Thai Yoga Bodywork or simply Thai Yoga is a fusion of three distinct modalities:

  • Traditional Thai massage
    Rooted in Buddhism, this offers an amazing array of several hundred highly effective therapeutic hands-on techniques. These techniques form the basis of Thai Yoga.
  • Yoga
    The art and science of this ancient wisdom tradition turns Thai Yoga treatment sesssions into a form of transformational applied yoga therapy.
  • Physiotherapy
    Its scientific understanding of anatomy, physiology, pathology, biomechanics, and clinical applications makes Thai Yoga understandable, safe, and suitable to each client.

Labeling the Thai healing tradition
Many names are used to describe the ancient hands-on bodywork modality from Thailand. The Thais themselves call it nuad boran, which translates into English as ‘ancient massage/bodywork’. Labels include Thai Massage, Traditional Thai Massage, Thai Yoga Massage, Thai Yoga Bodywork, Thai Yoga, Thai Yoga Therapy,Thai Therapeutics,  Thai Medical Massage and so on. Just as there are many branches of yoga, there are many approaches and labels to the Thai hands-on tradition.

We have chosen Thai Yoga Bodywork as a more accurate description of our approach. We stay true to the traditional form while adding perspectives from both yoga and physiotherapy/biomechanics to optimize its effectiveness. Informed by these adjunct perspectives, the therapeutic effects and transformational quality of an already highly effective hands-on healing modality is even further amplified.

Recent revival
During the past ten to fifteen years we have observed a tremendous interest in Nuad Boran. People all over the world are discovering the extraordinary benefits and healing properties of the Thai tradition, and the locals themselves are realizing the value of their unique heritage. We owe deep gratitude to the people and healers of Thailand for developing and preserving such a genial and transformational therapeutic healing system.

Roots
Nuad Boran has been practiced in Thailand for a very long time. Its roots can be traced back to India 2,500 years ago at the time of the awakened Buddha. The origin of Thai medicine is attributed to Dr. Jivaka Kumar Bhacca, physician to the Buddha and the Sangha. According to legend, he was born with a bag of acupuncture needles in his hand and was predestined to become a doctor and royal physician.

Technique
The Thai tradition employs an exceptionally wide range of techniques in its repertoire. Through a “multi-pronged” approach the practitioner uses thumbs, fingers, palms, forearms, elbows, knees and feet. Thai Massage is  a dynamic combination of myo-fascial stretching, joint mobilization, acupressure, energy balancing, rhythmic deep tissue compression, soft tissue manipulation, assisted yoga postures, and Buddhist meditation. A comfortably soothing, meditative, rocking motion is its trademark, while joints are opened, muscles and tendons stretched, internal organs toned, and vitality increased.

Yoga & Biomechanics
Yoga effectively complements and enhances the Thai tradition, especially since Thai Massage is done with both people on a floor mat. As the practitioner mindfully “dances” around her client, she has an ability to maintain seamless awareness of movement and energy throughout the practice. In addition, biomechanical principles support the structural and therapeutic aspects of Thai Yoga Bodywork. As the safety of each technique is a major focus, the receiver can let go and release places of holding on deep levels in the body-mind complex.

Theory
The fundamental theory of the Thai healing tradition derives from the concepts of vital energy and its pathways throughout the body. Closely related to other Asian traditions, we find many similarities with Ayurveda andChinese medicine. Thai medicine focuses on the circulation of vital energy in ten major energy pathways. Important pressure points for diagnosis and treatment are found along these pathways, and hands-on therapy removes energy blockages and stimulates the free flow of vital energy.

Meditation
The people of Siam (Thailand) have a Buddhist tradition dating back over 2000 years. Mindfulness-based meditation is a traditional Buddhist practice using observation of the present moment as its primary focus. Keeping focus mindfully on the breath strengthens our ability to stay present with whatever arises in each given moment. Metta, translated as loving-kindness or friendliness, is a traditional Buddhist meditation practice, using positive affirmation techniques to develop compassion and generosity towards ourselves and others. When compassion for all life forms becomes the focus we often feel more connected to our own lives and everything else around us.

Traditional Thai Healing Mantra
This Invocation is chanted daily at traditional institutions of the Thai healing tradition in Thailand.
Audio file: http://shantaya.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/wai_khru.mp3

Part I
OM  NAMO  SHIVAGO  SILASA AHANG  KARUNIKO  SAPASATANANG
OSATHA TIPA-MANTANG  PAPASO SURIYA-JANTANG  GOMALAPATO
PAKA-SESI WANTAMI  BANTITO SUMETHASO  AROKHA  SUMANA-HOMI
Part II
PIYO-TEWA  MANUSSANANG PIYO-PROMA  NAMUTTAMO PIYO-NAKHA  SUPANANANG PININSIANG
NAMA-MIHANG NAMO-PUTTAYA  NAVON-NAVIEN NASATIT-NASATIEN  EHI-MAMA NAVIEN-NAWE
NAPAI-TANG-VIEN NAVIEN-MAHAKU  EHI-MAMA PIYONG-MAMA  NAMO-NAVIEN
Part III
NA-A  NA-WA  ROKHA PAYATI  VINA-SANTI

Translation

(I)
We invite the spirit of our Founder, Doctor Jivaka Kumar Bhacca, who comes to us through his saintly life.
Please bring to us the knowledge of all nature, that this mantra will show us the true medicine of the Universe.
In the name of this mantra, we respect your help and pray that through our bodies you will bring wholeness and health to our client.
(II)
The Goddess of healing dwells in the heavens high, while mankind stays in the world below. In the name of the Founder, may the heavens be reflected in the earth below so that this healing medicine may encircle the world.
(III)
We pray for the one whom we touch, that they will be happy and that any illnesses will be released.