Words on Wellness
A Yogis Journey in Learning Thai Massage -by Marlene Sammy
My first Thai Massage happened on a crisp Toronto day 8 years ago. I was following my fascination with this kind of bodywork and, despite not having tons of rainy day spa dollars, I treated my 21 year old self to experience the passive assisted stretches that so peaked my curiosity. As those who have had Thai Massage know, the indulgence is well worth it. I remember very clearly slipping into a state of deep bliss that gently stretched my sense of time and space (not to mention my tight IT band) while feeling completely relaxed and supported. I was seamlessly guided from posture to posture that left my previously tired body feeling physically open and balanced and my previously cloudy mind at total peace and ease. Ever since that afternoon I have wistfully contemplated deepening my understanding of Thai Massage and learn its secret of universal loving touch. One university degree, a handful of desk jobs, and a yoga teaching career later, it is with gratitude and enthusiasm I pursue my Thai Massage certification at Still Light Centre.
My first day of Thai 101 gave rise to a great deal of excitement. With notebook, pen and green smoothie in hand I made my way to the delightful corner of Toronto know as Leslieville. Upon entering the bright and spacious studio I was pleasantly greeted by KC, one of the assistant teachers, and quickly made friends with the other students. All had slightly different reasons for taking the course but there was a common thread of wanting to share this mutually nourishing practice with family, friends, or professional clients. After our teacher Shai began introductions and took care of training formalities, he led us into an enlightening dialogue about Metta; loving-kindness. We practiced Metta while learning different Thai Massage stances to keep the practitioners body safe and happy, in addition to several touch techniques with palms or soft fist, and four glorious postures (my favourite being the aptly named angle twist). My exploration in learning Thai Massage had begun!
It was a full day but I left feeling energized and relaxed. I was eager to practice on my husband after his long workday that evening. His athletic yet stiffer body was a welcome challenge. I took my time and guided him into a semi sleep state while palming, thumbing and ‘milking’ his feet and ankles. After the massage ended we both felt fabulous and much more connected with ourselves and with each other.
The Thai 101 days to follow systematically unfolded the heavenly 90-minute sequence that, at day 5, really began to settle in my body and feel quite like a rhythmic dance. Seated postures lead us to forward folds and then savasana. Leg stretches turned into back massage and then backbending. And the grand finale of supine arm, hand, head and neck massage completed the flow (and how!). Having ample in-class practice time, working with different bodies, and being on the receiving end of this massage was truly informative.
We wrapped up our last day with a full practice and then shared our insights and next steps over a colourful potluck. In my excitement to share this technique I bought a beautiful blue and gold Thai Massage mat and left looking forward to playing with the material on my 20 practice massages clients.
My journey continues with ongoing practice and with Thai 201 this November. Thai massage is a gift for both the giver and the receiver and I cannot wait to learn more!
If you’re interested in our next training, Shai and Phil will be teaching Thai 101 on 2 weekends Sept. 20-22 and 27-29, 2013 at Still Light Centre in Toronto. Click here to register and find out more.