Meaningful Movement

Mindfulness & Natural Movement

Rutger van der Zee will guide you through a 6-day Natural Movement program which has been developed as the result of his extensive research on using movement and nature as a guide towards a healthy and meaningful life. Using the age old archetypal hero’s journey as the fundamental framework for the human experience, Rutger has

created a workshop that will provide you with the tools and structure to find the balance between work and play, growth and recovery. Whether we are a 3 year old or a successful professional, we all encounter the same cycles of exploration, confrontation and conclusion during our lives. Learning to recognise and use these cycles to our advantage is the key to a life well lived.

Every day of the retreat we cultivate the cycles of winter & summer, night & day, activity & rest, yin & yang, by starting the day with vigorous movement followed by mediation to wind down for lunch. The days of the week make up a journey that will teach you how to take care of your body, face your fears, develop the necessary skills and how to take these new found skills back to your daily life.

The week will start by developing the skill of awareness of your current physical state and the ability to improve it by using a range of movement and stretching techniques. We then go out and explore moving through the complex natural environment using the philosophy of parkour: The art of overcoming obstacles. We continue our journey by learning to overcome the most complex of obstacles of all, other humans, through rough and tumble play. And finally, we will extract the essence of the experience into a practice that you can take home. In other words, we will stretch, strengthen, run, jump, roll, climb, fall, fight and feel all the better for it.

A physical experience is the natural and excellent place to start applying these principles. The words we use in our languages to describe the more abstract situations of the modern human experience still greatly reflect their physical origin: Carrying a heavy load, running behind, pushing the sale and pulling the cart rarely involve actual carrying, running, pushing and pulling. Yet, maybe since most of us have at least experienced this physical reality during childhood, we can easily empathise when someone has to "really dig in to pull it off“.


Overview of the week

1st Day: Pull yourself together

If you are a mess, you can not face the world and all its opportunities for growth. So we start by assessing our physical and mental state through mobility work, exploratory games and lying down meditation.


2nd Day: Explore new territory

As our basic requirements are met, we can go out and explore the world around us. This day we will move creatively and efficiently through rough natural terrain and develop different ways to broaden our skill set. We will also explore the world through the theory of perception: Obstacles and Affordances (tools) and how they vary depending on the situation.


3rd Day: Face the dragon of Chaos

Today we will meet the inevitable dragon of chaos, the mythological representation for facing uncertainty and our mortality. This we do by exploring rough and tumble play and breathing exercises. This is a carefully constructed and tested process to let anyone get acquainted with playful combative and the personal growth it can provide.


4th Day: Bring back the gold

This day we extract more abstract practices out of the things we have learned so far, making it more feasible to keep an interesting physical practice in an urban environment.


5th Day: Keep exploring

Comfort is death. We can’t simply rest on our laurels and let our knowledge grow stale. We need to continually recommit ourselves to our tasks as humans. Whatever our role in life, we need to get up in the morning and face the day so we better keep exploring.

This day we built on what we have learned the 2nd day and use the environment to our advantage.


6th Day: Share what you know

We are standing on the shoulders of giants, by cultivating and passing on our experience we can make life better. This day is dedicated to sharing the personal interpretation of the experience and making a plan for implementing some if it in your daily life.


About the teacher

Rutger’s current practice has grown out of a period of personal development that started only in his twenties, when the discovery of using mindful movement to turn a failing body into a source of strength led him on the most rewarding pursuit yet: Cultivate aliveness by teaching an embodied way of living through the development of mind and movement skills.

This pursuit has brought him a wide variety of experiences ranging from coaching DJs on world tours to teaching workshops in nature preserves and Olympic Training Centers.

Host Dave Hemminga, founder of ITWA, knows better than most how a hectic city life can chip away at our connection with nature. Dave can’t wait to pass on the great lessons and energy he got learned from going “off-grid” and saying goodbye to his city mindset (and smooth hands!).


What might a day look like?

This is an example of how a day might go, since we will live in nature expect the schedule to adapt to its unpredictability.


08:00-09:30 Power breakfast.

09:30-13:00 Yang training, Joint mobility, Earthquake Architecture.

13:00-13:45 Yin training.

14:00-15:00 Healthy lunch at the beach.

15:00-19:30 Break.

19:30-20:30 Fresh, homemade dinner.

"There is more wisdom in your body that in your deepest philosophy."


Personal take-aways of the week

  • Increased mental and physical flexibility and strength.

  • Improved resistance to injury.

  • Development of active control over the body’s full range of motion.

  • Leadership skills.

  • More conscious lifestyle choices.

  • Sensual invigoration through nature.

  • Sustainable living inspiration.


When is it?

June 02-09 , 2018.

What’s the cost?

Package 1: shared tent with 2 other participants: €870,-

Package 2: shared tent with 1 other participant: €945,- 

Package 3: private tent: €1095,-

What's included?

  • 7 nights in our beautifully decorated tipi, bell or safari tent ( shared with 1 participant). For an additional fee of €150,- you can have a private one.

  • 6 day training program including mindfulness training, work- outs and group coaching

  • Homemade breakfast, lunch and dinner (vegan options available). 

  • Survival Game

  • Introduction to Sustainable living

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