Yoga for the Open-Minded

I am a traditionalist. When I did martial arts, I really enjoyed the idea of traditional Gi’s, honoring the founders of an art, and bowing as respect. In Aikido, you turn and face away from the platform to take off your shoes before stepping up. Then you bow to the founder. When I watch Muay Thai fights as done in Thailand, I love the fighters adorned in feathers and garb entering the ring and doing the traditional Wai Kru ceremony. I love the Japanese tea ceremony. And any military honor, like you see at Arlington Cemetery, brings tears to my eyes.

My latest loves, being Yoga and Thai Yoga massage, took me to an acroyoga class last night taught by my fellow yoga teacher, Jodi. I’ve played with acro off and on over the years. But I’ve never truly embraced it or sought to practice it regularly. When I think of the asanas and the breath involved, it is totally a legit part of yoga despite its circus like appearance. But instead of only being responsible for yourself on the mat, you are responsible for another person. You both are working toward a mutual goal while holding each other in respect for safety.

So, being the curious person that I am, I recalled videos of Thai yoga massage practitioners also using acroyoga. If tradition holds, Thai yoga may have been the first introduction of acro yoga. It is used as a traditional therapy to release the spine into lengthening and twists. Since Thai yoga massage is really partner assisted yoga, it is fitting that acro finds an easy transition into this art.

I guarantee I’ll be exploring this more as I develop my Thai yoga massage practice. I’ve recently seen a connection to my love of Ashiatsu (back walking) massage and have included it in sessions. I also understand how chiropractic work also fits in. Traditional practitioners in Thailand do adjustments often. Then you have accupressure/accupunture, wooden massage tools, and herbal compresses. It is amazing the tools that are available for Thai yoga massage.

If we keep our minds open, there are so many possibilities. My yoga practice is looking more like Animal Yoga these days. And I have included a lot of Tai-Chi and martial arts influences, like a Budokon-style yoga. But also yoga with kettlebells and other implements, like an Iron Mace. It is so amazing how you can vary a yoga practice.

Just open your mind.

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