Thai Yoga BodyworkThai Yoga Bodywork (also known as Nuad Bo Rarn and Thai Massage), has done more to keep me dancing over the past decade than anything else. It’s also taught me more about the essence of Yoga than any other teacher, and keeps teaching me more and more about sensing through my body every time I practice it, which is often.
An ancient healing art with origins in Ayurvedic Yoga, Chinese medicine and Buddhist meditation, Thai Yoga Bodywork is an extremely potent practice for reducing stress, releasing pain and balancing the body, heart and mind. Unlike most Western massages, which attend mainly to the muscles, Thai Bodywork combines passive stretching, joint mobilization, acupressure, soft tissue manipulation and energy meridian work to open and harmonize every aspect of our organism. It’s practiced on a floor mat in loose, comfortable clothing and can be used to address everything from tight and inflexible muscles to constricted organs, chronic pain, depression and anxiety.
When I started practicing it in late 2004, I was suffering from most of these to some extent. Recently landed in New York and struggling to find a way to pay rent as a dancer, I was too tired and in too much pain to want to take dance classes. I had to figure out a way to use up the class card I had pre-bought, and that’s how I found myself in my first Thai Massage class.
In 2009, four years after getting certified and already in the process of building a practice, I made my first journey to Thailand and immersed myself in the teaching of Ajan Pichest. Pichest’s reputation as a master teacher and extraordinary healer precedes him, and what has carried forward and strengthened for me with every subsequent encounter with him has been the knowledge that gratitude is at the core of this work, and the understanding that in order to facilitate a shift, we need to feel more, not do more.
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