So yesterday, I randomly messaged the Movement Culture Facebook group to ask if there was anyone practicing in Auckland.
Shortly after, I got a reply from this Russian dude, Serge Nagèv who practices at Victoria Park in town. I messaged him personally and he told me he’d be there this morning at 630am.
I was hesitant at first because I didn’t know if I could get there so early in the morning. Google maps told me it was a 36 min walk. Easy enough, so I agreed.
In the end it only took 25 mins of easy jogging and navigation to reach the children’s playground.
I was greeted by the sight of this tall dark man holding a long wooden pole overhead and squatting! Immediately I thought to myself: “That is so cool.. I’ve definitely found the right people to practice with!”
Serge (Instagram) is this charming broad-shouldered Russian dude who is really warm and amiable. He works as a personal trainer at Les Mills Britomart and has been in the Movement scene for quite some time. He even went for last years Movement Camp in Thailand!
What we did this morning is pretty hard to put into words. A video would be more apt but even then, you’d only get the full experience if you were personally there and trying out the movements.
We started off with some squat and hip mobility, then some more hip-openers, some really cool high planks on sticks (literally climbing the stick with our feet while a partner holds one end of the stick) and some static and dynamic/rotating stretches.
Then we practiced some cool spiralling movement patterns (groundwork), did some supported handstand practice, some hanging, kneeling squat backbends and finally some core work.
I really liked how we would give each other high-fives after each exercise. Serge calls it “Get a Touch!” Besides spreading positivity and good vibes and energy, together with this whole movement practice as a group, I got a sense of some primitive tribal, spiritual connection with these other amazing humans.
Everything we did, we were very mindful of all our movements. It really felt like I was in my body, moving together with it and letting it move me rather than me forcing it to move. A rather physical-spiritual experience too.
To end off, Serge gave us a game of improvised play where one partner had a hand on the other’s shoulder and the other would move in any way, anywhere he wanted. The hand had to ‘stick’ on the shoulder at all times.
That was really fun and a completely novel experience of play for me!
Lastly, we sat in a circle and meditated for a couple of minutes in silence. Dylan was doing some Whim Hoff breathing which was really cool too. Something I’ve been following and experimenting with for awhile. Serge even mentioned that there is a Whim Hoff workshop this weekend!
If you’re ever in town on a Tuesday morning, do come and join us for some movement! 😉 Serge also conducts classes in the weekends at various locations (Mission Bay beach I think)!
After the session, we got chatting and I found out Graedon, Raj, Dylllan and Serge are all part of the Organic Mechanic and the Orgánico Mecánico movement. Some more googling later revealed that Graedon founded the Organic Mechanic enterprise/social movement! You can find him at: https://www.mrgraedonparker.com/
I also found out about the Spirit festival happening this weekend where Serge will be conducting a class on each day. And guess what? The Spirit Festival is happening at Kawai Pura Pura!! That’s where my college will be moving to in July.
I’ve said before that I no longer believe in coincidences or luck. I think everything happens for a reason, as if it’s already pre-planned by some higher power like God.
I truly feel like meeting Serge and these guys this morning is just another example of this ‘fate’.
Apparently I was over at the Parnell La Cigale Markets last Sunday and that is where the Organic Mechanics have a shack and operate every weekend too. My classmate was also telling me about them but I did not check them out last week. They also hire a few of my seniors in Wellpark!
Then there’s Dylllan (I saved his name with 3 Ls and it just autocorrects so I’m leaving it as that 😂). I found out he’s an ultra marathoner who has even biked from Chiang Mai, through Malaysia, ending in Singapore (2,000 miles, 3,200km)! And he’s Vegan!
Raj even gave me some recommendations for where to try some Dosa in town later which I’ve been missing since leaving Singapore.
That’ll be my birthday treat today! 😊
As a last goodbye gesture, we did a this traditional Maori greeting called a Hongi. We clasped hands and touched foreheads and noses while breathing in. It’s called the “Breath of Life” and it was also my first official exposure to this. To me, this was the most intimate physical greeting I have ever had the pleasure to experience. I felt the connection in the depths of my soul. Maori culture truly, is special.
“In the hongi, the ha (or breath of life), is exchanged. The breath of life can also be interpreted as the sharing of both people’s souls.
Through the exchange of this greeting, one is no longer considered Manuhiri, a visitor, but rather Tangata whenua, one of the people of the land. For the remainder of the stay, one is obliged to share in all the duties and responsibilities of the home people. In earlier times, that may have meant bearing arms in times of war or tending crops, such as kumara.” (Wikipedia)
All in all, this morning turned out to be one of the best birthday mornings I’ve ever had! I was ‘led’ by God to meet some really awesome people whom I really connected with. Not just in movement practice but also later finding out about what they do and their philosophy and ways of living.
More to come, but for now, I’m off to Body Worlds to see how my recent Term 1 Anatomy and Physiology knowledge fits in real life!