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Yoga Beyond Fitness Blog


About Karin

Yoga teacher, practicing yoga since 1997, teaching since 2003, writer/translator, global soul, world traveller (and sometimes beyond), passionate about eastern philosophy and western psychology, especially its application in mind-body practices such as yoga and somatic movement therapy, deeply in love with life, knows that our greatest teacher lies within, also sometimes a total mess - it's part of the package!

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    Mind, Body and Beyond

    Friday, September 10. 2010

    ... continued from Benefits of Thai Yoga

    Touching the surface of the body, applying pressure on the deeper tissues, stretching and rotating the tissues surrounding the joints, these are the ways through which the organism perceives itself and through which it organizes its internal and external muscular responses.

    Thai Yoga can put the receiver in touch with this body-mind relationship, allowing the receiver to really feel his/her body and send the appropriate signals to the mind to consciously or unconsciously process the new feelings and begin the necessary physical, mental and spiritual releases to heal habitual behaviors and chronic conditions.

    The only work the receiver needs to do is to remain equanimous as the techniques are applied.

    And achieving equanimity is at the heart of all true yoga practice. It implies exercising the means to stay truly at peace in whatever we are doing, be it yoga, meditation or translating these into daily life.

    Thai Yoga can give us a good glimpse into how to practice equanimity at the level of sensation and how awareness of sensation can help us in daily life.

    How does Thai Yoga work?
    Thai yoga bodywork generates a careful flow of sensory information to the mind of the receiver that the mind can use to 'heal' any broken relationship between neural and muscular responses.

    It's an artful manipulation of physical energies, creating a series of encouraging sensory impressions that help to restore the coherent flow of sensory information with which we organize our body and our mind. It produces the kind of thoughts and feeling states that encourage the conscious awareness of our tactile sources of information to assemble an accurate image of our body and to regulate its activities.

    Thai Yoga bodywork puts the mind in touch with the body as one learns about his or her body in exactly the same way as one learns about other objects – by feeling it.

    The greatest gift of Thai yoga bodywork is increased self-awareness of what is actually happening in the body moment-to-moment – a powerful way of resolving and letting go of physical and energetic blockages.

    For more information about Thai Yoga and espritrelax yoga classes, workshops and retreats please contact us.

    Thai Yoga basics >>

    Theory and practice of Thai Yoga >>

    Effects of Thai Yoga >>

    Benefits of Thai Yoga >>

    Benefits of Thai Yoga

    Friday, September 10. 2010

    The benefits of Thai Yoga are far-reaching ...

    The postures have a strengthening effect on the nervous system through their non-tiring physiological activities that bring about poise of body and mind.

    The stretches result in the lengthening of the fascia and muscles, and encourage greater movement than would be possible unaided. This provides traction and mobilization for the spine and joints, which in turn improves circulation and increases range of motion.

    Additionally, the acupressure techniques work on the deeper layers of muscular fascia, stimulating lymphatic drainage, relieving pain, and bringing a feeling of nurturing and general health to the receiver.

    Moreover, the synchronized breathing between giver and receiver, which is a key component of Thai Yoga, introduces a deep sense of tranquility and meditative calm.

    On the physiological and psychological levels, Thai Yoga offers similar benefits to traditional yoga practice. But there is more >>

    Effects of Thai Yoga

    Friday, September 10. 2010

    At first it may appear that Thai Yoga is merely concerned with the physical body because it deals with the movement of different parts of the body, and for most people, the physical body is a more practical and familiar starting point.

    However, Thai Yoga essentially addresses the energy body.

    The postures, stretches, twists, and acupressure movements are not 'exercises' as such but techniques that—when combined with skill, kindness, attention, and concentration—place the physical body in positions that cultivate self-awareness, self-observation, self-acceptance, and serenity.

    They open energy channels and psychic centers, and have a transformative effect on every aspect of being.

    They release mental tension by dealing with them on the physical and energy levels, altering electrochemical activity in the nervous system and acting somato-psychically through the body to the mind.

