Yoga for Emotions Artwork
Season 1 - Episode 8

Self Thai Massage

35 min - Practice


Learn to work with gravity. Sonia generously shares a practice incorporating yoga and Thai massage techniques. She guides us from the soles of the feet all the way to the palms of the hands. This self care practice is designed to release tension and blockages, promoting increased circulation, energy, and freedom in the body.
What You'll Need: Mat


Read Full Transcript

So massaging, it's like you think that you're working with another person, but really when you're doing time massage, you're working on yourself also. And can we find a way to bring this when you are with yourself? Like really, there's no one else there. And time massage works basically using two aspects. One is the opening of the body, that as yogis we already know how to do through all these asanas that we practice.

And the other one is putting pressure into the energy lines of the body so we can help the blockages of energy in our body to be released. And like this we work into a really deep level. And the techniques that we use is basically, so we work with using hands and arms and shoulders and knees, whatever is available. And basically we work with gravity. I've been talking about gravity in other sequences.

And now we're going to use it with the purpose of taking care of ourselves, which is really nice. So this said, I would say let's start with the feet. So I have my foot here. So this part of my foot is really available now. And I can just find a way that I can lean into the soul of my foot.

So if I go like this, I'm using my muscle strength. That doesn't feel really good in my body. And so what my foot is receiving is not really nice. My whole being is not really happy. But maybe I can find a way that I can really lean in.

So now I'm working with gravity and my body weight. So I'm using my thumb to just work on my feet. And there's so many energy lines in the body. And basically we work with three inside and three outside. But you don't really need to know this today.

So just follow your intuition and touch whatever it feels good. So it's more important that you learn how to touch yourself in a way that you are not bringing stress and tension in the part of the body that is active. So basically it's just you're using gravity and leaning in. And that feels really nice for me now, because at the same time that I'm putting pressure in the soul of my foot, I'm opening here. So actually the whole body is happy while I'm doing this.

And I can use the fingers to open the foot on the opposite direction. But here it's just really go and play with it. Okay, and now I'm already, my thigh is already available here. So I can just lean in there. And this is putting pressure into my thigh.

But at the same time, maybe I want to open my body. So maybe I can do a little bit of... If I keep my mind, if I keep this leaning into and allowing gravity to work, to do the job, using my body weight, then I'm doing time massage because I'm not putting any effort into what I'm doing and I'm working in a way that it feels really nice in my body. And maybe I can use my elbow to go really in here. And maybe I can start massaging my belly, bringing the elbow in and really leaning.

And now I want these available so I have to bring my leg a little bit forward and I can do exactly the same. And there is something really interesting here while I'm putting pressure. If I roll my wrist, the bone is making some work in there. So again, it's about just try how it feels thing. And the other thing with time massage or with massaging yourself is that it's really nice to feel it intense because this is not a skin massage.

You really want to go deep, you want to unblock. The blockage is there, there. You want to allow for a free flow of energy. Now I can allow my head to hang because there is no need for my head to be holding all the weight. And I can do exactly the same on the other leg so I start with the foot but if I do this, remember a lot of tension in my shoulder so I just lean.

And I keep on leaning. It's like a dance, I'm really dancing. Usually it's a dance for tool when you're giving a time massage but today it's just a dance with myself which feels really nice. It's really nice to be able to dance with yourself. Because then you really know what to do when you dance with someone else.

So you keep on working on your feet. Just follow your intuition, whatever feels good but remember the only thing you have to pay attention to is am I still leaning into, am I still using gravity or I'm starting to use my muscles to massage. I go to my neck, remember that you can roll your wrists. You can allow your head to hang so you're kind of relaxing the back of the neck while you're massaging your leg. And then I can go to my thigh.

Find different spots. If I go with my elbow it's really pointy so it will be kind of sharp so I have to decide what spots are good for my shoulder otherwise I prefer to use that part of my arm. And maybe I can go with my elbow again inside of my belly and maybe if I want to go deeper the only thing I have to do is just lean deeper. So we've been working on this side of the legs. And now let's say I want to work on the back side of the leg.

So I can sit. This one is really intense. But again it's about how much you lean into and you can decide how much you lean into. So I'm going to use my foot and I'm going to work on this part of my leg but with the heel I'm going to be working on this part of my thigh so it's really nice really. So the only thing I have to do is sit.

