Monday, May 17, 2010

Thai Yoga Massage Level I

Hello, my long lost blog!

First things first - another class announcement regarding Creative Vibrations.  I may be teaching twice on Mondays!  I'm in talks with the owner regarding scheduling, but I think it's going to work out so that I teach an Open Level Yoga class at 5pm and a Yoga Basics (more specifically geared for beginners) at 6:15.  So come on to Ditmars at the end of the N/W line and bring friends!

When I started this dandy little thing last month, my intention was to create an outlet for myself (and hopefully others) to sift through and make sense of all of this newly acquired yogic knowledge I've been swimming in since moving to New York and training to be both a teacher and a more dedicated student of yoga.

And then I began another teacher training program and promptly fell off the face of the earth!  I can't believe how the time has flown since I completed the intensive.  When I emerged from the all consuming world I had a sudden feeling of panic.  I abandoned my normal work and routine for five days to learn this beautiful practice, but the world most definitely didn't slow down to let me catch up! 

It's tough when something like that happens not to feel like you're behind, and that feeling can be plenty overwhelming.  I tend to be a schedule-making calendar-worshipping slightly type A micromanager of my own life.  I let myself get caught up in all the things I hadn't done and needed to catch up on and got down on myself...when my very wise boyfriend reminded me - I had just taken a huge leap forward for my career!  I learned so much in those five days I could never hope to describe it.  It meant a few other things got put on the back burner, but panicking and beating myself for being "behind" was helping no one.

So with that sage wisdom, I plowed through the work that awaited me at my job as well as my Yogini work and have finally begun to emerge for air.  Hence: late blog entry.

Lotus Palm Thai Yoga Massage, Level I Intensive
Wednesday, May 5 was the first day of a five-day journey introducing me into the wonderful world of Thai Yoga Massage, taught by Jyothi K. Watanabe of the Lotus Palm School in Montreal.  It was a whirlwind and a challenge but it was mostly just plain yummy.

It can be a little difficult to describe what Thai Yoga Massage actually is.  I gave it a shot on my website, accompanied by some pictures to give an idea of what a couple of the poses look like.  The best way, I think, is to experience it.  It's not a traditional massage - you're not on a table (though there is a version of TYM that is), you're fully clothed, and most don't stay in one position the whole time.  You start in a seated position and your practitioner performing the massage moves your body for you, basically.  Some poses are relatively still and simple and others are more dynamic.  However, no matter how pretzel-like a pose may appear, you are not required to practice yoga or to even be athletic or flexible to receive a massage.  The practitioner will never force your body to move past its natural range of motion or flexibility.

Jyothi and her amazing assistants, Jenny and Dave, took our class through the entire 90-minute sequence of a standard massage.  She's been teaching the Lotus Palm Method for over ten years and her knowledge and ability to share it is staggering.  Aside from being incredibly smart and intuitive, she's unbelievably funny.  I could have happily gone back to the intensive for five more days to learn from her and practice with my fellow students.

The culmination of the experience was for the class to pair off and essentially practice the full 90 minute flow on each other, which allows me to say from personal experience and with total confidence that you will feel more open, relaxed, and again, for lack of a better word, yummy after a Thai Yoga Massage than any other physical experience.

I'm still a ways away from getting my certification.  Lotus Palm has a rigorous program for its three levels of certification - Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced.  For a Basic certification, you must complete both Level I & II Intensives, submit 30 documented massages, and experience two one-on-one sessions with Jyothi where you get excellent feedback on your progress.

What does this mean for those of you reading the blog?  It means I need bodies for practice!  So if you and/or someone you know could benefit from 90 minutes of passive stretching and massage, please let me know.

I felt drawn to Thai Yoga Massage when I first read about it last summer, before I even really knew what it was.  Now that I've officially begun my journey, I feel so lucky that it has exceeded my expectation.  This art combines yoga, massage, and most importantly, metta, a Buddhist word that essentially means loving-kindness.  Spending 90 minutes dedicating my mind, intuition, and body to serving another person and deliver them into a state of physical, mental, and spiritual ease is the ultimate metta and meditation for me.

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