When I go and touch my dogs, they always react. If I approach softly and gently, their skin quivers as my hand lightly touches only the hair first. When I start long gliding strokes, they yawn and wiggle their tails. When I scratch along the backbone, my one dog taps her back foot on that side like she’s doing the scratching. If I’m a little rougher and playful, they roll on their backs and kick and squirm. They are very in tune with the touch.
I get a multitude of reactions from people with Thai Yoga Massage. I make sure my first touch is gentle but always firm. I want to know that I’m there with confidence, but it is a safe place to be. When I adjust yogis in class, its the same thing. I am not going to hurt them or push them beyond their abilities. If anything, my hand is there for awareness. It lets them know I’m there, I care, and to encourage movement. The touch works miracles in people.
In Thai Yoga Massage, they call the touch giving Metta, or "loving kindness". It has roots in Buddhism but is not solely a Buddhist concept. The belief is that the giver can transfer kindness into a person through the touch. Before a session, I am going through a mindful meditation while I’m preparing the space. After communicating with a client, I do a short Wai, or Wai Kru, to breathe and cleanse my mind. Some traditional therapists actually have a more elaborate Wai Kru with singing or music and will quote an invocation or poem. Its a special time in a Thai session.
On the other hand, I also feel if a therapist has a lot of negativity, then that can also be transferred to a client. Its really a tough time all over the world with political unrest. People let politics take over their lives. They yell and scream and get down right nasty about their hatred of someone. But not only politics. They get angry at philosophies, like capitalism or socialism. They are very vocally against religious ideologies and outspoken people. It an unbridled hatred that can’t be contained in some people.
As a Christian, I have to be careful with how I react to this hatred. I can turn the other cheek and just let it go. I’ll mindfully pray for that person and hope that their hatred can find peace. I rarely go into re-training a person, though that is often what I should do. I should show love and grace. But I’m not perfect either. None of us are. Sometimes I am hurt by these things. I see someone post anti-Christian rhetoric on social media, and then I’m shocked when I see other friends jump on the hating bandwagon too. Would they say these same things to my face? How do they really feel about me? I’ve always been kind to them. I even consider them as friends. Do they say these things about Buddhist, Jewish, Islamic, Catholic, Mormon, Hindu, or other faiths? Do they even realize what they are saying?
I should try to help people understand my viewpoint. Its just scary when they are foaming at the mouth about their hatred of a religion or a President or some ideology. All I want to do in those cases is get away. I want to diffuse the situation so that I don’t escalate the hatred. So I do the chicken way out and unfollow them on social media. Sometimes its the safest way.
The unfortunate part of this is, what if that person is a yoga teacher, or an elementary school teacher? What if they say outrageous statements and then appear to emulate peace and harmony in a yoga class? Are they hypocrites or maybe just good actors? What if they are bodywork healers? Will they transfer their negative hatred onto their clients? I worry about that. When I entrust myself to a professional, I’m assuming I won’t be hurt and face negativity. But I’m wary about going to any business owner who doesn’t have my best interests in mind.
Its a difficult situation in business. Do you remain outspoken and stand by your values? Or do you temper what you say in polite society so as not to push away your clients. Hopefully, even if you feel strongly about something, you can do it in a positive way without slander and crawling in the mud. But when you fling mud, you really don’t know the innocent people it will hit. Its not an innocent thing. Some of us have strong views too, though we’re not as outspoken. There is often a silent majority out there. But we just walk away and wish you peace.