About the Course
Everything you need to about the Natural Running Course
Am I fit enough to do this course?
You have no need to worry that you might not be sufficiently fit for this course. Natural running emphasises the quality of movement and experience and ways to tap into your hidden potential. Whatever your present condition: it is a perfect starting point. If you do have a great desire to run faster then there will certainly be ways on the course to help you to achieve your goal: The essence of speed lies in the efficiency and economy of movement and that is central the course.
What do I need to bring to the course?
The only essential to bring to this course is your presence and an openness to the possibility of an expansion of ways to connect to the richness of present moment human sensory experience. This expansion is the key to natural movement.
We live digital days and we often finish up in the kind of digital daze that tends to disembody and disconnect us from the immediate experience and the richness that is around us. In a characteristically Chinese way there is now a marked-out ‘Zombie Lane’ on the pavements of Hong Kong. This lane is for individuals who are so lost in a digital daze on their smartphones, that they are likely to bump into lampposts and other people. If you stray into the Zombie lane and some distracted soul bumps into you, it is your fault: You were duly warned! One significant challenge of the digital revolution is the effect it seems to have in contracting and excluding present moment experience. As a result we become disconnected, distracted and our attention becomes degraded and contracted.
It will be great if you bring to this course, along with your presence, a keen sense of curiosity about how your attention works and more particularly about the possibility of a higher more focussed, more expansive and inclusive way to work with your attention. Prepare to be amazed at how as a result, the ordinary can become the extra ordinary– so much so that an are every day walk along the city pavement can be transformed into an extraordinary source of human nourishment enrichment and a celebration of inter-connectedness!
Rolling the broken wheel.
Our contemporary condition is like a broken wheel that we are trying roll. There is a problem with the wheel: segments of the rim of the wheel are missing and broken. This means that when you push it it rolls along easily enough where the segments of the rim are intact. However you are going to have to push and strain much harder to get the wheel to roll as it passes over the segments of the rim that are broken. When the wheel is damaged in this way it is hard to push. When become aware that the wheel does not seem to roll very readily and we can come to a disastrously erroneous conclusion: we think that the problem is that we are not pushing the wheel hard enough! At that point we enter into a vicious downward spiral because pushing, forcing and straining harder has the inevitable consequence of damaging the rim of the wheel even more! And so we push ever harder again. Eventually it is obviously very likely that the wheel will grind to a halt with an incapacitating injury.
It is hard to appreciate but true that the effort to stop pushing the wheel is a much greater effort and a bigger challenge than to continue the downward spiral of striving ever harder. It has become clear over 30 years of developing Natural Running and natural movement that it takes a special effort of a attention in order to gain the opportunity to stop and to fix the broken wheel. Actually it engages the highest of our capacity to simply stop pushing the wheel. But if we can achieve this is then the true nature of the problem becomes self evident. Natural running work, developed on the basis of the Alexander technique, has gone on to develop many ingenious ways to fix the rim of the broken wheel. The wheel can then roll effortlessly and freely. This process creates the exact opposite of a vicious downward spiral and it can turn it into a virtuous upward spiral. The striving pushing effort Is replaced by an anticipation of effortlessness and grace.
A world of expanded horizons.
There are further profound implications to stopping in order to fix the broken wheel. When the wheel is reconnected we begin to experience directly, a connection to our evolutionary ancestry. We know and experience where it is that we have come from and furthermore what it is that we might be evolving towards. We can be fairly sure that our ancestors would not have survived a single day in the same state of disembodied distraction as someone in the Zombie Lane on the pavements of Hong Kong!
The course will explore many ways, techniques and fixes to repair the broken wheel. However the lynch-pin that holds all these possibilities together is that extraordinary effort of attention. It moves towards the expansive horizons of our supreme inheritance.
An expression of a Force of Nature and the inner wilderness.
There is a long and established tradition that every Natural Running workshop begins with an invitation to regard yourself as and expression of a Force of Nature. This means that every participant brings with them within everything that they need. This process is a little bit like my disorganised toolshed. I have all the tools within the shed but I can’t always find them! The work of Natural Running does not peddle answers and solutions but ways to find the tools to discover and find out.
This invitation to regard yourself as and expression of a Force of Nature. is exactly the same as an invitation to enter into the inner wilderness. This is the extraordinary”stuff of life” that contains within all that we cannot manipulate and control. From the outset the challenges involve a letting go of the interferences that we unintentionally create in the inner-wilderness that hamper and prevent us from moving towards a greater wholeness and integrity in thought and in action. Coming up for the challenge of this is when the fun begins!
Reconnection and Inter-play
Achieve this and we can reconnect to where we have come from, both In developmental sequences and and in an evolutionary way. To achieve this reconnection is to release the natural human creativity of play. It will embrace and reconnect with the natural awe and wonder that is such an integral part of the expression of a healthy human child at play. We have disconnected from this origin. If it can blossom and bloom then it may grow and mature into a thoroughly adult expression of play: it becomes the inter-play at the interface between mind and body. It takes a lot of ‘map and compass work’ to navigate away to arrive at the interface but it is from that place that we can begin to ‘fix the broken wheel’, and so to begin to experience again the grace and poise that is our birthright and origin.
The structure of the course
Over two days there will be four blocks of three-hour long explorations. Each three hour session follows a similar format in exploring the 3Fs: Freedom, Form and Fitness.
Natural running has pioneered what is now a worldwide interest in the amazing potential of the human foot. There will be many opportunities on the course to experience some of the insights and understandings of how wonderfully a fully functional human foot can function. I have been operating barefoot now for over 40 years and I’m still daily amazed at what we still don’t know about this extraordinary potential!
A new way into psycHophysical fitness
These sessions will progressively enable you to discover for yourself, ways to create the foundation of Base-Moves. These form the basis for a wholly new way to develop a sound psycho-physical fitness. The supporting framework for developing Base-Moves comes from the unique Natural Running lens of a human Natural Stride. This works in the same way as a prism that breaks light into the seven colours of the rainbow: it breaks down the natural stride of the human walk or running gait into seven phases. Each phrases capable of generating various base-moves.This forms the unique foundation for a genuine psycho-physical fitness that develops and progresses in an upward spiral of expanding movement horizons. On the course we will discover how to progressively add playful and creative levels of challenge once these simple Base Moves are established. The more effectively we can fix the broken wheel the easier it rolls. We can achieve the same thing with less Energy: This is the essence of the efficiency.
Integrated movement is nourishing!
Perhaps for me, the most wonderful mystery that is unfolding after almost 30 years of Natural Running development is a developing understanding that integrated movement is not only playful and creative but it is also nourishing. It is nourishing at every level: spiritually, psychologically, mentally and physically. To disconnect from and to lose touch with this marvellous freely available source of inspiration and sustenance is to starve ourselves amidst fields of plenty. The possibility of reconnection that is at the heart of these courses opens up a bigger horizon of possibility and potential in both thought and action.