Thursday, January 22, 2015

Thai Yoga Massage

Have you ever heard about Thai Yoga Massage? Have you ever received one? If you haven't, they are incredible. It's a wonderful way to experience a different type of yoga.

Thai Yoga Massage, or simply, Thai massage, is a system of massage that was developed in Thailand that has influences from traditional medicine systems of India, China, Southeast Asia, as well as yoga.

The massage recipient wears loose, comfortable clothes and lies on a large firm mattress on the floor. It can be done solo or in a group of a dozen or so students in a large room. The receiver is then positioned in a variety of yoga-like positions during the course of the massage, but deep static and rhythmic pressures form the core of the massage.

The massage practitioner leans on the recipient's body using hands and usually straight forearms locked at the elbow to apply firm rhythmic pressure. The massage generally follows designated lines in the body. Legs and feet of the giver can be used to fixate the body or limbs of the recipient. In other positions, hands fixate the body, while the feet do the massaging action. A full Thai massage session typically lasts two hours or more, and includes rhythmic pressing and stretching of the entire body; this may include pulling fingers, toes, ears, cracking the knuckles, walking on the recipient's back, and manipulating the recipients body into many different positions. There is a standard procedure and rhythm to the massage, which the practitioner will adjust to fit each individual client.

The benefits of the Thai Massage are many: relief from multiple ailments ranging from asthma and migraines to sprains, bruises, and anxiety. More generally, the recipient can gain greater range of motion in their lims, flexibility, and overall peace of mind and body. The giver also benefits from the practice because they, too, are positioning themselves into therapeutic physcial postures while giving the massage.

A variation of the rhythmic flow of Thai Yoga Massage will be offered during the Men's Yoga Retreat that John Cottrell is leading in Costa Rica this summer at Blue Osa Yoga & Spa: May 23-29, 2015. One can still register for the retreat which will offer yoga, of course, as well as other wonderful excursions for a well rounded experience, at

Thursday, January 15, 2015

Walking Meditation

One thing that is probably true for most people is that we are very busy in our lives. We are busy with work, family, school, and home practically from sun up to sun down. We devote much of our time "getting the job done." Unfortunately, we forget to devote some of that time to ourselves.

You may have heard your yoga instructor (if you even have time to get to a yoga class) state that we need to slow down, breathe, meditate. But you think to yourself, "I don't have time. I barely made it to this yoga class!" Here's the adendum to those yogic suggestions: make it simple and enjoyable. Slowing down, breathing, and even meditating don't really need to take that much time. A typical yoga class is likely an hour. Speaking as a yoga instructor, I don't expect most people to add an additional hour to a breathing or meditation practice. Each of these can take only a few minutes.

Here's something very easy for you to try. If you're at work, for example, take a moment to stop what you're doing, sit down, close your eyes, and take 5-10 deep breaths. Try it. See how long it takes and notice how you feel afterward. You may experience an immediate clarity and rejuvenation after taking that short moment for yourself.

Do you have a little more time? Try this. You're at home. Stop what you're doing, step outside, take a few deep breaths. Better yet, take a walk to the end of your walkway. Or, weather and time permitting, take a short stroll down your block and back. This doesn't have to take more than 3-5 minutes. While walking, just take deep breaths. To stay focused, create a rhythm of breath that matches the pace of your steps. This can be very meditative. And it didn't take that long. And it was probably enjoyable, too. You can incorporate simple practices like this on a daily basis. Even do it several times a day. It can help to clear the mind and calm the body so that you can return effectively to your work at hand.

I am offering a weeklong retreat in Costa Rica in May. Now, I know that not everyone can take a trip like that, but one of the yogic exercises we will be doing is meditative walks on the beach. Simple practicies like this can help you feel more centered, focused, in tuned, alive, and the list goes on. So, even if you can't get away to an international yoga retreat, create a retreat-moment right where you are, right now. It's as simple as taking a breath or going for a walk. Try it.


Thursday, January 8, 2015

Yoga With Intention: A One-Day Yoga Retreat

As we enter into the new year, we begin to look forward. We make our new year's resolutions, set intentions, and plan for a better year.

This is also a good time to make plans for getaways and vacations. It's very easy to get stuck in the rut and regular routine of our day-to-day doings and sometimes forget to take a break; to take care of ourselves.

I'd encourage you to think about the possibility of a yoga retreat. These can be wonderful vacations to rejuvenate, relax, and unwind. Retreats can be a way to recharge ourselves, to cleanse, and to heal. They may also be wonderful adventures that encourage you to do things you have never done before. Yoga retreats can be found all over the world. Low on funds? You may find One-Day Retreats right in your own town. I happen to be offering one in February at the beautiful Cliff Spa at Snowbird Ski Resort in Salt Lake City, Utah. If you're a resident, consider taking some time for yourself to discover the healing power of the yoga pose.

I have been fascinated not only by the power of the yoga posture (asana). They have done so much to help transform my own body. At one time in my life, I was a dancer. I THOUGHT I was very flexible, but it wasn't until I started practicing yoga that I discovered that I wasn't as flexible as I thought! I'm older now, but I am MORE flexible than I was just 10 years ago.

The yoga practice can bring physical growth and development, but yoga can take us deeper. This one-day yoga retreat at Snowbird will allow us to look at the healing power of the yoga pose. We will read and discuss some ot the storied behind the yoga poses. Many of the poses that we practice in a yoga class have names that actually refer to mythical Hindu dieties. Along with these dieties comes their history, their origin, their significance. When we practice these poses, we can actually embody the significance that they represent (i.e. devotion, love, strength, honor, pride, etc.). These yoga stories can be life lessons for us. We can learn more about devotion and love just by stepping onto the yoga mat and practicing these postures.

At the retreat, we will come to a better understanding of these stories AND we will align them with our own personal stories. For instance, If we are experiencing stress, fatigue, lonelilness, lack of motivation, we can surely find a pose or a set of poses that can help us move through these life stressors. Then, when we step back onto the yoga mat and experience the physical expression of common yoga poses, we can recall the lessons and intentions these postures hold to help us move forward in our life journey.

The retreat is called, "Yoga With Intention," which, of course, is the same name as this blog that I have been writing for the last few years. Now you can take what I've been writing about and actually put it into practice. You will see asana from a new perspective. You will experience a greater depth. This can assist you in making your yoga practice more meaningful and powerful. You will easily be able to practice yoga with intention.

So, I invite you to come to a one-day local retreat. Learn more about the yoga you are practicing. Apply it to your own personal life. Experience shift, change, growth, and enlightenment. I am offering it on two days in February: Saturday the 7th and Sunday the 8th. The cost is only $95.

You can visit my website ( to read more about the retreat, register, and make a payment.

If you have any questions about this retreat or other upcoming retreats, please don't hesitate to contact me: