Author: – Michael de Glanville
Come bathe in the warmth, immerse yourself in fluid bliss, surrendering body and mind to water’s touch, the slow dancing heartbeat of your being flowing with breath’s rhythm, undulating, supple as seaweed in a swell. Breathe in and stretch out, floating in sun-kissed water, balanced and centred, the soothing flow dissolving body aches and mind stress. Release your spirit to drift and be quiet in the familiar, silent emptiness of Inner Peace.
The Colours and the Moods of the Sea
We love to spend time by the sea, gazing at the fascinating range of its colors and the variety of moods of the water’s surface produced by the different winds. The nature of the seabed, the rocky reefs and the beds of waving seaweed create beautiful spreads of turquoise blue and deep sea greens, the shades of which are nuanced by the shallow water near the beach and the color of the sand. The quality of the light coming from the sky plays with the color of the sea. It can sparkle and glitter an electric blue when we look towards the sun and turn a deep sapphire when the sun is behind us. The sea can be a moody sullen grey, obscure and heavy when the sky is overcast with cloud and it can be intimidating when huge tumbling and breaking rollers are created by strong winds. Its surface can become streaked with a spray of white foam during a gale or dotted with the white horses of breaking waves in an afternoon breeze. We can sit on a beach and contemplate it from a distance or ride on its surface in a boat, climbing up and pitching down an endless succession of waves, or gliding silkily across the mirror surface of a flat calm.
Water’s Healing Energy
The sound of water tumbling over rocks and rushing through steep mountain valleys has a very lively energy, as the chattering fluid torrent works its way down the slopes transporting rocks and stones ever seawards. Joining with other streams, the tributaries weave their way down out of the hills towards the plains, blending and fusing together to grow into deep meandering rivers flowing powerfully through the flatlands and across sandy deltas before re-joining the ocean. The energy of these planetary arteries touches our hearts and inspires us. We love to build our dwellings within sight of the rivers, or overlooking the sea. We take time off to picnic on the banks of the rivers close to the calm and endless flow of the water. We drive down to the coast to spend the day sitting on the beach watching the waves breaking onto the shore. Water fascinates us. Instinctively, we love to be immersed in it, floated and rocked and we are delighted and invigorated by it as we play under the cool cascades of a waterfall. We inhale, sigh and relax deeply as the warm water spray of an energy-cleansing shower flows smoothly over our naked bodies. Swimming in the sea, many of us are attracted to dive down below its surface, submerging ourselves into the calm and weightless fluid silence of the undersea world.
Water our First Environmental Connection
We only need look at our human origins to see where this familiarity with the aquatic comes from. Water is our first environmental experience. After conception, the embryo evolves and develops into a foetus and then into a living baby ready to be born. These months of magical transition are spent in a comforting darkness, totally immersed in warm, slightly salty, amniotic fluid. All the way through this gestation, the baby shares the pulsing beats of the mother’s heart as they overlay their harmony on the rhythmic sounds of her breathing. No surprise really, with such a primal initiation, our subsequent love of drumbeats and way that the rhythm of music touches us. This first connection, this consciousness of life, takes place within the nurturing, liquid surroundings of the womb, where we are contained, gently turned, squeezed, jogged and caressed within the smooth soft walls of the uterus, nourished and warmed, held securely in the mother’s protective love. Later as we grow and mature, this powerful imprint will always be there in our subconscious, this memory of the relaxing peace of floating in warm water. The cushioned flowing movements and the rhythmic sounds of heartbeats and breathing will be strongly associated with comfort, love and security.
Stress and Relaxation cannot Exist Together
Warm water Breathwork and Watsu are among a number of physical therapies that set out to reconnect us with this powerful early memory of contentment. Recreating the conditions close to the pre-natal experience and immersing the mind and body in them, can draw the spirit back into the silent peace and relaxation that is such an important component of our body health. Short moments of stress are not, in themselves, damaging to us. We are equipped with an instinctive and effective survival system that takes us purposefully into the adrenaline of stress to give us the strength and the speed of reaction to defend ourselves from danger. Stress only becomes toxic to our system when we do not manage to breathe deeply and relax back out of the stress process. By taking on more than we can manage, in attempts to get ahead, we often create for ourselves lifestyles so filled with stress inducing events to the point that we actually forget how to relax any more. Processes that help to re-educate our minds and bodies about the pathways we can take into relaxation are fundamental benefits to our health. Water-breathwork and Watsu are two good examples. By learning to breathe in a particular conscious and connected way, it becomes possible to journey into a state of mind where we can access primal influencing memories and realizations about ourselves that can help us to grow beyond the limiting beliefs we may be harbouring and the effects these beliefs have on our metabolism. When breathing technique has been mastered successfully, it can also be practiced while immersed in warm water, where the breathing process can often trigger pre-natal memories as well.
In the initial Watsu sessions, the experience of surrendering oneself into the attentive care of the practitioner and the supporting comfort of the warm water will possibly be the first time we have been gently carried in the arms of another adult outside of the sexual context. We become aware of heart felt energy. This often revives memories of childhood longings for closeness and bonding with loving parents. The effects of receiving this unconditional care during the session will often range through emotional release into a deep and abandoned relaxation.
The Watsu Session
To begin a Watsu session, the receiver learns how to surrender into the rhythm of the Water Dance that is created by their breathing as they float on their back in the shallow warm water pool. The practitioner then gently moves the floating person around in the water in a flowing rhythmic way, creating folding and extending dynamics through gentle contacts at the back of the neck and under the small of the back or behind the knees. The conditions created by floating, warm and weightless, with eyes closed and ears submerged can be reminiscent of the pre-natal experience of the fetus in the womb as the mother goes about her day.
During the Watsu session, the receiver’s body can easily be stretched or folded and gently twisted as it floats, relaxed and unrestricted in the water. The neck, arms and legs reveal their holding patterns and release tensions to become like seaweed flowing with the movements of the water. As the session proceeds, the receiver gradually moves into a deep and nourishing peace of mind and body while immersed in the warm safety of the water, the subconscious memories of receiving unconditional care and attention creating the space for love to work its healing wonders.
Watsu and Pregnancy
For the expectant mother, the experience of a Watsu session can be a delight as immersion in solar heated water at body temperature brings her a physical respite from the aches and pains and the seemingly endless task of carrying and carrying. The principles of flotation provide her with a relieving sensation of weightlessness as buoyancy lifts her precious cargo. Harmonious flowing movements become possible for both mother and baby in the fluid and unrestricting environment of the pool, the baby also seemingly appreciating the change in the movement dynamics of the mother.
”Watsu during pregnancy is Divine! Everyone should have this done at least once a month during the 9 months. Also recommended for the dads!” Eline Pedersen. Chiropractor and Water-Birth-Mum.
Michael during a Watsu treatment.