On September 23/24, 2017, I took part in the first Movement Matters Retreat, with Nutritious Movement‘s Katy Bowman. Finnriver Farm co-founder Crystie Kisler hosted the first day at her wonderful apple farm. Crystie also joined us for the retreat, moving right along with us in the Katy-led classes and the 20 mile walk on the second day.
There were 32 participants, including myself and fellow Restorative Exercise Specialist (RES) Lisa Flores of Chattanooga (also a LMT). The rest of the participants were followers of Katy (or friends of followers) from all over the states, of various ages and abilities, men and women both. The main thing to note is that they were for the most part “regular” people, not RES. There were some movement teachers, but the group was mainly made up of people just like you, dear reader. Someone who reads Katy’s books and blog, takes the odd class, but is not used to doing a long distance walk like we signed up for.
I had tried to train for the walk, working my way up to a long distance once a week, but the longest walk I covered was two at 9 miles, in heat, on city sidewalks, before wilting. I tried to do 3 miles daily as a minimum, and gave my feet rest days when required, when I would walk none at all. Of course, I did lots of corrective exercise during my classes and on my own. I decided I would most likely finish the walk, but at what cost I didn’t know; feet? knees? It remained to be seen. I was hoping that recovery would be quick because I had planned further adventures on Vancouver Island following the retreat.
The weather was glorious! The temps were in the high teens (65F) and sunny. We started the morning with a movement class that focused on feet, knees and hips. The class (and the entire day) was outdoors, but under a covered shelter, with heaters for the chilly morning.
Following this, we headed out into the orchard, to pick two rows of trees that were ripe. We also picked up fallen apples that were good enough to press, and threw the ones that weren’t into the centre of the row to be mowed. We also cleared weeds around the trunks of the trees. We were supposed to vary our tasks, but I became the top branch picker pretty soon with my height advantage. We filled our aprons and then dumped that into wheelbarrows, which were then dumped into a big box.
Then it was lunch time, and Q&A/reading from Katy. We had delicious food prepared from a nearby store that carries only local products. After lunch another farm chore – seed gathering, cleaning and saving for the Organic Seed Alliance! We picked cosmos heads, seeded sunflowers and marigolds and other flowers (I can’t remember the name) for the organic seeds.
Following this was another class, this time in a grass field. This class focused on Spine, Pelvis and Shoulders. We were well prepared for the walk! The remainder of the day was spent sampling cider in a “roving tasting” which involved walking the perimeter of the farm, learning about the farm and the local environment (salmon stream! geese and sheep and permaculture), all while drinking Finn River Farms Cider. The various bottles were rolled around the farm in a wheelbarrow.
Following that we had a delicious dinner of wood roasted pizza (the oven was a re-purposed bouy!) and entertainment by a live local bluegrass band. We slept well that night, in anticipation of the 20 mile walk on Sunday.
TO BE CONTINUED…