Ayurvedic yoga massage
Ayurvedic Yoga Massage is a unique bodywork modality, from the Ayurvedic tradition in India, inasmuch as it entails the use of the practitioner’s feet to get strong deep strokes that allow a relaxation of the more structural musculature without stressing the practitioner’s body.
Calanus powder, a herbal mixture which has both cleansing and exfoliation qualities, is used, sprinkled over the body on oil, which initially is a bit rough on the skin, but you can feel it doing its thing so that goes away.
I have had multiple sessions in Ayurvedic Bodywork and have included two different reviews.
Ayurvedic massage is quite structured, with a number of certain progressions of strokes that can be followed, and the therapist stayed with that structure yet incorporated her own intuition and experience in knowing what is needed in the moment.
I have had this type of session before, and so noticed the unique approach.
The session is done on a mattress on the floor, which allows the use of the feet with a strong level of control available regarding how much pressure is applied.
Unlike most other massage techniques, Ayurvedic Yoga massage includes deep stretching to assist in relaxing those parts of the body that aren’t so open to open, including applying strokes during a stretch which really ‘gets in there’.
It is a bit like having yoga done to you, which for a lazy person like me, is great.
Sometimes I would rather have just lain there and let her do all the work, but it did feel good though when I was allowed to lie still again!
She used great back stretches, some really weird shoulder ones that I still haven’t worked out, hip and thigh ones as well. After the massage I felt relaxed and invigorated, ready to go out into the world again.
Sometimes this work is called Kaytan Ayurvedic Yoga Massage. Ayurvedic massage is done on the floor, on a mattress, or in this case a quilt, as during the session your back, legs and arms get walked on.
The feet are used to give deep strokes, to turn those lumps of tension in the body into mashed potatoes. And really that is what happened.
Ayurvedic, or at least how I have experienced it to be, is done to a formula, even if the formula varies from one practitioner and one session to the next.
I quickly realised that the practitioner has incorporated lots of other things such as shiatsu, using pressure points, deep tissue, and doesn’t use the calanus powder mixed in with oil that is traditional, and so has made this technique her own.
I really like a deep bodywork session to get ‘in there’, where you have to really breathe, let go into the sensation, let it move through, and this was great.
Using the feet to massage is quite a skill, requiring sensitivity and control, as well as soft skin on the soles, and I found this to be the most pleasurable part of the session.
With the feet you don’t just deal with this sore spot, then the next, you deal with them all wholesale, and after a few strong strokes, well, you are like mash potatoes!
After going over the whole body, then it was stretch time, where I got really s t r e t c h e d!
This was great, opening up the shoulders, hips and spine. wooohoo!
The therapist also surprised me with a couple of techniques I hadn’t experienced before, and I liked.
When it came to the end, the purpose of a box of stones and crystals she’d brought with her became apparent as she laid these in strategic places around my body and left me alone to let it sink in.
Which it did, and when after some time I got up for a shower, I felt really relaxed and mushy, happy.
Written by Mark O’Brien for the “Session of the Month’, Here & Now magazine 1999-2005
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