Educational Retreat Dr. Joeri Calsius and Karin Gurtner

Transforming the Armoured Body

In our quest for personal growth and inner ease, many of us are now exploring tools for self-development. Therapists and movement teachers are increasingly being approached by clients seeking support in these transformative processes. As a self-aware professional, you may find yourself grappling with questions such as the adequacy of your current 'tools,' the stretchiness of your scope of practice, the need for additional skills, and your capacity to hold space for others.

An Integral Approach Using Movement, Bodywork, and Breath

To address these inquiries, more than clear guidelines are necessary. A new frame of reference is required because inner growth involves the realms of body, mind, and soul. What is essential is an integrative approach.

In this retreat, Joeri Calsius and Karin Gurtner offer precisely that—an integrative approach. Its core is built around what the American philosopher and integral thinker Ken Wilber calls ‘growing up,’ ‘waking up,’ ‘cleaning up,’ and ‘showing up’. This powerful and unique fourfold matrix for inner growth and self-transformation is thoroughly grounded in Western and Eastern psychology, philosophy, and spirituality. It is deeply embedded in the richness of therapeutic and lifestyle practices for the body, mind, and soul.

The conceptual and practical tools provided throughout the retreat aim to enhance your professional skillset, while a variety of immersive experiences will encourage you on your personal path of self-transformation by 'de-armouring' aspects of yourself.

Throughout the retreat, you will explore the 'armoured body' from various perspectives using hands-on bodywork, movement, breathwork, and mindfulness. Essentially, the three days in the Swiss mountains centre around your personal process, recognising that your thriving journey directly influences the growth of your clients. 

If you are ready to embark on this body, mind, and soul-expanding adventure, bathe in nature, savour delicious food, belly laugh often, and enjoy quality moments of togetherness—join in!


When: 27 - 29 May 2024
Where: Hotel Ermitage Wellness & Spa, Schönried, Switzerland
Presenter: Dr Joeri Calsius & Karin Gurtner
Bring along: Yoga/Pilates mat
Course price: Regular: CHF 1200
Early Bird: CHF 950 until 29 February 2024
Room price: Ermitage: According to the room of your choice
Webinar: You will receive free access to the webinar
Introduction: Transforming the Armoured Body


Book Your Course

The retreat spots are limited and your registration is compulsory. This means that when you register, your place is definitely reserved for you. 

Book course: secure your retreat spot

Book Your Room


Book the room of your choice at the Ermitage Wellness- & Spa-Hotel and sign up for the educational retreat.

The Ermitage Gourmet Board package includes accommodation, access to the wellness and spa area, and full board (breakfast buffet, salad buffet and soup for lunch, afternoon-cake session, 5-course dinner).

Important: When booking your room, enter the following code: art of motion

Book your accommodaton: room of your choice

Cancellation policy

Course: The general terms and conditions of art of motion apply.

Hotel: Hotel room reservations and cancellations are the responsibility of the participant.

Introductory Webinar

To easily absorb the theoretical aspects of the retreat and derive the most meaning from them, Joeri is conducting an introductory webinar. We are delighted to offer it to you as part of the retreat bundle and encourage you to view it before the retreat.

When: 20 February 2024
14:00 - 15:30 / 2:00pm - 3:30pm
Switzerland, CET (UTC +1)
Where: Online via Zoom
Costs: Free for you
Regular: CHF 30
Recording: Access until 27 May 2024
How to enrol: After you have booked the educational retreat, you will automatically receive access to the webinar. Separate registration is not required.


For Whom

This unique blend of education and self-transformation is aimed at all bodywork and movement practitioners, physical therapists, osteopaths, psychologists, psychotherapists, and professionals from other health-oriented fields with an interest in holistic wellbeing.

What You Will Learn and Gain

Day 1: Showing Up and Cleaning Up

You will be introduced to Ken Wilber’s concept of the four-quadrant model (4QM) that helps you to gain insight in how the basic realities of (your) life relate to each other. In essence, these basic realities constitute the fundamental domains that shape our lived experiences. In their most simple form, they refer to: your ‘body and behaviour’, your ‘inner-world of feelings thoughts and self-awareness’, ‘the belief-systems and prevailing climate within your culture and family’ and ‘structures, codes of conduct and interactions within the social world around you’.

