Power of Three meets Power of Water
The Watsu Round

In the Watsu Round, three take turns being the Holder, the Held and the Helper. Each turn in the Round begins with moves that open a Watsu and concludes with moves that complete a Tandem Watsu. Besides providing an ideal platform for learning, Rounds take the connection and power of Watsu to a new level.
Take turns in Watsu Round's three roles:
  1. The Held. Eyes closed, surrender to the water. Enjoy being taken through Watsu's powerful moves timed to your breath. Access every level of your being as your body is unconditionally held and moved as a whole. After being held from each side with the moves that open every Watsu, enjoy being held between the two in the moves that conclude every Tandem Watsu. Be gently leaned back at the wall, a hand on each of your heart gates**, their other hands holding your hands to their heart centers. Three become one.
  2. The Holder. Once you have connected to the breath, close your eyes. Let the water do everything. Drop into the emptiness at the bottom of the breath. Be drawn up out of it each time the one in your arms gets lighter, establishing the rhythm of the moves and stretches to come. When those moves take you beyond the breath, stop. Hold their body gates** pressed between your shoulder and hand until releasing it frees the movement of water as a continuum that engages your whole being.
  3. The Helper. Hold the Hara of the one held to help the holder use all his senses to connect to the breath. When the Holder closes his eyes, slip your hands away. Oversee the holder's moves, mirroring them, and the breathing, and the continuum, and the freedom, and the peace, in your own body. Three become one.
*Hara. This area around the body center in Japan, has a major role in the Zen Shiatsu that Harold Dull brought into the water as he was developing Watsu. This, and the engagement with the gates, takes Watsu into a realm beyond that of a relaxation technique.
** Gates. In India, Harold was told that parts of the body he was repeatedly drawn to were considered gates where the spirit enters. In some traditions these are considered the four corners, the places in the foetus where the arms and legs develop out of (the legs that connect us to the earth and the arms that reach out to others). Harold named those in the corners of the chest, where the lung meridians originate, the Heart Gates, and those at the hips, the Body Gates. He found that while keeping a tight hold of the body gates between his shoulder and hand, he became aware of how close the one he floated in stillness was to his heart. If we hold long enough, the letting go is a dam bursting, out of which a river draws us into a continuum of movement as water that engages our whole body.
Most Basic Watsu and Watsu 1 classes begin with the Watsu Round. Harold found that the Round's first three hours in a pool combined with one hour on land, makes an experience of Watsu that is complete in itself. It helps fulfill a goal Harold had since he initiated Watsu: to bring as many people as possible to the unconditional holding and whole body engagement of Watsu. It combines the half dozen breath integrated moves, that free the spine and open every Watsu, with the half dozen holds and stretches that, simultaneously done from both sides, bring a Tandem Watsu to its joyous conclusion. Even if you never take another Watsu class, you will never forget the depth reached, through Watsu's unconditional whole body holding, and the connection it celebrates. It can also be the first step on all our paths in water. Those who wish can continue to a 4 hour Expanded Watsu Round that incorporates the movement as water.

The complete Watsu round and Tantsuyoga (Watsu on Land) are combined in Watsuyoga, a perfect weekend for families and teams.

Benefits of Learning in Rounds

Learning in Rounds has proven to establish a supportive environment that enhances learning in various ways: by Paul Rich
  • Setting a Good Tone: From the onset, Rounds' participants experience learning Watsu as a joyful and supportive experience, with kindness and compassion.
  • Developing Rapport, Having Fun, and Providing Mutual Support: Group dynamics of Rounds enhance the ability to develop good rapport, promote a sense of fun and playfulness, promote curiosity and opportunity to get to know each other, and provide mutual support through feeling of inclusion and wellbeing.
  • Healthy Social Dynamics: Rounds, by their nature, with groups of three, help ensure that everybody feels included and able to participate; prevents undesirable social dynamics such as formation of cliches, awkward pairings, and being left out; prevents concerns about paired intimacy; and generally promotes feelings of safety, relaxation, and being supportive as the initial Watsu experience.
  • Enhancing Learning: By their nature, Rounds provide a natural way of learning, through a cooperative rather than competitive environment, opportunity to learn by receiving, giving, and observing, as well as by being guided verbally and practicing in silence, plenty of repetition without tedium, experiencing with eyes closed and open, and plenty of time for integration.
  • Accommodating Individual Needs: Individual learning style is supported, with opportunities to learn by hearing, seeing, doing, experiencing, being guided, figuring out on one's one, being part of both a larger group and more intimate smaller group.
  • Preparing for Working in Pairs: By learning initially in groups of threes, in every combination of receiving, giving, and helping, participants build a solid foundation concerning Watsu's basic moves, develop a supportive social context; and generally prepare for later possibilities of working in pairs, in a way that feels safe and natural.


Watsu should always be first learned from a qualified instructor who will train you in the body mechanics needed for your well being as well as that of the one in your arms. Find all the authorized upcoming classes here.
For information contact registry@watsu.com