Namaste and Welcome to Thai Yoga Metta
Thai Yoga Metta is a name I have given to my form of the ancient yoga therapy called Thai Nuad Boran, also known as Traditional Thai Massage, Thai Massage, Thai Yoga Massage and Thai Yoga Therapy. It is not massage or bodywork therapy as it is known in modern Western culture and is mis-represented by association with massage. It is an ancient and unique blend of Yoga, Ayurvedia and Buddhist knowledge and traditions. It’s roots are directly in yoga and yoga therapy and the Buddhist practice of Metta, loving kindness. As a yoga therapy practice it is experienced as both deeply relaxing in a dreamy meditative way and enlivening as energy is unblocked and stimulated. In my Thai Yoga Metta practice this yoga therapy also incorporates breath, meditation and Metta and has become a spiritual practice for me. The recipient rests comfortabley on a mat on the floor and is fully clothed in loose comfortable clothing, experiencing the benefits of both yoga and meditation. I invite you to come try it out.
Why do I call this Thai Yoga Metta?
Why have I chosen to call what I do Thai Yoga Metta instead of one of the other common names for this ancient practice? For several reasons. In the lineage of both of my teachers I learned this practice as Thai Yoga Therapy or Thai Yoga Massage. The teacher who was the teacher of both of my teachers, Asokananda, felt that the spirit of the ancient practice had been lost over time as it had wandered from it’s origins in yoga, Ayurveda and Buddhist practice. He put the awareness of yoga back into this ancient therapy and referred to it as Thai Yoga massage or Thai Yoga Therapy. He also brought meditation, breath and Metta back into the teaching. With experience I felt that I wanted to have my offering be both a spiritual practice for my self and an offering of Metta (loving kindness) for my clients. I also wanted to set this practice completely apart from the Western concept and experience of massage or bodywork which is often pure body manipulation with little awareness of any of the deep roots of this practice. Much of what is practiced today as Thai Massage is more western massage than Thai Nuad Boran or Thai Yoga Therapy. In my own offering I bring 40 years of yoga, breathwork and meditation to this practice and the name Thai Yoga Metta seems truly fitting. I believe that my offering of Thai Yoga Metta is spiritually akin to the original Thai Nuad Boran.
What should I expect during my Thai Yoga Metta session?
In Traditional Thai Massage the body is slowly and smoothly moved and compressed along 10 main energy lines to relieve tension, release restrictions, and tonify the body inside and out. Relaxed, conscious breathing is emphasized and helps create a calm, peaceful state of mind-body. While Thai Yoga or Thai Nuad Boran is a more rigorous workout for your body than a western table massage, Thai ‘Massage’ is meant to be therapeutic, not strenuous or painful. An open line of communication is maintained to ensure your comfort and safety throughout the Thai Yoga session. The goal of Traditional Thai Massage is to open up and balace the energy-body, while respecting physical body limits. The effect is uniquely relaxing as well as energizing.
My primary offering is a 2 hour session. Although I will do sessions from 1 to 4 hours in length. I require a first session to be at least 2hrs and I always provide an introductory offer to make it easier for you to try it out as well as affordable packages to continue. Depending on your situation, subsequent sessions can be shorter (60-90 minutes) but I will always encourage the standard 2hr session or longer. A Traditional Thai Nuad Boran session can be 3-4 hours long and my initial training prepared me for 3+ hour sessions. Now after 16 years I have enough knowledge and experience to do 9-10 hours of Thai Massage, if I could do such a session. The reason Traditional Thai Yoga ‘Massage’ sessions are so long is that thorough coverage of the energy points and lines is a part of the traditional therapy. When the lines are covered thoroughly the experience is very deeply rejuvenating and very balanced. Many of the the ancient benefits ascribed to Thai Nuad Boran are based on that depth of coverage. Unless you experience this it is hard to grasp. It is also common for a recipient to not have any awareness of time during the session, as if they are in deep meditation and completely ‘out-of-time’. I have never had a client be ready to end a session early. In a typical western massage environment it is difficult to accommodate true Traditional Thai ‘Massage’ because of the orientation to completing a session in 50 minutes or at most being able to start the next client in 90 minutes, and most who have received superficial training in Thai techniques through western massage schools do not have enough training to do more than a 60-90 minute session and are unable to maintain a meditative state for the longer sessions. If it is your need for me to do a shorter session I will always do a balanced session but it is not possible to address specific issues in a shorter session.