    What is felt in Thai Yoga massage is of major importance. Sensations and their subsequent mental responses transform the body's chemistry and physical structures.

    In short: by inspiring a heightened sense of physical well-being and stimulating more self-awareness, the receiver's mind is given the necessary information towards feelings that are more conductive, attitudes that are more positive, and habits that are more productive.

    Immediate effects for the giver and receiver:
       - deepens the connection of mind, body, and spirit
       - assists inner recognition of imbalances
       - encourages compassionate self-awareness
       - inspires physical vitality and well-being
       - awakens compassion and loving kindness
       - promotes authentic and mindful living

    More about the mind-body relationship in Thai Yoga >>

    More about the benefits of Thai Yoga >>

    More about the Thai Yoga basics >>

    Theory and Practice of Thai Yoga

    Friday, September 10. 2010

    The theoretical foundations of Thai Yoga lie on a concept of invisible energy lines running through the body. On each energy line ('nadis' in Sanskrit or 'sen' in Traditional Thai Medicine) there are especially important acupressure points. Working along these energy lines and on specific acupressure points makes it possible to conduct a whole-body energy balancing treatment on the receiver promoting a harmonious state of being.

    A typical Thai Yoga session lasts 2-2½ hours, and is performed on a floor mat with the receiver fully dressed in comfortable loose clothing, except for bare feet.

    Following the above described sen line theory, the Thai Yoga bodyworker moves the receiver through carefully balanced and sequenced postures. Using their whole body, in particular their hands, feet, forearms, elbows and knees, the bodyworker applies a combination of rhythmic massage, passive stretching, and powerful acupressure on the receiver's body. Each session starts at the receiver's feet and legs and then slowly moves up to the receiver's stomach, chest, arms, hands, neck, and head, finishing with a gentle facial massage.

    Many Thai Yoga postures, stretches, and twists can be described as 'assisted' Hatha Yoga for there are many similarities with therapeutic Hatha Yoga, which aims to find and relieve unhealthy muscle and joint tensions. Moreover, the unique techniques applied in Thai Yoga clear energy blockages and unlock a stream of opportunities to restore physical balance and mental harmony, opening a gateway to profound relaxation, stillness and equanimity.

    More about the effects of Thai Yoga >>

    More about the benefits of Thai Yoga >>

    More about the Thai Yoga basics >>

    Origins of Thai Yoga

    Friday, September 10. 2010

    Although this may not be immediately obvious from its name, the origins of Thai yoga can be traced back to India, not to Thailand.

    It appears that at the time of the Buddha, some 2,500 years ago, this form of bodywork was being taught and practised in Buddhist temples as a means to improve physical health and to prepare the body for lengthy meditations and the higher forms of spiritual practice.

    The legendary founder of this ancient healing art is believed to have been a doctor from Northern India known as Jivaka Kumar Bhaccha. Kumar Bhaccha was a doctor in the healing tradition of ayurveda, an ancient vedic system and sister science to yoga. He was a close friend of the Buddha and worked for the community who followed the Buddha's teachings. He is also mentioned as 'the father of medicine' in the Pali Canon, the oldest surviving text of Theravada Buddhism, found today mainly in Sri Lanka, Burma Myanmar, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand.

    As Buddhism spread out from India in the third and second century BC, its healing medicine spread with it and eventually reached Thailand (Siam). In the 17th century mention was made of old Thai medical texts written on palm tree leaves that included detailed descriptions of Thai yoga practices and techniques. They were held in safe keeping in the ancient royal town of Ayutthaya in the Kingdom of Siam. However, when Ayutthaya was destroyed by Burmese Myanmar conquerors in 1767, these texts were largely lost but an oral tradition continued being passed from teacher to student. In 1832 King Rama III had all surviving texts carved in stone at the Phra Chetuphon temple (Wat Pho) in Bangkok which today houses the famous Wat Pho Traditional Medical School.

    Owing to its oral tradition, a unique style of Thai yoga developed in each area of Thailand: the Northern style (Chiang Mai) and the Southern style (Wat Pho).

    More about the theory and practice of Thai Yoga >>
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