This month, Parvati Magazine spoke with Erwan Le Corre, founder and master instructor of MovNat, a fitness practice which emphasizes natural movement.
Parvati Magazine: What is MovNat and what inspired you to create it?
Erwan Le Corre: MovNat is the method for practicing, or coaching, Natural Movement fitness. We define Natural Movement as the overall practice of human natural movement skills such as crawling, walking, running, jumping, climbing, swimming, lifting, carrying, throwing, catching, and defensive skills.
This concept was inspired by my own childhood growing up and moving a lot in nature, my study of the history of physical education, and my experience in diverse specialized sports and disciplines. Years ago I realized that no fitness program out there was based on the full range of human natural movements. I decided that I would design a new method combining ancient and modern approach, and spread it to the world.
PMAG: Why do you feel MovNat may be more appropriate or effective than going to a typical gym?
ELC: A typical gym is filled with machines that dictate, limit, and artificially shape your movement. It is not only absurdly artificial, it is unhealthy and boring. MovNat, on the other hand, inspires you to move naturally and often, and also teaches you how to move competently, efficiently, and safely.
MovNat can be done in indoor gym environments as well as out in nature. However, a MovNat gym never resembles your typical machine-equipped gym. Rather, it recreates natural environmental demands to enable all types of natural movements in a way that is scalable, progressive, and safe. For instance, we balance on beams instead of fallen trees, hang and climb poles instead of tree branches, and we lift, carry, throw and catch medicine balls or kettlebells rather than rocks or logs. We replicate evolutionarily natural, practical and adaptable movement patterns within the safety of a controlled environment.
PMAG: What might a typical MovNat session look like?
ELC: A typical MovNat session involves a warm-up made of a variety of natural movement patterns done at a low intensity, for instance kneeling, crawling, squatting, get-up and get-down variations. This is followed by skill practice such as learning a particular jumping, balancing, lifting or climbing technique. A session usually ends with a “combo”, a circuit combining several techniques and movement variations; for instance a crawl technique, then a broad jump, then a hanging side swing traverse, then a rotational throw and catch with a partner. The combo is repeated several times in a row, with varied emphasis such as efficiency, or strength, metabolic conditioning, etc. It is never too easy or too hard, always engaging and challenging, simply because all these movements are natural, but you need to be always mindfully efficient.
PMAG: Your website lists a number of principles on which MovNat operates – practical, adaptable, efficient, vital, instinctual, cooperative, environmental, evolutionary, unspecialized, universal. Why are these so important?
ELC: These principles are important because they explain why your movements and efforts matter, beyond just thinking of how they’re supposed to make you look. Such principles create a shift in how you perceive physical exercise. Instead of a physical chore or punishment, it becomes something much deeper and meaningful, a mindful movement practice that empowers your human nature, your whole being. The best way to never find yourself physically helpless is to learn to become physically helpful.
PMAG: For someone considering getting started with MovNat, what would you recommend they do?
ELC: First visit us at movnat.com of course, subscribe to our newsletter so you can get movements explained with photos twice a month. Connect with us on Facebook, especially our 60/60 Natural Movement challenge group, with a community of people dedicated to practice their natural movements every day. If you want to learn first-hand, the best is to attend one of our workshops or retreat, they’re all listed on the website at different dates and locations, or get in touch with one of our certified trainers (there’s a locator on the website).
I also have a book “The Practice Of Natural Movement”.
Erwan Le Corre is the founder of “MovNat”, a synthesis of his long-term passion for real-world physical competency, his love of movement in nature, his extensive knowledge of Physical Education history, and his personal philosophy of life. He believes it is everyone’s universal and biological birthright to be strong, healthy, happy and free. He calls this state of being our “True Nature”.