Thai Yoga Massage
Written by Nora Benian.
Thai Yoga Massage is an Ancient eastern body work that dates back to India 2,500 years ago. This healing art has travelled through Asia and has developed roots in Thailand where it is still very commonly practiced today. Workers go for a lunch hour massage in the temples where dozens of others are also receiving their massages just to get back up, more revived though, and get back to work. It is extremely affordable and so it is done regularly, much to their benefit. It costs about $7 to $10 in Thailand compared to here, $60 minimum for an hour.
If you have not had the opportunity yet to experience this full body stretch and massage, you ought to make it for yourself. There is no other massage like it and it is most highly recommended for Yogis and Yoginis. It helps one move past their usual limitations and plateaus in their yoga practice and self development. The practitioner intuitively senses the type of pressure you require, and the specific series of poses you need. In order to release the blocks in the energy lines of the body, known as Sen lines or more commonly referred to as meridians, the practitioner listens to your body's responses during stretches and manipulations to continually cater the massage to your needs. The rhythmic rocking, thumbing and palming manipulations along these lines release toxins and tension allowing the Prana (life force) to flow through you more fully.
There are places the practitioner can get to that you cannot, even with the best of yogic practices. When you are stretched and massaged without you moving your own body it provides a completely different experience. This is why Thai Yoga Massage is also known as 'Passive Yoga.' It has been said that it is 90 minutes of pure heaven. A lot of self-realisation takes place too because of the meditative quality to the practice. Each block worked on the recipient is flooded with energy that is helping you consciously acknowledge the message within it, which is how you can truly release it for good. Of course some recipients describe this experience as enlightening, and others feel it's simply the best massage they remember receiving.
There is still more to it though. Ayurveda plays an integral role in the treatment prescribed. Ayurveda is a sister science to yoga, and it encompasses the qualities of your being. Whether you are hot and sweaty or cold and dry, slow or quick in movement and speech. If your are sensitive or tough, then many more attributes are considered. What the practitioner is really looking for is your 'dosha.' According to the scripture and modern colleges of Ayurveda, there are three doshas, and all of us are made up of a combination of them. Your treatment is catered to your constitution. You want to walk away lifted and clear not confused and lethargic.
Your treatment begins with a warm green tea and a getting to know you conversation. The Practitioner has an opportunity to hear about your physical limitations, complaints and injuries, which are all necessary to be able to give you the right treatment. An explanation is given about the service and how the client may experience it or feel afterward. A moment of intention is made for both the recipient and practitioner to ensure a safe and effective treatment. Then the hands are laid on the shoulders. The first portion of the massage is in a seated position (cross-legged) but supported so you don't have to use many muscles. Shoulders, neck, head and back get rotated, leaned on, thumbed and stretched. Breath is guided into certain poses as you would in a yoga class.
Finally you can lie down. Your feet, legs, hips receive the much needed attention they deserve and you get elongated through the arms and torso. Getting flipped can be fun but also scary for those who always like to be in control. It's worth an attempt, though it's a neat experience. Your back and buttocks get elbowed and stepped on just before you're pulled into an effortless Cobra.
Flipped again to be elongated once more and covered with a warm blanket as your temperature will be dropping by now. It's time for the abdomen to be massaged so that the toxins are pushed out. Arms, hands, fingers are gently massaged and pulled releasing all that tension from thinking while typing or working with your hands which can be practically always. Last but definitely not least is your face and head. Mmmm is all one can say here. A few final strokes to close the session and you are in a deep state of relaxation and meditation.
Usually one can expect a feeling of lightness and physical freedom for the first 5 to 12 hours if no demands are made on the body during that time. What is experienced for the next few days is a peacefulness that gives strength and balance. This state helps ward off stress for longer than usual. Having gone through this process is practice for stress-free living. The ability to be stress-free grows with each experience of peacefulness. So carry on Yoginis and Yogis.
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