Grant contacted me 12-months ago when he was 21-years of age. He had been living with a fear of the water since his childhood. Somehow during his school years he slipped through the net, and never learned how to swim. More importantly, he never learned to relax and enjoy the water.
His first swimming lesson with me was on a cold, wintery afternoon. It’s not always easy slipping out of warm clothes into bathing trunks, and it’s easy to feel anxious and uncertain of what to expect. Thankfully I work in a private pool, which is warm and in a peaceful and calm environment.
I like to start students off either sitting on the side of the pool with their feet in the water, or walking in the pool with me. Grant chose to walk in the pool. Whether it’s your feet, or all of your body, just being in the water helps the student face their fears and connect with how they are feeling at that present moment. For some people it can evoke very deep emotions, and for others their fear kicks in and they panic at the thought of being in water.
The key to my method is the one-to-one gentle support during the process. The Mind/Body Awareness Programme that I have created helps the student to mindfully listen to their bodies; to consciously connect to their breath, and to mentally and physically slow down. By slowing down, the student is better able to understand not only the dynamics of their body, but their connection with the water.
Water makes up 80% of our bodies, and is already a bigger part of us than most people realise. Whatever feelings run through our bodies, those same feelings resonate into the water we are immersed in. If one’s feelings are of fear and anxiety, the water will reflect those same feelings and turbulence is created between the student and the water.
To help Grant understand his fear, I introduced him to Ai Chi, a programme that I practice. Ai Chi is slow and controlled, with movements that flow endlessly into one another. The slow movements help the student to understand their breath control and the flow of energy, which helps the physical balance calm the emotional balance. When these two components connect, the student is often better able to deal with their fears and anxieties.
Over the weeks Grant learned to submerge, float, and glide comfortably for the first time in his life, which is a huge accomplishment. If, or when his fear surfaced, he had the tools to deal with it. No longer was his fear guiding him. The process empowered Grant, giving him the confidence to trust in the relationship that he was building with the water.
During most of my work with Grant, I video a portion of his lesson so that he could see his achievements for himself. Grant was able to visually experience how far he had come in his swimming journey. As Grant progressed with his swimming he learned that it was not about the destination, but about his swimming journey. Through his dedication and commitment he fulfilled his dream. He swam a length of the pool comfortably, yet at the same time not quite believing he did it.
Grant has kindly agreed to allow me to share his swimming journey video, which hopefully will inspire others to fulfill their dream, and knowing that it’s never too late to learn to swim. If you would like to achieve your goal, to be comfortable and safe in the water, then follow Grant’s lead and explore enjoythewater.
To view a youtube video of Grant’s swimming journey please visit; Grant overcomes his fear of the water.