Of Life & Health: Retreat with MovNat
Two Frenchmen converse on Skype, from opposite sides of the world. They talk about fitness, nature, and natural human movement. They share some of their experiences, have a laugh about growing up in Paris, and enjoy the moment. One is named Erwan Le Corre and, at the time, he’s living in Colorado. The other one is me (Vic Verdier), and I was spending most of my time in Thailand.
This was more than 3 years ago now, but I still remember it vividly. Erwan had already started something called MovNat two years before, but it had been in his head for a much longer time. He’d been featured in Men’s Health and a few other magazines, but news doesn’t travel fast in Thailand, where everything takes time, and I didn’t know much about it.
I quickly realize, though, that he is up to something. Something big that could change the way we move, the way we train. In other words, the way we live.
Saying that I didn’t know anything about MovNat is only partially true. From my military background and from my grandfather, I was quite familiar with the work of George Hebert and his “Methode Naturelle” that partly inspired Erwan. But as Erwan was giving me more details about MovNat, the conclusion was obvious: this was something much more elaborate. A training system combined with a lifestyle.
Sometimes, you have this strange feeling that you missed something for a long time, and suddenly, it all shows up for you in one moment. Something like the solution to a mystery you’ve been thinking about for a long time. Who was the man in the Iron Mask? Is there any other form of life in our galaxy? How old is Bambi now? Where did I put my socks yesterday evening?
Finding MovNat was a bit like that for me. I realized that a lot of my training and qualifications were a perfect fit with MovNat. This was confirmed from the very first summer I spent with MovNat in West Virginia. A healthy diet (with no French bread) shared with a lot of like-minded people from all over the world.
A simple lifestyle, camping-in-the-woods style, where you can hear a banjo playing not so far away off and on throughout the day. A proper recovery, with a well-earned sleep. And, of course, moving. But not moving because one just wants to lose some fat and burn calories. No – moving because you like it, moving because it makes you feel good, moving because your body deserves it, moving because it’s useful and helpful.
Since then, thousands of people have learned to move “the MovNat way,” thanks to our great group of talented, highly-skilled MovNat team Instructors. And since May, we’ve been coaching people to become MovNat Trainers, so we can share with even more people the fundamental movements and the efficiency principles.
But for me, over the years, the long MovNat retreats are still the place to be, the purest form of MovNat training – something I like to come back to after having been traveling for a while.
I understand that people have difficulties sometimes incorporating MovNat into their day-to-day living. Lots of people have a stressful job and enjoy sitting on the sofa in front of a TV sitcom in the evening, rather than moving a tired body and a tired mind. They give up on a proper diet because hunger makes this airline lunch on a plastic tray so inviting. They keep moving closer to becoming a zoo human.
Even living the MovNat life to its full extent, I still like to re-immerse myself in what MovNat is all about: beneficial and useful, efficient movements in a stress-free natural environment. And for me, Thailand and Costa Rica are perfect examples of pristine environments where anyone can safely train – and have fun doing so. Far from the outside world and its problems, stresses, and worries, these beautiful places offer me the opportunity to focus solely on this aspect of my life.
Since we began holding Thailand workshops and the 7-day format, we have fine-tuned the program and its content so much that the participants are always surprised to see how many different things they learnt in a week, things they would never believe they could achieve.
From former US Navy Seal, to soccer mum from the UK; from business man in Singapore, to fitness trainer in Germany – the participants have been as varied as Lady Gaga’s wardrobe. You never know what’s coming next.
And what impresses me even more is that while all of them are challenged in one way or another, they make real progress in a matter of days. Not like in a bootcamp, the old “Full-Metal Jacket” style (“you scream at me but I cannot hear you because my head is deep in the mud”). Not a die-hard fitness bootcamp (“I move and sweat a lot, and I feel miserable, so it should be good for my health”). Rather a 7-day long instruction course with so many techniques that time flies at an impressive speed. Those who take notes during the course usually end up with a book the size of a big city’s phone book. Just more interesting!
For most of us nowadays, life is a dull experience made of occasional smiles and tears, daily chronic stress, and small frustrations. It’s time to reconnect to our true nature, living life at its fullest with joy, intensive activities, relaxation, sun and nature. And that’s what we do in Thailand and Costa Rica.
You can find information about our 2013 Thailand schedule, here. Costa Rica Retreat dates will be announced soon.
Vic Verdier, Master Instructor
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