Early in my life, I began a journey of listening to and living from my heart.
In 1980 I answered my inner voice and without hesitation left behind my home, a satisfying relationship and a successful career as a free-lance designer and seamstress for the Shakespearean Theater Company and National Ballet in Toronto, Canada to follow a silent monk and yoga master to Santa Cruz, California. It was not something that my intellect would ever understand … another “lifetime” was born.
Inspired by Baba Hari Dass’ peaceful presence, I immersed myself in arduous daily practice. I learned and lived Karma Yoga (selfless service) at Mt. Madonna for seven years. From Baba Hari Dass, I learned that we are ultimately our own teachers. I studied and taught Ashtanga Yoga as part of my practice as a member of the community. My desire to follow a path with heart met with many companions; among them study in Acupressure, Continuum, Cranio-Sacral Therapy, Feldenkrais, Hatha Yoga, Hellerwork, Polarity, as well as countless others.
I moved to Harbin Hot Springs in California to explore Watsu in 1990. Receiving my first session from Harold Dull, the creator of Watsu, I knew instantly that I had found my passion and life’s work. For me, Aquatic Bodywork provided a direct tap into the deep, peaceful, meditative consciousness that I had been seeking through my Yoga practice. Besides training formally as a Bodywork Therapist and teacher, I assisted or co-taught every Watsu class with Harold for the next five years. These were the early years of Watsu. I connected with others who were drawn to Harbin and Watsu from around the globe and were developing and teaching complementary bodywork therapies. Those connections grew into long-standing friendships and collaborations that would prove to benefit the Worldwide Aquatic Bodywork Association (WABA) as it evolved as an international organization concerned with teacher development, ethical standards, curriculum requirements for practitioners and of course the evolution of the work itself.
When Arjana Claudia Brunschwiler created WaterDance she had never heard of Watsu. Subsequently she saw a teaching video of Watsu and decided that she wanted to learn more about it.
Harold Dull had been traveling in Europe and returned to Harbin with a video. He thought I would enjoy it because of its artistic professionalism. He said that the receiver was a beautiful dancer-like model. When Arjana Claudia Brunschwiler (the model) showed up at Harbin Hot Springs to study with us in 1992, my anticipation of meeting the creator of WaterDance was overshadowed by a connection with someone who was to become a lifelong friend. Our authentic selves crashed like cymbals vibrating with joy.
It was almost the end of her three-month stay before I asked to receive a WaterDance. During the session I realized that the potential of Watsu is magnified in WaterDance. After the session I asked Arjana “How can I learn how to do this?” She answered that she could personally teach me during the following week. Eventually we convinced Harold to let us teach WaterDance in his school the following year. Harold came as a student along with Alexander, Richard, Jahara, Alma Flor and other pioneers in the aquatic bodywork world. That year all twelve of the students gave free WaterDance sessions to anyone who entered Harbin’s gate. It was a blissful time.
In 1998 I manifested a personal dream of opening my own Aquatic Bodywork training studio in the Florida Keys at the edge of the ocean. Though I have traveled the world as a teacher my tranquil, seaside paradise remains my anchor and my joy. For over 35 years I have been giving, developing, teaching and learning forms of bodywork that offer me and my students the opportunity to listen through the body, to be inspired by the heart’s wisdom, to touch our tender capacity for effortless self-healing and peaceful “be”-ing, and to connect and share that experience with others.
My teaching style reflects my belief that learning is a dynamic, flowing, self-directed process. I have a rare ability to pick up threads in each student’s unique life tapestry, which can help them to clarify, integrate and expand their distinctive gifts and talents. I am thorough, thoughtful, gentle and intuitive. I “hear” the subtlest of cues (verbal and non-verbal) and skillfully extract from the students’ own resources what needs to be accessed in order to unlock their full potential.
Aquatic Bodywork can be a transformational conduit for self-healing: physical symptoms, emotional stressors, and spiritual seeking. I teach a unique way to listen with the body, and instill in my students a reverence for the responsibility of compassionate touch. Building on essential body mechanic skills, students learn to “dance” with another in an effortless, aquatic ballet of unconditional acceptance. Within the nurturing, peaceful learning environment that I create, students find the confidence to ask themselves new questions, to listen to and from their hearts, and to be open to finding new answers.
It is important to me that I honor the forms and the intentions of those who created the healing arts that I teach. Focusing on foundation, structure and body mechanics is similar to teaching yoga. People think that teaching asanas is teaching yoga. Teaching meditation is more invisible.
However, asanas are only one aspect of yoga. Asana means “seat”. Asanas are a means to an end. They could be considered the body mechanics of yoga. Asanas are a means to attain higher states of consciousness.
I have had the honor of co-teaching with Shinzo Fujimaki since 1991. His deep knowledge of shiatsu melded perfectly with aquatic therapies. We have been teaching a yin/yang balance class called Fire & Water as well as E.A.S.Y. (Energetic Aquatic Shiatsu Yoga). I am humbled by his blog entry about our partnership and friendship.
There is beauty in structure, balance and symmetry; like the grand design of the universe, an atom, a breath, a flower, a tapestry or a well-constructed verse. Learning how to create within structure reveals our vulnerabilities. It tests our conviction and commitment. It makes us question our abilities and ultimately what is allowed to emerge is our authentic selves.
This is what we share with others. Sharing our authentic selves is the heart of the work and the work of the heart.
Minakshi is a certified continuing education provider
both national (NCBTMB #394182)
and Florida (Department of Health #50-6353)
as well as a leading Aquatic Bodywork Instructor
for Healing Arts Professionals
who want to grow their practice with ease.
Her system offers a proven four step protocol (WATSU I, II, III and an elective)
for strengthening the confidence and practical skills
needed to create a full and prosperous aquatic bodywork practice.
She teaches at her location in the Florida Keys as well as all over the world. Here is a map of where her students are located: