a) A 3-D spiraling wave form, one of the Aston "signatures"
is the background medium used to convey many of the Agua Alma moves.
b) Basic Aston Mechanics is taught for support of practitioner's structural
balance. This approach to movement education is based on the fluid dynamics
of water rather than the standard principles of body mechanics which
is based on the properties of solid objects. This is a much better match,
as the human body is 75-85% water.
When we observe nature--the movement of the water down the hillside,
the shape of the wind blowing the grasses, the flow of animal movement--we
see that movement naturally occurs in 3-D dynamic spirals. "Dynamic"
in that the arc of the curve, and the direction of flow are in constant
change. In human movement, problems can occur when this 3-D dynamic
quality is squelched by the strong conditioning toward linear preferences
in modern culture. For example, for the most part, we live within recti-linear
structures, our city streets are recti-linear. We read straight lines,
and thus, tend to think linear thoughts. Ninety deegree angles are even
called "right" angles.
Imagine downtown Manhattan during the rush hour and the spatial impressions
people are making as they move down the street. In your mind, compare
them with the image of women in Africa or Asia as they walk to the well
in the morning, or to their garden. This comparison helps us see how
our bodies have been compressed into linearity.
The water is the perfect medium to help open the body to it's full range
of movement options.
When supporting the weight of another body and moving through the resistance
of water, it is crucial that the practitioner's base of support is as
dynamic as the "water-ride" she/he is providing to the recipient.
The Aston model has excellent means to provide the kinesthetic education
needed to maintain dynamic support throughout the rich range of movement
vocabulary encountered in the Agua Alma experience.
If the practitioner is supporting their his/her body well, her touch,
leverage, every interface with the client will also be smoother and
c) In the "East" session,
a basic-level structural assessment is taken while the recipient is
resting horizontally on the water on floats. Thus, the neuromuscular
release work can be tuned to the individual rather than a homogeneous
release which will reduce the tension level, but maintain the same tension
pattern of relative holding in different body-parts.(*Unless you are
working directly with Zia, the Agua Alma practitioners have trained
only in a very basic application of Aston principles. To become a teacher
of Agua Alma, introductory Aston intensives are prerequisite. An Agua
Alma course specializing in Aston skills has yet to be developed.)