Ayurveda and Thai Yoga Massage
Updated: Jul 2, 2019
Ether. Air. Fire. Water. Earth. Which one best represents you and how does that change how you heal? Find out here...
Ayurvedic Thai Therapy
To begin to create a better understanding of Ayurvedic medicine, one must travel back over 5000 years to the historical beginnings of ancient India and the search for the science of life. From this time, a theory was devised that describes the creation and understanding of self.
To define one’s self, you must first acknowledge the distinction between the two forces that create life: unmanifested energy called Purusha, and matter, known as Prakruti. In India these forces, combine to make creation possible. This theory is called Samkhya philosophy.
From the union of Purusha and Prakruti, comes the understanding of the act of creation and the forming of creation. Together, these forces shape what’s known as Mahad, also known as the ego. From the ego, as in western thought, merges the perception of “I”, or concept known as self realization or consciousness.
Once these concepts are manifested together they form three operational principles called gunas: sattva, rajas and tamas. The gunas characterize behavior and natural phenomena and are considered to be more of a tendency to action rather than action itself. The sattva forms the mind and senses, creating balance, order and lucidity. The tamas guna is responsible for combining the elements of ether, air, water, fire and earth which is dominant in Ayurvedic traditions and is considered the action derived from selfish passion. The tamas gunas triggers the other gunas to engage and is associated with darkness, death and destruction. As we identify the effects of gunas within us, the journey of healing can begin.
Everything in this world is composed of the five elements: ether, air, water, fire and earth. When combined, the elements form what is known as the three doshas: vata, pitta and kapha. Doshas form the mental and physical processes within the body and are responsible for keeping the body alive. An Ayurvedic treatment begins with an assessment of the patient’s dosha and determined imbalances of the body and mind as they relate to that dosha. Our environment, food, water, lifestyles, habits, exercise and other choices all play a part in determining our level of balance and or imbalance. Once the dosha is determined and the imbalances are known, a treatment can be created using Thai yoga techniques to restore order and balance back into the body.
To begin to bring balance back to the body and mind, a treatment is created around the knowledge of the patient’s dominant guna, dosha and elements. Certain movements, pressure, direction, Sen lines, postures, marma points, food, exercise and meditation are all incorporated into a treatment plan devised specifically for the individual.
In Ayurvedic Thai massage, we follow the direction of energy called the 5 vayus or “winds”. These represent the direction of the movements of the body and therefore are used in Thai massage to attend to the needed vayu of the specific individual. For example, vata bodies are represented by the air or wind. Their energy is moving constantly in different directions and they usually find that they can’t relax or sit still. Massage given to a vata should be gentle, light, slow and centered. Therefore, it is best to treat the vata person with the” Prana vayu” which is pressure moving inward from the head into the body.
The other Vayus are: Udana is an upward movement and is best used for Kapha body types; Vyana, is expanding outward and is best used for Kapha and Vata; Samana is moving towards the core or contraction and is best used for Vata; Apana is downward moving and is best used for Vata and Pitta body types.
Offering the appropriate treatment for each individual is important to bring an overall sense of balance and well-being. Ayurvedic Thai massage is a journey, not only for the receiver but the practitioner as well. Knowing what elements and forces exist in our bodies and using the essence of loving-kindness and compassion toward others and oneself, is the first step in creating unity and oneness within ourselves, the universe and all that’s within it.