CHILD’S PLAY: Former bodyboarding world champion Stephanie Pettersen takes movement back to the basics of humanity through her Holistic Animal and Natural Movement class. PHOTOS: ADAM HOURIGAN
CHILD’S PLAY: Former bodyboarding world champion Stephanie Pettersen takes movement back to the basics of humanity through her Holistic Animal and Natural Movement class. PHOTOS: ADAM HOURIGAN

Fitness at ground level

DON'T run before you can crawl.

It sounds odd. But it's a notion pertinent to the teaching style of Brazilian-born holistic trainer Stephanie Pettersen.

Twelve months ago the four-time world champion bodyboarder relocated to Yamba. What she discovered was she had arrived there before some of the emerging fitness training techniques that had helped mould her.

Residents seemed stuck in time and reluctant to try training styles that were already popular in many parts of the world, including Australia.

"I'm trying to create a bit of awareness into different types of training," Pettersen said.

"Styles such as NatMov and kettlebells are huge everywhere. But people seem close-minded to trying different things.

"The obstacle in Yamba as a modern trainer is to deal with a much more laidback lifestyle compared to the Gold Coast, where I lived for 14 years."

One of her courses is Holistic Animal and Natural Movement, or NatMov.

With moves like the spider, duck, crab, monkey and caterpillar, it incorporates fun as well as concentrating on the core basics of human movement and breathing.

The technique is particularly relevant in this modern, desk-orientated society where people are moving less and essentially forget neurological connections learnt as babies.

"We take the body back to its basic environment, where it all started, on the ground. It's about learning to move with precision and control. About training with a child's mind," Pettersen said.

She added that NatMov complemented other disciplines such as jiu-jitsu because they both involved work at ground level.

Brazilian jiu-jitsu was offered in Yamba when Pettersen arrived. She got involved and is now encouraging women and children to learn the martial art.

"Not only being from Brazil, I believe jiu-jitsu is extremely important for women," she said.

"In the worse situations for a woman, you are likely to be taken to the ground."



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