Here as you can see there is not too much body weight in there but what happens if I bring my body up? That's really intense. So you can adjust the intensity of the work. You just adjust the intensity of the work you're doing on your own body deciding where you stay. I like it here so I stay here.

I can play with my shoulders. I can do whatever it feels good in my body while I'm working in there. I like it here when I just I'm going to do it in a way that you can see it. When I just drop the opposite hip and then I'm opening this at the same time maybe because I always feel like I need to open here so I can do this. So again it's about playing while you are massaging yourself and then I want to change the spot because I've been working in this spot like a lot so I just bring the leg a little bit farther in and I do the same and I adjust how far high up I bring my body depending on how much intensity I want.

This is really intense so I go down a little bit. The same when you do yoga, this is exactly the same. That's why we call it Thai yoga massage or maybe that's one of the reasons. When you're doing this you really want to breathe and you want to be present with what is happening. If you're doing this and your mind is somewhere else it's not happening really.

So just play here. And then we will do the other leg. And your body is different than mine so you have to find your way to adjust it so that it works for you. Okay. And then we're still missing the front part of our legs.

So let's find a way to play with it. That could be a way. I use the heel of my hand. I kind of block this posture so it's not heavy for my shoulders. If I really block it then there is no tension in my shoulders and again I can use leverage and leaning to work in it.

Or I can spread my legs, bring my buttocks up and at the same time I'm lengthening my spine. I don't know if you can appreciate but it's really intense. How far down am I sinking my hands there? And I'm not using the effort of my arms. I'm just grounding there.

And it's happening. And maybe I want to do, we call this like catwalk. You know what the cats do? It's really nice. So it's exactly the same but instead of being there all the time you just swing from one side to the other.

And then you move your hands a little bit farther and you swing. And already my spine is dancing. My hips are dancing and I'm giving myself massage. And when you find a spot that it feels good to stay there for a little bit longer because it's kind of tender. Stay there.

Because it's a spot that it's in need for. So that one is asking for a little bit longer. So we have done the legs, the feet, and now we want to go to our buttocks. We can't forget them. It's really important to work on them.

First because it feels good. Second reason because it's also a part of our body. And third reason because there are a lot of nerves going in there. So it's a really, really important part of our body. It's actually where the limbs meet the core.

So we really want to work in there. So because if I use my arms probably I will be using the strength muscle and then it doesn't feel good anymore. I'm going to try to use my heels and this is a little bit tricky. So just try to find spots. So basically you're leaning on top of your heel and find sweet spots.

Sweet doesn't mean it's pleasant. It can be a little bit unpleasant. And you can play around the bowl of the femur. Maybe if I go this, no, like this I'm not getting it. You see now if I roll my hips and my pelvis, now there will be another point that it will be accessible for me with my...

Oh, that's the spot. I found it. Really, it's there. So you have to play with your own body to really find it. And maybe here I feel like doing a small rocking. I want to rock in there.

Or just roll on top of it. And then we have done this in one of the sequences. I can go with the heel in between right there, sitting in there. Can you see it? And again, I can rock or just round.

Now I'm going to work on the other one. Find the spot, lean in there, stay in there. And remember that in order to access this area here, you will have to bring the pubic bone up, bring the tailbone down, and then you will access farther away spots. Yeah, that's not the one. That's the one I want. Sweet one here.

And now I have it, and now I can really relax in there. And here it's not that intense, but if I go here, more body weight is there. You can see it. Less body weight, more body weight on top of the point that I'm massaging. So here it's really, really intense.

So you adjust the intensity all the time. And then we want to massage the arms, and a really nice way to go is just like this. But if I'm like this, almost nothing is happening. So again, because I'm working with my body weight, in order to feel a little bit more of intensity, I have to bring body weight in there. How do I do it? I just bring it.

And I can either work with my bone, straight in there, or I can work with the soft part, the inside, so it's up to me. And I can lean in, stay where it's really intense, for as long as it feels like, and then lean out. And if I turn my forearm, the inside will be accessible and I do exactly the same. And same with the hands. I can even roll the arm on top of my hand.

I can work with my elbow in a point, center of the hand. We have an amazing energy point at the center of our hand. And we really need to work in that, because we touch people using our hands, and we touch ourselves using our hands. So we really want to increase this intuition and sensitivity of the energy there. So that's a really nice spot.

