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-By Kelli Glaze, R.N, RYT, Certified Yin instructor
What could be better than yoga with a massage? Let me tell you! Massage, aka assisted yin.
So you are looking for an experience, not a material gift, for that special partner in your life? Well, consider this: attend a couple’s workshop blending yin yoga and Thai massage. Ok so let’s clarify a few things; YOU KEEP YOUR CLOTHES ON!
Questions? In this blog I will unveil the layers of what Thai massage is and what does it has to do with yoga. I will also enlighten you on the very ancient history and roots of this practice:
- What are the benefits of Thai massage?
- What does yoga have do with massage?
- What does love have to do with yoga?
Ok, so here we go. Let’s talk history first!
The Short and sweet version of the history of Thai massage.
Once upon a time – many many thousands of years ago –some folks who practiced yoga and Ayurevedic medicine became heavily influenced by Buddhist spiritual practices and began to spread their teachings throughout out Asia, specifically Thailand, somewhere circa second or third century BCE. Like I said, it is an ancient practice. Why is that important? Well, because it means you can learn and share it, just as you have learned yoga. A guide will take you on a journey, but you hold the key as to when to go deep and when to soften and surrender.
What are the benefits of this massage with my clothes on with a room of perfect strangers?
Well, most of us have had a massage or at least a neck and shoulder rub. How did it make you feel? Relaxed or a general feeling of wellbeing? Perhaps a release for stress?
Thai massage has many healing properties on many levels. First, the emotional body . A release of tension hidden in the tissues. Did you even know you had issues hidden in your tissues? Yes you do. Remember that moment you held your breathe as you almost took a digger on the ice? What happened is you held your breath, your heart pounded, and you immediately knew the right word to express your surprise to this entire situation. Mental benefits are a stilling of the great thought factory of your mind. Physically, the body releases tension and toxins.
Thai massage is an arranged partnership with yin yoga! Wait, what the heck is yin yoga? Ok I have a blog on just Yin, but briefly: it is a practice of long held, static postures allowing the tissues and supporting cast (ligaments, tendons, joint capsules, along with the fluids and connective tissue such as fascia that nourish these tissues) to surrender, soften, and improve our R.O.M and flexibility!. Hmm? Sounds like a massage ! Exactly! You got it! Move five spaces to the head of the class! Just like yin yoga, Thai massage is intended to release and open stagnate lines of energy. These are often referred to as Nadis (little rivers) or prana, Chi. The energy body.
Have you ever experienced a static electrical shock or have you viewed and e.k.g reading of a heart beat pattern? Maybe you have at least seen the television show E.R.?! There will always remain debate as to the number of energy lines, but there could be literally thousands. They function to allow the flow of energy, prana, and blood, and to stimulate nerve function, decrease inflammation, increase circulation, and allow chemical responses in the body to act as they should. Calming the nervous system and bringing balance! I forgot to mention relieving pain and deepening the connection between mind, body, and spirit as well as increasing concentration and awareness. Buddha was once asked, “What do you get from meditation?” To paraphrase, he said, “Nothing! But what I loose is fear, anger and impatience.”
What does love have to do with Yoga?
Hmm self-compassion leads to empathy for self and others and, well, it just feels good!
What should I expect if I go to a work shop for Yin Thai yoga ?
First, drop all expectations. Think of it as a yoga class with you as the giver and receiver of assistance into postures. Wear loose and comfortable clothes. Bring your favorite partner (but not your dog – we will not be doing any down dogs!)
You will start out with a brief meditation and then discuss any information that would be helpful for your partner as the giver or receiver – such as soft, medium, or light pressure. Be honest. Tell your partner what you like and do not like and if something does not feel ok, speak up! Be open and relaxed. Let your energy be a conduit for one another. Just relax and enjoy both giving and receiving!
What will I have to do as the giver?
You will use your hands to rhythmically massage the body, gently stretching and twisting, or even deepening, a yoga posture.
What do I do as a receiver?
Well, receive and let go. Be honest about what feels good and does not.
If you have a condition or a concern, share it with your partner and only go as deep as you feel comfortable. It is Your Practice. If you have concerns if this is right for you, always consult a trusted health provider.
So what kind of yoga poses am I going to be adjusted in and adjust? I ain’t no yoga teacher.
Ok, so I love alignment based practices, but I also love functional yoga like Yin. This is more about feeling the poses get into you rather than you get into the posture. However, there is some physicality like swinging legs, palming shoulders, or deepening a posture such as Child’s pose.
What is stopping me?
I have no idea! That is a question you must answer. There are many resources on both yoga and Thai massage. If you want more go to the internet! Or you could find a local and reputable studio that offers a workshop – like the one at Elan on February 11th…