Many yoga practitioners, students and teachers alike are being drawn to the healing practice of Thai Yoga Massage. Thai yoga massage seems to be a natural compliment to any yoga practice. Many teachers are adding traditional Thai massage training to their repertoire of healing techniques.
The practitioner and recipient move together in a choreographed dance of movement, breath and massage which can often last up to two hours or more. While often referred to as “lazy person’s yoga,” that particular description doesn’t do justice to the intricacy of movement and breath. It is true that the therapist does much of the work by moving the recipient into gentle yoga poses (Twists, Pigeon and Cobra are just a few examples), but it is up to the client to maintain and guide a meditative breath to create a state of mind where a deeper sense of healing and well-being is at the forefront of a session. Thai Yoga Massage therapists will sync their breath to the client’s so that there is a rhythm to the healing. Therapists often enter into a meditative state as well and feel just as renewed and refreshed as the client does.
Meanwhile, the practitioner uses a variety of techniques to massage the Sen lines, which are somewhat similar to meridians in Chinese medicine or nadis in Ayurveda. These lines originate in the navel and travel throughout the body ending at the extremities. The practitioner uses his/her thumbs, elbows, palms, forearms, feet and knees to stimulate acupressure points which create a rocking, rhythmic muscle compression. This releases the vital energy force known as Lom in Thai and is the same energy force that is referred to as Prana in the Indian yoga tradition.
A Thai Yoga massage is often performed on a mat on the floor. This gives the therapist more leverage to get deeper. The client wears comfortable clothes and no oils are used for this type of massage. The benefits of a Thai Yoga massage are the same as any yoga practice, to create an overall sense of well-being. This is also a practice that an experienced yogi can use to heal from an injury or be used as a detoxification. It’s also a great introduction and allows for ease into a yoga practice for a new student.