And then I can work on the door, some of the hand. And I can do the same with my hand. If here I'm not happy in this posture to work on the hand, I just stand, well, stand, stretch my arm and work with my hand. But you see, now I need a little bit more leverage. But I need to bring the body weight a little bit more in so I can really feel it.

And I could even go with my thumb. There is an amazing point here, which is a well-being point here. I can touch it, just put my thumb and lean in there. Okay, and I go with the other arm. And I remember that you can find your own way.

Those are just things that I'm finding. But you may find something else. The most important thing is that how do you work with them? So the main thing is that it has to feel good in the rest of your body. If you take attention to the spot that you are kind of massaging, it's not working.

It's like you're losing the whole picture. So the call here is like, can you be aware of the pressure you're putting? And how is that point feeling? And at the same time, be aware of the whole body. And then I'm still missing the upper arm.

That's a little bit more tricky, but maybe if I bring my arm in the diagonal and I cross the other arm in front of it, I can still lean. Yeah, that works. So the arm that it's steady is the arm that it's putting the pressure, let's say. And the other arm, which is the arm that it's getting massaged, that's kind of for the mind, but like the arm that it's getting massaged is this one, which is inside. And then I'm just, yeah.

And that depends on how flexible you are here in your shoulders. And then you can change arms and do it the other way around, which would be like this. And if I bring it closer to my body, I will have more leverage. Yeah, that works much nicer. Yeah, so you can see I'm playing with it, so you have to find your own way.

Okay. So, so far we have done legs and arms and buttocks. And we can't miss, we have done feet also, we can't miss the belly. Belly is really important, you know. And in a lot of massages it's really frightening touching the belly because we hold so many emotions in our belly, so we are afraid to touch it.

And in order to get in touch with our emotions, we have to start touching our belly, there's no way around it, like you have to go there, you know. You have to put your hands in the dough, there's no other way to do it. So just find the spot. So one way to work with it is just using your hands like this, you bring them together and just play here. So relax the belly and just play and you can make like little circles.

And you can go all around the belly. Usually they say that if you have difficulties going to the bathroom, you want to go clockwise. If your problem is the opposite, you don't want to do this. And you want to go anti-clockwise, okay. So find what is good for you today as always.

And find the spot so you see that space here that we have in between the pelvis and the ribs so you want to massage the whole thing. So you keep on going to the edges of it. And you will know if you're a nervous person because even though you don't know that, you will know for sure when you touch your stomach and your belly and it hurts. Then you know, oh, I thought I was a really calm-down person but it seems like I'm holding everything inside. Yes, you are here in your belly, so yeah, massage.

So you're giving a chance to all these things that you're storage in there, you're giving them a chance to get released. So when you find a sweet spot, again, sweet doesn't mean, oh, how good does it feel? It means it's kind of tender. Stay in there. And again, the belly tends to be painful, so you have to be ready for a little bit of discomfort. And you can massage your diaphragm, bringing the fingers underneath your ribs and you can give a nice belly massage.

You can do the waves. We like the waves a lot. It's like you push the whole thing on one side and then it's like this, like a wave. So you do it with one hand or both hands. And it's nice when you finish, when you had enough of massaging your belly, it's really nice to just pause in there because it's a really sensitive area so you don't rush out of there. You just want to keep your hands there, pause here for a sec.

It's like telling to yourself, everything is okay, I'm taking care of it. And then for the back, it's kind of tricky, you know, self-massaging your back. But again, you can use your arms. Okay, this shoulder is kind of bothering me today, so I'm going to turn so I can show it to you with the other arm. So you just bring the arm underneath the body.

And what you want to work, you want to work on all the muscle at the side of the spine. So just bring the arm in there and find a spot. Like right now, I'm allowing this part of my wrist to be the part that is massaging, to be the part that is allowing for the pressure to be felt in my back. So I go there and I use my body weight to lean on top of my hand and feel how am I putting pressure in that muscle there. And I can play with my pelvis, so if I lift my pubic bone a little bit, I don't know if you can really appreciate this, but if I lift my pubic bone a little bit, rolling my pelvis, I'm bringing more body weight here.

Can you see this? So now the body weight is on the floor, resting on my sacrum, but if I kind of lift my sacrum a little bit, the body weight comes more in here where I have my hand and this is the spot I'm massaging. So again, it's playing, find your own way to do it. And maybe you can lean sideways and that helps also with the leaning, bringing more body weight in it. And then you would do the same on the other side.

