Thai Yoga Bodywork
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The mindfullness of touch
Bangkok, Thailand, a city famous for its exotic offerings, is also the site of Wat Pho’s Traditional Medical and Massage School – a center for the teaching, research and practice of the Thai healing tradition. It is a school unlike those seen in North America. At Wat Pho, massage and medicine are taught in a Buddhist temple – the “Wat” – adorned with filigreed designs and garden statues of figures in various postures dating back to the 16th century. It is here, in these forms and in this temple, that we find both an ancient art and an age–old philosophy.
What is thai massage?
Wat Pho is Thailand’s most famous monastery, dedicated to preserving the art of traditional Thai massage. Epigraphs detailing energy lines in the body, which Thai massage addresses, are etched in stone here. Until very recently, classical Thai massage was transmitted from master to master within a temple environment as part of a spiritual discipline, although variations on the massage were practiced within Thai families as a healing folk art.
Thai massage is, in fact, one of the ancient healing arts of traditional Thai medicine (along with herbal medicine and spiritual meditation). It is a full–body massage, performed on a floor mat, with both parties in loose, comfortable clothes. It incorporates t’ai chi moves, rhythmic motion, palming and thumbing along energy lines (sen lines), gentle stretching and the conscious use of breath. The practitioner uses her hands, feet, arms and legs to guide the recipient into various yoga postures, while remaining focused on their own body–center.