It's great to have a workout routine, and even better if you religiously stick to it, but a routine, however innovative, can run you out of steam in no time.
By introducing some variations to your existing regime or taking up a completely different physical activity every fortnight you could make life interesting, and your workouts more worthwhile. We keep believing that by exercising hard we can tone our muscles, attain flexibility and maintain a healthy lifestyle, but lose hope when we can't get over the weight loss plateau, and wonder why our body has stopped responding to exercise.
For those into yoga, this might come as a natural progression as a few sessions of passive Thai yoga bodywork can set you on the right track to regaining your form and fitness. A 2500-year-old tradition of massage that originated in India during the time of the Buddha and later moved to Thailand with the spread of Buddhism, passive Thai yoga involves yoga-like stretches in addition to a whole range of massages and acupressure to enhance the fluidity of the body while ridding it of stress.
What is passive Thai yoga
Under the guidance of an expert therapist you are made to stretch and perform various yoga postures on a futon. But the most important aspect of passive Thai yoga is the blend of massage and acupressure to lighten the body, induce oxygen supply and release blockages. And like any Thai massage, this one too is performed over comfortable clothing and makes no use of creams and oils. Elaborating further, Mumbai-based yoga and massage therapist, Samanta Duggal says, "The therapist uses his hands, knees, legs and feet to move you into a series of stretches that aim at both relaxing and energising the body."
A single session of Thai yoga can ease muscle tension, reduce stress levels, increase agility of the joints, not to mention, pump energy into the body. Says Samanta, "Thai massage can be used as preventive medication, and is also an alternative therapy for problems such as sciatica, spondylitis, arthritis, migraines, indigestion, and even menstrual dysfunction. Also called Thai yoga massage, it works on unblocking the meridians or energy channels in our body. In yoga, this is achieved through various asanas, whereas in Thai yoga massage, we do it with acupressure, joint manipulation and mild stretches."
Samanta, a practising yoga and massage therapist for a decade now, conducts workshops in Mumbai on passive Thai yoga in which she teaches both novices and enthusiasts the art of massage combined with some yogic asanas. Typically, a two hour session has you partner up with the therapist where you are taught to receive and give out a few valuable Thai massage techniques for relaxation and easing frazzled nerves in the areas of the body like neck, shoulders, back and feet. Before commencing the massage therapy, you are made to warm up with a few rounds of Suryanamaskar to get energy flowing into your body. Says she, "My classes are open to people at all levels of fitness, whether beginner or expert. The idea is to create somatic awareness of us holding tension in various pockets of our bodies and letting them go."
How active is passive Thai yoga
In a Thai massage procedure, the therapist normally uses his elbows, knees, feet and palms to get the right posture on his recipient. In that sense it is an active form of giving therapy. By the same token, since the movement in the recipient is initiated by the masseur, there is no physical exertion on him, save for the fact that he is allowing himself to be moved passively.
A therapy, not a workout!
Informs Samanta, "If you consider weight loss to be one of the benefits of this form of wellness, you are mistaken. Passive Thai yoga is a wholesome procedure that attempts to balance our bodies and, not to mention, the endocrine system that in turn aides in regulating metabolism. It is one of the by-products of relaxation and massage therapy." It's a great idea to incorporate such massage therapy sessions couple of times a month to derive maximum benefit from your existing fitness schedule. It'll help strengthen your body, keep your muscles relaxed, fix day-today health woes, and build immunity.
Following a Sattvic diet that comprises vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, cereals, fresh milk, yoghurt and ghee can do wonders to your metabolism, and form the perfect basis for starting a healthy lifestyle.
If you are working out only to shed flab, think again. By incorporating a dash of wholesomeness to your fitness regime you can not only rebuild your body, but regain your lost confidence too.