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My relationship with water

Harold Williamson
© Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum. Photo credit: Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum


My star sign is Leo ‘the Lion’ but some cats can swim !!!

Swimming is a life skill that gently expands your boundaries.  I love to swim and have done all my life. We all swim before we could walk or breath, in the womb. I am drawn to water by the passion of our predecessors. I like to dip my toe into an alien ocean and tackle distances far beyond my longest pool laps.

Swimming is my salvation, gliding weightless, most of my body being submerged and self absorbed appealing to all my body, and after a great swim you are starving and need to eat. Slicing a silent trail through whatever patch of blue I can find freedom in. I tell myself as the medical profession say, to think of something pleasant and count backwards. I'm back in the drink, enveloped by the sea, a pond, a fresh water Scottish Loch or Irish Lough or a turquoise box, carving out long and languorously for mostly breast stroke that lulls me into serenity.

At one level it's purely sensual: the silky feeling of the medium of water on my skin; the opportunity to float freely.  The chance to reach and stretch my body and mind beyond its earthly limitations of gravity.  Water helps strengthen and soothe every muscle in my body. But it's also an inward journey giving me time to quiet my mind, a time for contemplation, when encased in an element that’s sometimes hostile but always familiar. I find myself at peace, able and eager to flex body mind and spirit. To work things out without interruption of the day to day. The calm silence is stunning.

Over the years I’ve been lucky enough to have experienced an eclectic collection of water holes around the world. I've swam Caribbean seas,  the Med and Aegean with black volcanic beaches, in British streamed ponds and cold dark scary lochs. I once even swam in a moat in Shrewsbury. Atlantic oceans and Irish seas to countless indoor heated pools and awesome infinity pools. Fresh water, sea water I’ve never regretted taking the plunge. Many a fellow swimmer has told me that it restores their sanity from the world and resets their buttons. Swimming and water works magic .

One of my favourite films “Finding Nemo”, moral guidance from Dory the big blue fish comes when Marlin, the clown fish gets grumpy, Dory sings “when life gets you down do you wanna know what you've got to do? Just keep swimming swimming swimming.”

My other love is Yoga which I have been practicing not quite as long as swimming. So I count my lucky stars to have found Birthlight and have the opportunity to combine them both, putting them into practice and spreading the joy to many others the harmony of Aqua Natal yoga, Baby Swimming, Toddler Swimming, and on dry land Pregnancy Yoga and Postnatal Mother and Baby Yoga. With Birthlights training and guidance, holistic approach and nuggets of wisdom, there's no better way to spend my working life doing what I love.

If anyone out there is contemplating whether to dip their toe in, I couldn’t recommend more highly the pool of knowledge that is Birthlight. Just dive in.

Gill Bann

Birthlight Aquanatal Yoga Tutor-in-training