You will sketch your own 4QM, which might help you to unravel how the dynamics within the (hidden) quadrants of your life interrelate.

You will be introduced to the concept of the body armour, which is central in body psychotherapy and several bodywork methods. You will learn how scientific research, from both myofascial and psychological perspectives, supports this unique and skilful tool, whether addressing psychosomatic problems, trauma, or fostering personal growth and inner ease.

Starting with a body reading, you will learn specific ‘hands-on’ techniques for releasing the armoured body. In turn you will experience how your own body armour feels when parts of it are released.

Day 2: Waking Up

You will gain insight into how, as human beings on our journey towards greater health, resilience, inner strength, and life embracement, we need to learn to access and transform various states of consciousness.

You will learn a breathwork technique for releasing the armoured body. In turn you will experience how your own body armour can be released by profound breathwork.

Throughout human history and culture, methods of vitalising the body have consistently played a central role in gaining health, fostering community connections, and nurturing spirituality. In this context, we will explore how some of the techniques

introduced during this retreat can be useful for your own path of personal development. From the slow, profoundly embodied movement awareness of authentic movement to the outward radiating energies of ecstatic dance, you will experience how an armoured body can be released from inside-out by different kinds of movements and rhythms.

Day 3: Growing Up

Consciousness evolves through various stages, beginning with the pre-personal and personal stages of ego development and expanding towards the transpersonal realms of ego-transcendence and genuine spirituality.
We’ll explore where and how body armouring can install itself in one or more stages of development.

You will practice and experience a way of opening and softening a specific part of the body that tends to become armoured during early life—the layer of the heart.

You will learn and experience how the use of play and playful movement can fit in your practice of de-armouring. For this we let us be inspired from different strategies such as martial arts, body psychotherapy and contemplative movement therapies.

The Educators

Joeri is a clinical psychologist (PhD.), osteopath DO and integrated bodyworker. He also studied physical therapy and cultural philosophy (MA) and specialized in myofascial bodywork and body psychotherapy. 

He is a part-time academic professor and teaches at several post-graduate programs. 

As an independent researcher Joeri writes on different topics of integrated bodywork from a transdisciplinary angle and is author of several peer-reviewed articles and handbooks on these topics, such as Treating Psychosomatic Patients. 

Karin is a bodymind movement expert certified in a broad range of methods as well as Structural Integration.

She is the founder and educational director of art of motion and developer of Slings Myofascial Training, a resource-oriented integrative movement concept, which includes Anatomy Trains in Motion.

As an author of several books and video content creator, Karin is specialised in fascia-focussed movement training and functional anatomy, topics that she also presents at international conferences and for partner institutes. 

Content Differences 2023/2024

Opening and Embracing the Armoured Body versus Transforming the Armoured Body

For good reason, you might be wondering how this ‘Transforming the Armoured Body’ retreat differs from the previous one in 2023, the ‘Opening and Embracing the Armoured Body’ retreat. Here is the gist.

'Opening and Embracing the Armoured Body' started with a relatively high volume of science-based lectures, thereafter, providing a broad overview of various relevant topics for therapy and therapists. In contrast, 'Transforming the Armoured Body' will be more centred on knowledge, skills, and practical tools for self-development through experience and inquiry. This time our starting point is the forementioned integrative approach of 'growing up,' 'waking up,' 'cleaning up,' and 'showing up' for transforming the armoured body. Hereby a novel and refined selection of hands-on bodywork, movement, breath, and mindfulness practices is closely interwoven with insightful knowledge from psychology, philosophy, and spirituality as well as myofascial and movement science. 

So, if you attended ‘Opening and Embracing the Armoured Body’ in 2023 and you are yearning for more, 'Transforming the Armoured Body’ is your next steppingstone on your quest for personal transformation of body, mind, and soul.