basic types of sessions based on the Symbology of the
Throughout history, the cardinal points of the compass, the four-directions,
have been a source of guidance when seeking one's way in the world. Specific
characteristics have been associated with the four directions, the East,
South, West, and North, by so many different cultures in so many different
parts of the world, that responsibility for correlating certain qualities
to the directions does not rest with any one culture, belief system or
Cultures as geographically diverse as the Mayan and Chinese, have been
found to have strong similarities in their interpretation of the energetic
characteristics held by the four directions. These are two cultures, amongst
many, which utilize the Four Directions as an energetic force in medicene.
This has been documented in the interesting comparison of Mayan and Chinese
medicine in the book "Wind in the Blood". ( Garcia, Sierra,
Balam) This demonstrates that these influences are important to acknowledge.
My understanding of the characteristics of the directions, conveyed here,
are influenced by many cultures via my travels and
experiences. I suggest that over time, by observing each direction,
including accordance with the annual cycle of the sun, one can learn the
attributes of the directions by listening to nature, and one's own body.
In the Agua Alma work, we use this ancient motif to help individualize
the work to the recipient's current needs.
The West : "Nurture Session"
The West session is appropriate for trauma, shock, overwhelm (physical
or emotional), fear of water, anxiety, or extreme fatigue.
This is the focus of choice if the primary needs are to nurture and/or
protect, or just to slow down. Here, the primary focus is to create safety;
thus, minimize sensory input. That is, less movement; more slowly, more
predictable. Careful observation can determine if touch is welcome. If
so, being held and rocked in body-temperature water is a potent foundation
for this session. If not, contact is minimized.
"Spiraling Core Session"
The North session is about fully experiencing the central energy of one's
core. Physically speaking, this correlates to the spine and the columnar
space surrounding the spine. When the spine moves into the fullness of
it's freedom, it will exhibit the combination of it's basic movements:
extension (open), flexion(closed), and spiraling.
My experience is that if one is feeling aimless, lost or confused, the
repetitive, directive movement through the core of the"North Session"
helps provide a sense of clarity of direction, decisiveness, or focus.
Conversely, if one is holding an intention or purpose very strongly, a
"North Session" will help support that intentionality.
East: "Newness Session"
The East is the body session.
It is the appropriate focus when relief from neuromuscular symptoms is
We are looking at the East as a continuum; ranging from structural balance
to somatic adventure. Lack of structural balance can prohibit "soaring",
or somatic adventure. In this case, the priority is to focus first on
freeing up range of motion in restricted body parts. Release of normalized
tension can provide a new level of freedom. Also, challenging one's physical
edges can provide a sense of "newness"; while stretching one's
ability to experience physical bliss is the "soaring" end of
If structural balance and/or increased range of motion is the priority,
the practitioner will do a basic tactile evaluation of relative tension
levels of the body's four quadrants, and the neck and head. This evaluation
process is influenced by Aston-Patterning methodology. Structural balancing
will proceed based on the information gathered.
My experience is that when the East focus is chosen accurately according
to the individual's current needs, the neuromuscular experience of this
session tends to support the "hatching" of a new project, idea
The South is also a continuum,
with a child-like innocent receptivity to all one's sensory channels on
one end. A South Session usually includes underwater
work. In a phenomena which has occurred often enough to earn the label
"going South" in Agua Alma parlance, a spontaneous amoebic or
octopus-like motion emerges from within and expresses itself without explanation
or reason. This is a wonderfully playful, open-to-life kind of experience.
On the other end of the continuum, blocked emotions can wall one off from
one's sensory experience, and creative self. The warm water pool is an
excellent environment to express and release, as the water effectively
supports full movement and a quick dive underwater buffers any verbal
release. In this case, the focus is to provide a safe arena for expression
of emotion which will allow for the fluidity of trust to re-emerge.