And if you have really flexible shoulders, you will be able to go all the way up. That's not my case, so my shoulder blades won't get massaged like this today, but you know what to do. And then I want to massage my kidneys and I can bring myself kind of into an inversion and I can use my thumbs here and lean in there. Or I can use my, are you seeing this? Oh, that feels really nice.

Okay. And same with the neck. So we've done almost the whole body, kind of, and I want to work on my neck a little bit. So I can use my hand, let me sit so I can show you, like I can use my hand like this using the tip of my fingers and I'm going to put the tip of my fingers here. But if I'm doing this while I'm sitting, you see my arm is kind of making an effort to make it work, even though I have a little bit of leverage with my, I can lean my head back and the weight of my head is helping me with the massage.

But if I go and I lay down and I use them and I find the spots, the sweet spots at the sides of the spine, then I can just really let go of the head and my arm is not making an effort. I'm just making a small pressure with my fingers and I can find the spots in there. And maybe I can do the same in here. I'm putting pressure with my thumb and at the same time I'm rolling the head against it. Yeah?

So I'm massaging the side of my neck and I can go as far down as I want. Hmm. And I can do the other side. So I'm putting pressure with my thumb and I'm just allowing my head to roll, to lean into this thumb that it's staying there. And that's one of, that's another of the principles in Thai Massage.

When you put pressure you don't go all the way there, down there, as deep as you can. You do it slowly. So here I'm rolling my head slowly, slowly. So my thumb is getting into my neck slowly, slowly, deeper and deeper so I can take it, I can take the pressure. So my muscle is relaxing instead of tensing.

Hmm. And again if you're really flexible probably you will be able to massage also your shoulder blades, just leaning down, I'm laying down, just bringing your hands up there. I can't reach there, but maybe you can. So yeah, it's not that difficult really massaging yourself. Just remember that the whole body wants to feel good while you are doing it.

So play with yourself, touch yourself, love yourself and be happy. Namaste.


Sharon H
4 people like this.
Your videos bring me great comfort in my "creaky" age-great to not have to use a lot of muscle strength to bring some ease to body. Thanks!
Ana N
2 people like this.
Gracias Sonia! Me encanta esta sequencia en la que te puedes cuidar a ti misma. También me inspira para mis clases.
Vives en California o también en España ? Me gustaría mucho conocerte algún día pues voy bastante frecuentemente a Begur y también soy amiga de Kira.
Bonnie G
2 people like this.
Wow, I enjoyed the principles as demonstrated. I particular liked how thoroughly I could do hands and forearms. Thanks!
Francie W
2 people like this.
What a delicious evening practice for me! Perfect for the end of a long workweek. Thank you! I will be coming back again and again!
Dori M
2 people like this.
Nice practice to complement yoga and for self-healing. I did have to pause a number of times as the time offered for each side in many of the stretches was not even. Otherwise, very nice!
Silke S
2 people like this.
This was my first experience with thai yoga massage or self massage. I need to add this more into my yoga practice. A lot of times I recognized that i used more my muscles then the gravity. I have to focus more on this. Thank you for your introduction.
Elissa P
1 person likes this.
I just stumbled onto you here and I'm so excited about finding you. These days. I live outside of town and so instead of taking classes with others (which I used to love but now live too far away to do), I now practice online with YogaAnytime.... and I'm also starting (for the first time in oh, over 20 years) to "play" with movement on my own... and it's so... eye opening and fun. in the last few years I've really found myself migrating away from the more "structured" and classical forms of yoga (ashtanga, iyengar, etc. ) – they are there of course, a foundation in my body, but I was feeling stagnant in those classical forms.
Elissa P
1 person likes this.
Part II (or earlier comment). Lately, I'm embracing the practices here with teachers who are working more intuitively, feeling their way through ways to move. I'm also learning to listen to my own creativity (my own "authority") to explore how my body wants to move. I love to dance and this all feels like an extension of that a more creative and exploratory way to joy and revelation, not rigid and rote. I found myself crying... during the two practices I've done "here" with you so far... Because I feel like I've found something I've been looking for (without knowing it) for so long! I'm so glad you are here, doing your thing, being you. Thanks so much.
Sònia Isart
Hi Elissa, my heart softens when I read your words. So happy we both are in the intuitive playfulness with the practice, together. I hope this practices take you to interesting places, where you'll find yourself being your own teacher. thank you very very much.

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