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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 someone, one arm under their head, the other arm under their body. When we feel them getting lighter on that arm as they breathe, our own 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, even if the one in our arms is no longer breathing to it. This, and the way our whole bodies are contained in warm water, help establish Watsu as a form of bodywork that addresses the entire body—for both giver and receiver. We don't engage single parts of the body but address them rhythmically as a whole, largely as a result of the closeness of the work. That 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 aquatic bodywork where practitioners float clients at a distance. Being held accesses an innate level of healing. When infants fall, a mother's response is to pick them up and hold them. Containment creates safety. It allows us to go deeper within and access every level of our being. It is a cornerstone of Watsu. The Union As a young poet in love with the uniqueness of each individual and event, I scorned the idea of everything being one as I developed the work. But when I started applying Zen shiatsu's principle of "being, not doing" to Watsu and its aspect of unconditionally holding others, I was surprised by how much oneness I felt with each person floating at my heart level, even those I would never have The beauty of Watsu is its adaptability, especially as it relates to the condition being addressed. "Water is in our every cell. We came out of water. We have experienced water in all its shapes and forms. We know water. When we explore water within water, we surrender and move in whatever way that particular body or form of water allows. Water is shape changing. And so are our bodies." A B M P m e m b e r s e a r n F R E E C E a t w w w. a b m p . c o m / c e b y r e a d i n g M a s s a g e & B o d y w o r k m a g a z i n e 53

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