Movement Culture has been taking the world by storm. Former professional athlete and lifelong martial artist, Alex Herrera has perfected his unique system of human movement, reconnecting us with the innate intelligence of our body. Now based in Hong Kong, Herrera has worked as a personal trainer to Carrie-Anne Moss ‘Trinity’ during the filming of The Matrix, Australian movie director Baz Luhrmann, and professional athlete Mike Smith.
YOU’VE DEVELOPED YOUR OWN TYPE OF MOVEMENT CLASS WHICH INCLUDES MARTIAL ARTS. WHAT EXACTLY DOES IT ENTAIL?
Movenplay is an authentic body of work where art intersects with mindfulness and creative movement. It is a multidisciplinary concept inspired by martial arts, contemporary dance, capoeira and performing arts – a physical and somatic practice that reconnects us with the natural intelligence of the body.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO MOVEMENT?
I was first exposed to Movement as a disciplinary practice in 2011 when I attended a workshop in Hong Kong facilitated by Ido Portal. At the time I was working as a professional tennis coach and personal trainer. The impact of his teachings and philosophy profoundly changed the course of my career.
YOU ALSO RUN SOVEREIGN BY NATURE, WHICH ORGANIZES VIRTUAL WORKSHOPS AND TRANSFORMATIONAL JOURNEYS/RETREATS IN COSTA RICA.
Nosara, Costa Rica, one of the Blue Zones of the world, has been a home base for the past 7 years. In 2019, Karina Kurtzo and myself collaborated on a vision to create Sovereign by Nature, a travel and lifestyle company for explorers looking to reconnect to nature, build community and cultivate healing through exploration, movement, culture. We co-create with international wellness leaders, artists and visionaries looking to fuel transformation for their communities.
WHY DID YOU MOVE TO SOUTH AMERICA?
I had left Hong Kong in pursuit of finding sustainable communities in South and Central America. I was also part of an incredible experience in Tierra Del Fuego, the Southern most point of Argentina. In 2014, 80 students from all around the world gathered for one month as part of the “Earthship Academy” by Michael Reynolds, one of the pioneers of sustainable building. We helped build Latin America’s first fully sustainable home.
A BIG PART OF WHAT YOU DO IS CONSULTING. WHAT TYPE OF CONSULTING DO YOU DO?
Currently I am consulting for several leading lifestyle brands to create and expand their wellness platforms. I provide an alternate lens relating to physical disciplines and holistic practices. I’m particularly fond of the importance of preserving the Martial Culture of Hong Kong and recreating a new perspective around these ancient practices. I am also teaching and curating Somatic & Creative Movement experiences for these brands.
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON AT THE MOMENT?
Firstly, I am in a continuous process of working on myself, which I honor as a full-time choice. I am also very excited to be in the infancy stage of working in collaboration with some of Hong Kong’s leading visionaries and innovators to create a sophisticated space for multisensory experiences. Where Art & Design intersects with Creative Movement & Mindfulness.
DESCRIBE YOURSELF IN THREE WORDS
Patient, curious, energetic.
WHAT DID YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU WERE YOUNG?
I dreamt of becoming a professional athlete, a successful tennis player. Secondly, actually perhaps even firstly, I was mystified by Martial Culture and also really wanted to be a ninja! I can say I definitely tried with all my heart and soul to pursue both these childhood dreams.
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE HIGHLIGHTS OF YOUR CAREER?
All the students I have had the opportunity to share the floor with. It may feel like a broad answer, but it continues to bring me great joy to see people smile and give themselves permission to play. Secondly, the incredible teachers I have had the opportunity to be a student to. Ido Portal, Tamara Levinson aka Cuchira, Tom Weksler, and Roser Tutusaus.
YOU ALSO HAD A SHORT STINT AS CARRIE-ANNE MOSS’ PERSONAL TRAINER DURING THE MATRIX, AND YOU’VE ALSO HAD THE OPPORTUNITY TO TEACH BAZ LUHRMANN.
It was a serendipitous moment. I was at the right place at the right time in Sydney, and I got to step in as a secondary trainer for 12 weeks when she was filming The Matrix. With Luhrmann it was also just a moment in time in the late 90s when the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney was a real scene. Right place at the right time.
BEST ADVICE YOU’VE EVER BEEN GIVEN
It came from a serendipitous encounter on the Central Coast of Sydney with a young man on a very unique personal quest. His words were simple, “One thing, one time”. This was actually passed on to him by his Indian guru. It essentially translates to “one thing at a time”. Whenever I feel overwhelmed or have taken too much on, the words will always find a way to arise and remind me to slow down and try not to multitask.
FAVORITE HOLIDAY DESTINATION
I have two very distinct favorite countries: Peru and Spain with three favorites destinations: Cusco, Mallorca, and Barcelona.
2 THINGS YOU WOULD PACK
My Bialetti coffee maker, gymnastics rings
YOUR TRAVEL ATTIRE
Vivobarefoot shoes, wide brim hat, loose sweat pants and a plain tee.
FAVORITE ‘ME’ TIME
Morning meditation and deep rest, essentially a 10 to 20 min meditation every morning, and I also make the time to take an early afternoon siesta every day.
YOUR BEAUTY SECRET
Coconut oil, 7 hours of sleep at night, lots of water and at least 20 minutes of sun a day.
YOUR SIGNATURE SCENT
An essential oil blend of vanilla in jojoba oil.
FOOD YOU CRAVE
I am always craving pizza and a good dose of chocolate.
WHAT KEEPS YOU UP AT NIGHT?
A distant love.
WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
The human spirit that continues to strive and remain within hope beyond all adversities. Nature – her daily cycles of birth, death and rebirth are always a powerful reflection of just how fragile this existence really is, and that we should not take our time and place on this earth for granted.
ON YOUR PLAYLIST
Right now, an ode to 90s Hip Hop, and Johan Sebastian Bach radio.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU?
Honestly, hopefully more of the same. I feel it’s a very exciting time to be alive. Hong Kong continues to offer me a platform for creativity & collaboration.
YOUR SECRET TO SUCCESS
Passion and patience.
YOUR FAVORITE QUOTE
A quote by Walt Whitman. “Dismiss that which insults your soul”.