Two spiritual paths intersect: Nevada County workshops geared toward fitness for the body and soul |

Two spiritual paths intersect: Nevada County workshops geared toward fitness for the body and soul

Laura Petersen
Special to The Union
Martial arts instructor Oscar Perez joins Curron “Aspernaut” Gajadhar this weekend for the first time for community workshops, though the two have shared spiritual journeys through social media for 18 months. Learn more about the writing and healing work of Oscar Perez at
Photo by Darling Dear Photography |

Since he moved to Nevada County a year and a half ago, martial arts instructor and life coach Oscar Perez has been working with others to heal old emotional and psychological wounds, delve into self-discovery and deepen connections with nature and the outside world.

“It’s all about how body is a metaphor for internal life,” he said of his writing and talks about the body as a vessel for the soul.

About the same time he made the Sierra Nevada Foothills home, he met another man on a similar journey. Through social media, the lives of two modern day shamans — Oscar Perez and Curron “Aspernaut” Gajadhar — have crossed paths.

“We started seeing ways that our paths intersect,” Perez said.

This weekend, they will meet in person for the first time.

Curron “Aspernaut” Gajadhar will give a talk from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday at The Center of Movement at 107 W. Main St., Grass Valley, followed by a workshop called “To Build a Traceur Movement” from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday at Burton Homestead Preserve, just outside of downtown Nevada City.

During Saturday’s class, students of all fitness levels will have the chance to “hit the reset button” on their bodies and hit the ground running, fighting, climbing and carrying on like a child with the strength of an adult body.

“Having a relationship with your vessel and its design cuts away countless hours of programming. You arrived with your own program specific to the individual,” said Gajadhar.

During the workshop, Gajadhar will teach Barefoot Running Mechanics, PALO, Parkour Basics, Asymetrical Lifting and Loaded Running.

Gajadhar, 27, was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome when he was 21. Doctors urged him to treat his socially awkward condition with drugs but instead, Gajadhar developed his own combination of body training including parkour and PALO to heal himself. Last year, he started running barefoot.

“I am equal parts Bruce Lee and Tarzan,” he said.

PALO is a self-rehabilitation technique that employs joint manipulation to reset posture using muscular tension. Parkour is the sport of moving rapidly through an area, typically in an urban environment, negotiating obstacles by running, jumping, and climbing. A “Traceur” is someone who practices Parkour.

Born in Washington, D.C., Gajadhar grew up with his family in Trinidad. Always active and needing stimulation, he participated in seven sports as a child including water polo, field hockey, cricket, javelin throwing and soccer. He grew up climbing trees and boxing the dog in an environment where everyone had a garden and fruit trees in the backyard and women still hauled water for the home.

“I needed that stimulation. It kind of levels my brain out,” he said.

He moved back to the states when he was 13, to Atlanta, and found a world where he struggled to fit in.

He studied indigenous cultures around the world and discovered a recurring theme — people born different weren’t ill or bad. They needed nature. They needed health. They needed to nurture what they were born with.

“I’m not sick. I’m a born shaman,” he said.

Traditionally, shamans have been messengers between the human world and the spirit worlds. Shamans are said to treat ailments or illness by mending the soul. Alleviating traumas affecting the soul and spirit restores the physical body of the individual to balance and wholeness.

While some may be intimidated by his wild man routines and strong, lean physique, Gajadhar stresses that his classes are designed for everyone with two arms and two legs. Movement is something that everyone has access to and the inner power to direct, he says.

“You know more about your body than anyone. We have our own operating systems,” he said. Finding ailments in the body, learning about relationships with family and uncovering past psychosomatic trauma are all part of his work with others.

“It has to get at the root, the root of the problem,” he said.

These same principles drive the work of “chill” warrior Perez.

For years, Perez has traveled the globe on his spiritual journey and now he provides others a safe environment or “container” to show up and safely fall apart, where people can come out on the “other side,” together.

It’s a place where pain and grief are not taboo, where all the walls are ripped down. It’s a place where real compassion is created.

Continually challenging assumptions and the uncomfortable, Perez leads a “soul crafting” class at Inner Path Meditation Center in Nevada City, teaches primitive wilderness skills to local youth, and in January will speak at the Minnesota Men’s Conference. His writing and programs geared at teaching men how to responsibly carry the power they have can be found at This weekend, he will introduce Gajadhar to the Bruce Lee-inspired street fighting known as Jeet Kune Do he teaches at the Center of Movement in Grass Valley.

“For me, it’s crystal clear, this is why I’m here,” he said.

Learn more and purchase tickets for “To Build a Traceur Movement” here at

For more information go to, or visit Gajadhar’s YouTube page at His Instagram page can also be found at

Contact freelance writer Laura Petersen at 530-913-3067,

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