Growing up as a kid, I wasn’t interested in sports at all. My family couldn’t afford the luxury of paying for extracurricular activities. The first time I really started doing something with my body was when I started working in construction. I was in a body that didn’t know how to express itself, I felt stuck with lots of injuries and a lot of restrictions in my body. My construction job was also slowly destroying my body from the things that I was breathing to the actions that I was doing, the repetitive motions of lifting heavy and not understanding proper techniques.
So I was in a very depressed state as far as the physicality and mentally, I wasn’t in a very happy space as well. I wasn’t feeling good, I wasn’t looking good.
What sparked your initial desire for physicality?
My desire for physicality was not mine but somebody else’s if that makes sense. I mean, I think it’s just our culture that tells us that we have to look bigger to look better, to obtain a better social status, to obtain a better partner. It was pushed upon me and thinking that was the right way. And I think that’s the misconception that most people have is that they don’t know what they want. They only want what’s been pushed against their will by the social structure. So once they get into their body and really feel what their bodies can do, then the whole perspective changes. And Mike I’ll put it simply: what I gained out of the Movement Flow practice is my identity.
How did you discover Movement culture?
After a bad accident at my construction work, I went to a Vipassana meditation retreat. So for 10 days, there was no reading, there was no technology, there was no speaking, it was just a Bootcamp of meditation. And when I came out and it gave me a moment of perspective and I looked, I remember I watched a lot of videos. One particular video I watched was Louis West and he’s just somebody who understands movement, somebody who was doing movement at the time, and it just changed my perspective.
I really, really connected to “Hey, I really want to move my body.” “What do I need to do?” And that’s how my journey started., and I think a lot of people are lost just like I was. People want to get a certain aesthetic without understanding that it’s better to have a car that drives than a car that sits in the garage. And if we speak to people saying: “Hey, you can actually get healthier and stronger. You can still look great, but you will have so much more behind the engine versus just a hollow shell.”
What was your journey then? How did you end up founding Movement Flow?
After the Vipassana meditation retreat, I ended up quitting my construction job after many years of university and being in the trades for almost a decade, I decided to pursue a different path. So not too much money in my bank account with not a lot of options. I decided just to trust my gut feeling and I did Bikram for about six months. But unfortunately, I didn’t know my body well enough that when somebody said push, I still went push and went even further than that and ended up causing a pretty intense back injury. So afterward I decided to learn a bit more about yoga instead of just taking classes, I wanted to discover what this practice was. And then I ended up taking a yoga course, a 200-hour course. And after I finished, my teacher hired me as her apprentice. The apprenticeship lasted, oh, I’d say four or five years, but in that process, I was already curious about other disciplines.
So I started doing Capoeira, I was doing circus, I was doing acro, I was doing dance, a multitude of things, even in that time of teaching yoga full time, 24 classes a week for four years after my initial year of apprenticeship, I ended up going to China and studied with the Shaolin monks and I continued my journey of generalism further and further, and disciplines came and left.
And after a little while, I just didn’t want to jump on another train. I decided to create something that is like connective tissue. It connected all of those languages together into Movement Flow. And Movement Flow again was born from yoga, from the circus, from contemporary dance, from Capoeira, from Shaolin monk training. These are all very, very, very important disciplines that need to have a conversation together. And that’s why Movement Flow is so powerful: they tie all the wisdom through decades that people have experienced and taught under one roof.
What makes Movement Flow different from everything else out there?
That’s a great question. What makes it different? Well, a lot of people, because the disciplines have been around for a long time, there’s a misconception that you have to be proficient at it, or sometimes the age of practice makes people nervous to enter. But when something is new they still feel like they can mold in the shape of this practice. They can still give a lot of their personality and actually add to the development of the system which our students do all the time and it’s ever-evolving. So I think keeping a fresh mindset and not settling into one structure is something that’s so important. And we not only bring strength, flexibility, coordination, but we bring all the healing tools, all the community tools that all the disciplines that I’ve mentioned earlier have.
How do you see the future of Movement Flow?
That’s another good question. Where do I see movement flow? I see movement flow in every school, elementary, high school, university. I see it in every gym. I see it spread all over the world, just like yoga did. It had such a good basis and it still does. But I think in this day and age, the multitude of information and the amount of knowledge that’s out there needs to have one roof. It needs to have a more diverse look at the human body and that’s what Movement Flow offers. And we’ve experienced this in every facet. We’ve been doing this for 4 years. We’ve had people who are seven years old take the course. We’ve taught children in classes. We’ve had people in their seventies who have been around for such a long time and such a wealth of wisdom and they were changed by Movement Flow because now all of a sudden they’ve got new lubrication, new sets of movements to be able to do with their bodies.
Movements that don’t have to be impactful, don’t have to be hard. It doesn’t have to be “I need to go to the gym and lift weights”. It doesn’t have to be “all my joints feel very raw after the practice”. It’s a very soft approach if you wanted to take it that way because of the diversity. I see it everywhere. I see everyone trying it and more importantly, I see the pressure taken away from the competition of “I have to be the best” and more originality.
Interview By Mike Ying-Article By Slava Goloubov