Movement & lifestyle coach @asher.gaudion.movement - Photograher Kiia Valavaara
What is a typical day like for you?
I try to diversify my days as much as possible, acting more out of intuition rather than following a set plan. I do however have some key habits that form the foundations on which I structure my day. A typical morning for me would be to wake naturally without an alarm, hydrating with mineral salts and water followed by light movement, meditation and a cold shower. If I am doing any physical training, I tend to do so on an empty stomach, before breaking fast around 11am. I don’t have a regular work schedule, some days I am busy teaching classes and seeing clients, others I am working from home or at the library.
A common theme for me is consistent movement. No matter what I have planned, I try to move my body in a diversity of patterns as often as possible, especially if I have a lot of seated work to do. This keeps my energy high and my muscles from become tight and stiff. I like to wind down slowly in the evenings, closing the day by candlelight and avoiding technology use as much as I can.
What are your thoughts on re-wilding?
Re-wilding is our generations answer to a culture completely removed from the natural world. Our ancestors were in daily communion with their environment. There was no ‘outdoors’ or ‘outside’. Their home was nature. Everything they ate was hunted, gathered or farmed by their own hands, or of someone they knew. All clothing, tools and shelter, a product of the resources offered in their immediate environment. Our modern society has undergone immense change to get us to where we are today; our accomplishments are impressive, but it has resulted in a disconnection from what is fundamentally human.
I am not suggesting that we all move back into the forest and adopt the lifestyle of a hunter gatherer, but I am saying that we can take habits and practises of our ancestors, and begin to integrate them into our modern lives. We have moved so far in the direction of technological advancement, that many people have forgotten what it truly feels like to be a human living on a planet. We have an innate wildness that is just begging to be expressed. It is my goal to teach re-wilding techniques that are accessible for all and can be applied in every day life.
In your opinion, what are the benefits of yoga?
My journey with Yoga began purely from a physical perspective, for me it was a stretching routine that also developed strength and balance. As time went on, I began to discover that Yoga was far more than just a physical experience, and more so a tool for mental and emotional exploration.
One of the greatest benefits of practicing Yoga is bringing awareness to our breath. Our breath is one of the most important keys to controlling our state of mind. When we are stressed our shoulders will rise, our chest collapses and our breath becomes short and tense. By just taking five deep inhales and exhales, you will feel the stress begin to melt away. Through deep and focussed breathing in a Yoga class, we can directly affect our parasympathetic nervous system allowing us to keep calm and relaxed, even in the most challenging Asana. My goal for my students is to teach them to master their breath in the class, so that they can apply it off the mat and in their lives.
How can yoga and meditation create a reconnection with nature?
Yoga is one of the many tools available for us to access a meditative state and connect deeper within ourselves. Meditation for me, is simply to be in the present moment with whatever is happening. Not attaching or judging, just experiencing.
As organisms on this planet we are intimately connected with all that exists, on both a biological and energetic level. Through yoga and meditation, we begin to realise this. Our preconceived ideas of reality dissolve and we can start to see things as they really are. All people, all animals, all of nature, existing as one living, breathing organism. No separation, only the walls we have constructed in our own minds.
I encourage you to practice Yoga and Meditation outdoors as often as possible. Beneath a tree, by a river or lake, in the wind and rain. By exposing ourselves daily to the elements of nature, we begin to realise just how much a part of this world we really are.
How important is it for you to focus on nutrition and re-wilding?
I have found proper nutrition to be of the most fundamental importance when it comes to adopting a more ancestral approach to life. The old adage ‘you are what you eat’ is simple, but probably the most impactful dietary advice you will ever receive. If we focus on unprocessed whole foods, we lay the groundwork for our bodies to function at their highest potential. I encourage people to move away from restrictive dietary dogma, and to just focus on eating real food.
The same goes for other re-wilding habits, how we move our bodies for example. Our ancestors didn’t have couches or chairs. So by simply spending more time on the floor, we can begin to experience wild movement. We don’t need complicated training equipment or designer athletic clothing, we just need a body.
The same goes for our sleeping patterns. It makes biological sense to wake and sleep with the sun. To be more active in the summer, and more restful in the winter. Our body has an innate intelligence. It knows exactly what it needs in any moment. We just need to listen.
Do you have anything exciting on the horizon that you can tell us about?
August and September will be busy months for me! As it is the summer here in Sweden, I am excited to continue offering as many outdoor classes as I can before it gets too cold. This year I have been teaching Yoga in the parks around Malmö, as well as offering Ancestral Movement workshops I call Primal Patterns. Over the coming weeks I will be collaborating with a local barefoot shoe company, Freefoot, to teach workshops on optimising foot function and how to re-wild our movement in a modern world, as well as feet focussed Yoga classes. I will also be partaking in the Immeln Swim Run in late August, which I have never done before and am very excited! Swimming and running between islands in the Swedish summer, that is a dream come true for any lover of movement!
I also hope to make it up north in September for a few days of trekking, and to experience truly untouched Scandinavian wilderness.