage, remedial massage and myotherapy.
In 2012 I began facilitating training groups using the concept of “natural movement”, exploring physical culture within the context of evolutionary biology, pioneering the natural movement community in Australia, and publicly “coming out” with ideas and training methods that I had been working on for decades, under the title Ancestral Movement. I have been teaching this work to dancers, trainers, athletes, physical therapists, martial artists, yoga practitioners, meditators, psychologists, artists, environmental educators, people with injuries and chronic health conditions and many others in classes and workshops around Australia and in regular seasonal wilderness retreats since 2012.
My academic background was in science and anthropology before I moved into Chinese medicine and bodywork (I hold multiple diplomas and advanced diplomas in health science and these various therapies), and then returned to western medical science, anatomy, physiology, molecular biology and neuroscience, getting a bachelor’s degree in Health and Rehabilitation Science in 2014. I am currently doing postgraduate studies in zoology and ecology.
I study bushcraft and ancestral living skills with people around Australia, and work closely with colleagues across Australia within this nature connection or “rewilding” movement, assisting in retreats camps and gatherings and mentoring regularly on kids and family rewilding camps on the east coast of New South Wales.
ELECTIVE WORKSHOP: ANCESTRAL MOVEMENT, CHI GONG
Ancestral Movement is an open exploratory practice uncovering movements and cognitive abilities innate in human bodies because of our ancestry, stretching back through deep time to the beginning of life in the womb and all the way back to the very origins of life on the planet. Movements that we share with all other creatures that have ever lived on the earth: our fellow primates and mammals, all creatures with four limbs, with a spine, a central axis, a segmented body plan, a digestive system, all creatures that evolved in the ancient oceans, all creatures with a vascular system, all cellular life. Movements and abilities that are unique to the human species: empathy, mimicry, shape changing, storytelling, theatre.
In this practice we will be studying the evolutionary anatomy of the body, the adaptedness of our various body parts and patterns to the different natural environments in which our ancestors have lived over the ages, anatomical and behavioural comparisons with other related organisms, and including the basic and practical understanding of the brain and nervous system, the combined science of neuroplasticity and the integrated systems of body awareness, emotion, pain, memory, empathy and nonverbal communication.
We will use movement, breath, directed attention, emotion and imagination, in solo practice and with partners, to open up deep and forgotten parts of the body normally hidden from conscious awareness: every tiny articulation of the spine, ribcage, abdomen, the diaphragm, throat, pelvis and skull, and hidden muscles joints and movements throughout the body. Ancient, fundamental ancestral movement patterns will emerge which we can use to integrate these hidden and forgotten areas back into our self-image to become more alive, aware, expressive, creative, powerful and sensitive to ourselves and to the other human and non-human bodies around us.
Some sessions will have a more internal focus, others will be more externally physically strenuous. All of the practices can be scaled according to individual abilities, and all sessions will be challenging but extremely rewarding for people of all backgrounds and physical capacities, including teachers and advanced practitioners of any other disciplines.