Thai massage is a holistic treatment that provides physical and psychological benefits. However, for maintaining wellbeing, I advise my clients to exercise in between treatments.
The following self-help sequence, is a short routine to include in our daily lives. Apart of of freeing and rejuvenating your spine, you will also gain height lost through the long periods of sitting and slouching. As emotional distress and tension are not only stored in our body, but also in our mind, the routine incorporates breathing and visualizations, along with the spinal stretch.
Stand tall with your spine straight in Mountain Pose (Tadasana), close your eyes, bring your awareness to your breathing and relax your shoulders. As you inhale lift your breath upwards to your head and visualize that you are getting taller. As you exhale guide your breath downwards to your feet as you maintain your nice tall posture.
As you inhale start lifting your straight arms on your sides, palms facing up, for just a few centimeters. As you exhale bring your arms slowly back on your sides, palms facing down. As you move your arms upwards, you may feel some tingling on your palms – visualize lifting this tingling sensation as your palms are moving up. On each inhalation lift your arms a bit higher, and on each exhalation bring them back on your sides. It is very important to coordinate the movement with the breathing.
Continue lifting your arms up with each inhalation, till your hands touch each other above your head. Then on your next exhalation, bend forward till your hands touch the floor. If your hands do not reach the floor, you can slightly bend your knees as you go down on Standing Forward Bend (Uttanasana). If it still feels uncomfortable you can place your hands on your lower leg or on your knees.
Now, as you inhale straighten your back while you keep your hands on your legs – visualize your spine getting longer; this is the Standing Half Forward Bend (Ardha Uttanasana). As you exhale try to maintain your spine straight and drop your body towards the ground – visualize that your body is moving further down. Repeat this step for a few times.
Then on your next inhalation bend your knees and start lifting your straight arms up till you come to Chair Pose (Utkatasana); stay in this position for a few breaths, remember to have your spine straight. As you inhale visualize healing energy touching your hands and moving to the center of your chest. As you exhale visualize this energy expanding and covering all your body in a white bright sphere.
When you feel ready, you can come out of the Chair Pose. On your next exhalation, slowly start straightening your knees as you bring your arms down to your sides. Stay in Mountain Pose for a few breaths, as you visualize that you become even taller and subvocally say “I am tall and healthy”.
Notice that each movement is coordinated with inhalation and exhalation. It is important to maintain and be conscious of your breathing as well as the movement of your body. You can do the whole sequence with eyes closed if you like, just be careful not to loose your balance.