What is Thai Yoga Massage?

A lot of people have asked me lately, "What exactly is Thai yoga massage?" So, I thought I'd take a moment to attempt to explain it. First, let me tell you how I got into this ancient art of sharing metta (aka loving kindness) with others.

During my teacher training in Berlin with Cyndi Lee, she told the class that if we would like to become more comfortable with hands-on adjustments then we should take a Thai massage course. For some reason that stuck with me and I signed up for a weekend course at Kripalu with Lotus Palm on using Thai yoga massage for asana adjustments. I had no idea what I was signing up for really as I had no prior experience with Thai massage and like many of the people who ask me what it is, it's difficult to understand until you experience it. I remember coming home from that weekend so ecstatic about this new way to adjust my students and open the body that I wanted to get certified right away. But then I hurt my knee skiing in Idaho and had to delay it for a year. It took nine months for me to sit on my heels again, but I was determined because not only was I a yoga teacher, I wanted to study Thai massage and share this gift. After healing, I originally studied Thai massage at the Cincinnati Yoga School because it was close to my grandfather's house and then went on to continue training with Lotus Palm in Montreal and now Still Light Centre in Toronto.

A senior Shambhala teacher once told me that in Buddhist philosophy, these seeds that lead us down a certain path and connect everything are called "tendrils." And that path of becoming a yoga teacher and learning Thai massage is how I was able to transition into my second career and do the things I am today, like opening Embarque Yoga Therapy + Wellness.

Get to the point...what is it?
Thai massage is an accessible, dynamic form of bodywork dating back thousands of year that uses a blend of techniques to achieve a state of deep relaxation and peaceful release in the body, mind and spirit. Thai massage is performed fully clothed on top of a cushioned mat. During a session, a meditative practitioner gracefully guides the recipient through a series of passive, yoga-like stretches, using their hands, forearms, elbows, knees and feet to compress along the energy lines and palpate the muscles of the body. Throughout the treatment, rhythmic rocking and targeted acupressure are used to replenish energy stores and lull the recipient into a blissful state of relaxation.

Traveling to study can be quite expensive, so I partnered with Still Light Centre to make high quality Thai massage training accessible to everyone in Indianapolis beginning with Thai 101 this September. Still Light Centre offers an unparalleled and flexible program that balances theoretical, practical, artistic and business skills. And they make it easy and affordable to study Thai Massage at your own pace. Together, their course suite (Thai 101 and 201) produces masterful, confident practitioners who are equally empowered to thrive in their business pursuits. And their courses give even beginning students the knowledge to practice safely and expertly on anyone – period – regardless of age, flexibility, and existing health concerns.

To find out more, click here or feel free to email me and ask questions. And be sure to check out Still Light Centre's primary certification for more information as well. This course will change your life!

originally posted on Indy Yogi on July 29, 2015

Alyssa Pfennig