The magic of touch: Thai yoga massage

What are you gifting your loved ones for the holidays?
For many of us, the instinct is to turn to tangible presents, or maybe vouchers for experiences.

But what about the gift of touch? It can even be a long tight hug, or a heartfelt back rub. At any rate, it seems to me like physical expressions of care and attention are not present enough during the holiday season. It’s high time we changed that!

The magic of touch became clear to me at the Thai Yoga Massage Workshop I took with Nicoleta at Sanapurna a few weeks ago. On a Saturday afternoon, a group of couples and recently matched partners learned about the principles of thai yoga massage and let themselves be guided through a 30-minute massage sequence – once as givers, once as receivers.

We started the workshop with seated meditation and optional chanting to Nicoleta’s favorite tune: Let the Way of the Heart Shine Through, a really beautiful background to the sharing work we were about to do. I must admit I did not know much about Thai yoga massage, so I was very grateful that we received an informative explanation of the principles of this practice, along with a visual script of the sequence we were about to perform.

Nicoleta walked us through each of the 7 principles outlined, and illustrated some of them along the way, before proceeding to the sequence demo. Out of all of them, the principle of “presence” resonated the most with me. This massage is a lot about transfer of energy, receptivity to the vibes of your partner and adaptation to whatever is needed by the receiver. It is, ultimately, an expression of love and compassion. It goes beyond the physical action & reaction and into the fiber of our being.

I felt the connection and energy transfer a lot during the practical part of the workshop. I offered the massage to my wonderful fellow TTC graduate, Anna – thank you for your trust 🙂 Even though I’ve become much more comfortable with touching and adjusting bodies during the yoga teacher training, Thai yoga massage required a different level of responsibility. The receiver is completely surrendering in front of you, in a vulnerable position, with eyes closed, fully entrusting their well-being in your hands.

It’s a quite magical moment when you support another human being in this way, and tune in to what their body needs. Also, on the practical side, massaging someone is also physically quite demanding! It was a bit of a revelation how heavy a leg can be 🙂 Thankfully, if you can find the right angle and posture, your work as a giver becomes much easier. A clear case of learning by doing 🙂

All in all, each of us observed, practiced and received this 30-minute massage sequence, and I truly admire Nicoleta’s stamina throughout this workshop. It’s not just about the strength to deliver the massage physically (heavy legs and all…) but mainly about maintaining awareness and being present for each and every touch. The photos don’t do justice to her passion and dedication for this work, but still, check out the photos below for a few impressions.

So have you reconsidered what you truly want to share with your loved ones – these days and every day?

A Thai yoga massage by Nicoleta may not be as accessible as a good hearty daily hug but it would certainly make for a special token of love and appreciation. You can even make a voucher out of it and wrap it in fancy gift paper if you want something tangible to put under the tree 😉

In Romanian we say that “the gesture is what counts” – well, make that gesture be a Thai yoga massage. I will count for a lot ♥

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