Thai Yoga appeals to a wide range of people because it encourages them to let go of restrictions and go beyond their present limitations. It’s beneficial for all ages, flexibility and activity levels. While each person will respond to Thai Massage in relation to their own experience and present state of health, it is well to remember that Thai Yoga has been used for countless generations to counter degenerative forces and promote wellness. It is also widely used by professionals, athletes, dancers, yoga teachers, and students.
What are the Origins of Thai Yoga ‘Massage’?
Thai Yoga ‘Massage’ is Traditional Thai Massage, Thai Nuad Boran or nuad phaen bo rarn,as it is called in Thailand. That translates as ‘Ancient Pressure’ and gets called Ancient or Tradtional ‘Massage’. It’s origin is attributed to an Indian Ayurvedic physician and Yogi, Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha, who was a friend and contemporary of Buddha and the physician of the Sangha of Buddhist Monks and nuns. It has more than 2500 years of history of therapeutic healing. For most of it’s history Thai ‘Massage’ was only practiced and taught in the Buddhist temple or wat and was considered a spiritual practice. Giving a Thai Massage was a practical application of Metta, the Pali and Thai word from Theravada Buddhism denoting “loving kindness”. In Traditional Thai Nuad Boran, the practitioner gives the massage while maintaining a meditative state with full awareness and mindfulness. In this state the practitioner is able to develop intuition of the energy flow in the body and of the prana lines and to treat people according to their needs. The energy lines used in Thai Nuad Boran are called Sen in Thailand but are in fact the energy lines from Yogic Tradition, called the prana nadis. The charkas, or main energy centers of yoga, lie on the main prana nadi, the sushumna. The sen or prana nadis are located in the pranamaya kosha. In yoga tradition, the human being has 5 sheaths or layers, called the pancha kosha, or 5 bodies. The pranamaya kosha is the energy body through which the life-force, prana, enters and flows, and connects, or bridges, the material body (anamaya kosha) with the subtle bodies which support conscious mind & memory, higher intellect or buddhi, and spiritual connection with all of life. The loving (metta), conscious(meditative) application of a thorough systematic flow of movement and pressure to the Thai sen (prana nadis) along with the conscious use of breath (prana) is Thai Nuad Boran. Physical energetic blockages are released and the the physical and subtle bodies are energized or enlivened with prana. This is the goal and foundation of the practice of yoga. That is why this practice is yoga therapy. It is a yoga therapy which incorporates the experience and results of the practice of yoga asana, pranayama and meditation with metta, loving kindness and regardless of whether you are a practitioner of yoga or not this yoga therapy brings the benefits of yoga. If you are a practitioner of yoga it supports and furthers your practice. This is also why it matters whether the practitioner has only learned a few ‘Thai’ techniques or whether the practitioner has depth of personal experience with yoga asana, pranayama and meditation. And yet it must also be said that, like the practice of yoga there are benefits at all levels.
What therapies has Thai ‘Massage’ been used for?
Thai Nuad Boran has been used for these and other therapies: acne, allergies, anxiety, athletic training and recovery, arthritis, Ayurvedic therapy, back pain, cramps, circulatory issues, coughs & colds, constipation, depression, diabetes, ear pain, elder care, Fibromyalgia, head aches, heart attack, high blood pressure, knee pain, low energy, neck pain, numbness, pregnancy, sciatica, shoulder pain, sinusitis, sleep disorders, varicose veins, wellness/whole body balancing, yoga therapy for kapha, pitta, or vata imbalance.