Body Sense

WINTER | 2018

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 8 of 15—your resource for all things bodywork 9 THE STRETCH In Zen shiatsu, Masunaga teaches that stretches are an older way to access and balance the flow of energy through our bodies than shiatsu's traditional work with acupuncture points. Stretching increases flexibility, and warm water—which many associate with the body's deepest states of waking relaxation—is the ideal medium for it. The support of water takes weight off the vertebrae and allows the spine to be moved in ways impossible on land. Gentle, gradual twists and pulls relieve the pressure a rigid spine places on nerves and helps undo any dysfunction this pressure can cause to the organs served by those nerves. In Watsu, the receiver experiences greater flexibility and freedom, while a range of emotions can come forward and be released into the process of continuous flow. For both giver and receiver, this work in the water helps us face life out of the water with greater equanimity and flexibility. THE BREATH In the beginning, Watsu was all about stretching—using our physical closeness to brace powerful stretches and be moved around the pool by the energy those stretches released. Stretches, and the closeness that facilitates them, will always be important in Watsu, but in its first years of development, another element moved to the forefront—the unique connection to the breath that our closeness in water also facilitates. In water, where the buoyancy lifts our body every time we breathe, our whole body breathes. We begin a Watsu session doing nothing, settling into the water, holding a client with one arm under their head, the other arm under their body. When we feel them getting lighter on that arm as they breathe, the therapist's breath is drawn up. Then, we drop back into the emptiness at the bottom of the breath and do nothing. Being drawn up out of that emptiness again and again, up through our core in this waterbreath dance, engages our whole body and establishes a connection that continues through our moves and stretches born in that rhythm. The closeness, developed out of necessity when Watsu first came into being because no flotation devices had yet been developed to keep clients fully above water, is still an essential part of the work. Even with the advent of various float devices we use with Watsu today, it's the closeness between giver and receiver that distinguishes Watsu from subsequent forms of

Articles in this issue

Links on this page

Archives of this issue

view archives of Body Sense - WINTER | 2018