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Dive right in and enjoy a new form of aquatic exercise that won’t leave you floundering. Zen Swimming combines the ‘Shaw Method’ and the principles of ‘Hellerwork’ with all the exercise benefits of traditional swimming. Whereas ordinary lap-swimming can lead to a flood of problems including a stiff neck, shoulders, back ache or even headaches, the Zen method relieves tension by focussing on technique and positioning or ‘conscious’ swimming.
Roger Golten or ‘Dr Posture’ is a Zen Swimming ‘master’ and believes that most recreational swimmers focus on speed over technique and positioning. This leads to hunched posture and causes sore, tense muscles.
The ‘Hellerwork’ aspect of the workout stems from a belief that inflexibility originates in the ‘fascia’ or connective tissue covering the muscles. Dr Joseph Heller proposed that due to lack of use or stress, this ‘fascia’ becomes stiff and stick together to cause ‘knots’ in the muscle. Fascias throughout the body are connected, so when stress or stiffness occurs in one region it can affect movement and alignment in other areas.
Hellerwork aims to treat all the fascial structures in the body, loosening and realigning them to improve posture and ease of movement. By easing movement, the treatment is believed to improve the ‘energetic economy’ of the body, meaning that exercise becomes easier and requires less effort. During the session, Dr Posture will get into the water with you and use his hands, forearms, knuckles and elbows to (painlessly) manipulate the fascial tissues back into place.
You will then swim laps utilising the Shaw Method. The Shaw Method is an offshoot of the Alexander Method’s 3 R’s of swimming- rhythm, relaxation and range of movement. The Shaw Method encourages you to concentrate your whole self on the process of swimming, thus bringing a meditative quality to exercise. The aim is for swimming to become an opportunity to work on your internal and external selves at once, creating ‘psychophysical unity’ and a ‘lifelong learning experience’.
If you would like to improve your swimming technique without pounding out endless lengths in the pool then this could definitely be the class for you. If love to swim but suffer from neck, shoulder or back strain in the water then you could also benefit. The main aim is to encourage ‘excellence with ease’ so your initial level of fitness is unimportant. All you need is a basic grasp of swimming, suitable attire and a towel and you’ll soon be swimming like a salmon.
Dr Posture believes that ‘perfect practice makes practice perfect’- it may sound confusing, but basically it’s better to do an exercise well once that badly a hundred times. And who wouldn’t want to try a sport that makes you fitter the more relaxed you are?