I just recently completed an intensive week of Watsu 1 and I must say it was a rich learning experience. Not only was it all about knowledge and skills but focused also on connection with the "receiver" of a Watsu® session. And since I intend to apply this newly refined skill as part of my own personal and professional development, my clients, be they abled or differently-abled will truly benefit from Watsu®. Here's Harold Dull, the founder of Watsu® presenting an introduction to this unique form of aquatic bodywork.
The course ran from November 19 to 24, 2007 at Quality Life Discoveries (Special People's Hub) and was supervised by Karen Neff, certified Watsu® practitioner, instructor and owner of Mandala Spas and Villas of Boracay. She was assisted by her husband, Tom Neff, also a certified Watsu® practitioner. There were only 6 of us as students and close guidance and supervision was provided. It included mostly hands-on sessions in the warm pools, a few didactics and land exercises. But generally, it was an intensive and exhaustive week, but at the same time a liberating and relaxing experience.
I have always been passionate about Watsu® ever since I received a basic introduction to it when I took a certification course in Sports for Physically Disabled Individuals in Tokyo, Japan (JICA sponsored). Ever since my professor lent me a training video, I've been integrating it if possible in my aquatherapy sessions, and demonstrating it in Aquatherapy classes. After receiving a Watsu® session, I'm convinced that this is something I could (actually, should) share to others. I saw it's potentials as a therapeutic modality among patients especially those suffering from pain, spasticity and other conditions. And since then, I've been looking for opportunities to further my knowledge and skills in Watsu®, but was only limited by my lack of resources (The courses offered in Harbin Springs, California are quite expensive not to mention, I have to travel there first. The nearest I've found was in India last September, but I couldn't leave my work in CAMP). It was providential that Quality Life Discoveries, per my recommendation, brought in the experts instead.
We learned primarily the Watsu® Transition Flow, perfecting it not only in the domain of technicality (remembering the biomechanics and sequence of movements) but most importantly on being able to connect in "resonance" with the receiver. Now, this is very important, as an academician myself, I've noticed that most students have only focused on the technicality of modalities, but are very weak in the more caring dimension of things. It gives a greater meaning on the term patient care – greater emphasis on "care"… it's not just handling but it's "caring". As in any modality, when the "caring" aspect is missing, one will not be able to achieve the full benefits. Unique to this course, We also applied Watsu® on children, both able and differenty-abled, where we have to consider modifications to the standard flow. Watsu® unlike other aquatic body work is very intimate. It is very interesting that we were discussing the following concepts aside from the techniques:
- Resonance/coherence – All objects will in time sync in frequency. In Watsu®, it is the synchronization of breathing and heart beats. Water provides a deeper opportunity for synchronization.
- Heart of service
- The undisturbed state – Many receivers have likened their experience of Watsu® as a re-wombing experience.
- And many more interesting ideas… which when you think about it works seamlessly with the technical stuff of things
Karen and Tom Neff have been very wonderful mentors. Their feedbacks which they say could be very harsh at times have been very constructive in our learning process. We as students felt their genuine love and concern in developing our own skills in Watsu®. We had wonderful classmates, who have been very cooperative and helpful in each other's learning experience also. Now I have to log 20 practice hours of Watsu 1 and then we will resume our course on December 10-15, 2007 for Watsu 2. Do you want a Watsu® session? I'd happily give you one!
Here are my latest Moleskine entries inspired by Watsu®…
H2Om (water - Om)... I recently completed my Watsu 1 course and I must say it was a truly fulfilling experience. Not only have I been wanting to learn this for personal and professional (as a physical therapist) development, but I have always been passionate about the esoteric nature of Watsu, how it is possible to reach levels of consciousness and sensitivity through water not only as a receiver but as a giver. This is a follow-up on my previous "Poetry in Water" entry.
Can you remember how it felt to be inside your mother's womb? There have been numerous testimonials from receivers of Watsu that describe the experience as a return to the mother's womb. It is afterall, a gravity-free environment where we are completely protected, stress-free and worry-free. I have a few interesting ideas on how this could be applied among differently-abled children. Another follow-up on my "Poetry in Water" entry series.