Contributed by Miquelle Hardy, Level 2 Scholé Guide
Before I started teaching yoga, I was working as a massage therapist. I mostly practice Vedic Thai massage, which I find is very similar to yoga. It involves lots of stretching and compression using music for inspiration to rhythmically move the body, breathe and challenge the mind. Thai massage is great for the lymphatic system, the immune system, nervous system, as well as muscles and tendons. It lubricates the joints and expands the body. I have had many people explain that they feel, leaner, longer, and overall balance and rejuvenation throughout their body after a Thai massage.
After constantly being asked by clients if I was also a yoga instructor, I thought I would give it a shot. As a massage therapist, I always believed it was important to incorporate the breath into every and anything you do, especially when it comes to tension in the body. Just like yoga. I believe tension in the body is just your body's way of asking for a little attention or love.
As much as I believe in massage therapy and continue to work in the field, I found that yoga is the most intimate way to heal yourself. In my work as a massage therapist, it is important to me to remind clients that I do not heal them, I just facilitate space for them to heal themselves.
In the same way, yoga forces you to take responsibility for your body and your life. Before practicing yoga, I found it so easy to blame issues, physically, mentally and emotionally on other people and situations. Yoga forces you to look at yourself, the good and the bad, accept where you are, meet yourself there, and heal.
We grow in discomfort. I find that sometimes allowing someone to facilitate space for you through massage provides a space for growth when you cannot provide it for yourself. I also practice table massage, but I prefer to practice Thai massage to create more of this space. In Thai bodywork, I also get to practice yoga, which allows for a beautiful flow between two people working with breath, body, and the mind.
Whether you practice bodywork with a massage therapist or on your own through yoga practice, use your breath to control the body and notice how that control can start to extend to your mind. Take time for yourself each and every day and find connection to those around you. We are better together, but the foundation of that strength starts on our own.