the art of nuad borarn (ancient thai massage) is quite complex and i find i’m one of the few students here to only complete one week of training.
people from all over the world come to ITM here in chiang mai and stay up to three months to learn the ancient art of thai yoga massage. my work partners have been from scotland, israel, australia, germany, and thailand. what makes this tradition different than wat pao, the bangkok style, is that a greater emphasis is placed on stretch than pressure.
in bangkok traffic moves quickly, people are hustled, massages average one hour. in chiang mai people move slower, buildings are more spread out, massages average two hours.
nuad borarn is called “the lazy man’s yoga.” it combines ancient thai massage techniques with ancient indian yoga poses. for those of you unfamiliar with thai yoga massage, the client comfortably lies or sits while the practitioner uses his own body to stretch the client, moving him gently into a yoga like pose. relying on acupuncture, reflexology and meditation techniques, the client is then massaged or worked within the supported pose. the entire sequence is fluid, smooth, deep and relaxing. it’s also a lot of work! nuad borarn is considered work and fitness for both people involved.
in week one alone, i’ve leared about energy lines, pressure points, hand techniques, tai chi, and wai khru (respect for teacher, respect for knowledge). using my notes, i could perform a simple two hour massage. when i return i will be offer thai yoga massages at a signifigantly discounted until my technique is solid. let me know if you’re interested!
ITM is directly around the corner from our b and b, Ban Kong Rao
. each morning we have tea, eggs, fruit, and croissant on the lusciously plant filled patio. this morning i went up to the rooftop garden to watch the sunrise. incense burned and soft music played alongside the street sounds of waking chaing mai, the mopeds, crickets and the birds.
we have been in this city nearly five days now and have barely scratched the surface. being in the massage course takes up most of our time so we have yet to truly sight see. there are many temples, parks, wildlife refuges, markets, yoga centers, backpackers hang outs, vegan hot spots, and spas.
we have had the good fortune to experience the night bazaar, a street market that attracts tourists and locals alike for some of thailand’s cheapest and most unique shopping, a number of incredible local vegetarian restaurants, and a glimpse of the Wororot Market.
The sacred Spa Mantra
is run by ITM; after class on Tuesday we were treated to a steam room infused with 20 Thai herbs. sitting through the 3 outlined sessions was a meditation in itself- in for 5 minutes, out, in for 5 minutes more, out, in for a final 10 minutes. my immune system has been weak since arriving and the steam treatment was brilliant. the oil massage I received just after may have been one of the best I’ve known but it was difficult to ignore my fever and runny nose.
my mantra is mind over matter. there is lots to be well for! upon graduating from ITM tomorrow heather and i will head to bangkok for another saturday of exploration.
we plan to spend sunday at the thailand yoga journal conference in bangkok. a very auspicious offering/coincidence for the one free day we have in the city!
then we have three days left to fill, ideally at a beach! hopefully our lugagge arrives tomorrow as promised, our last day in chiang mai!
may the healing i’ve received continue to improve my health and the health of those around me. may we be well, happy, and alive!
from my heart to yours, namaste!