By Vanessa Fleming, yoga teacher
Intuition. It’s a powerful magic that lives within all of us. It’s also known as your “gut.” We often ignore our gut. We think that our higher brain can outsmart our bellies.
And that’s where my Thai Massage teacher will say to you, “Too much thinking! Headache!” and then pretend to bop you on the head.
It was intuition that lead me to this teacher, Pichest Boonthumme. In December, I was home for the holidays, resting and relaxing. I hadn’t purchased my return ticket to Morocco just yet. Something was holding me back. I talked to a friend about it.
“Why don’t you go back to Thailand and work on your Thai Massage?” he said.
And just like that, I knew what was the right thing to do. My friend made the absolute right suggestion. So I purchased my ticket to Thailand, and just a little over 3 weeks later, I landed in Chiang Mai.
And now I’m in the throes of my Thai Massage studies. I used to call it training, but I’ve quickly dropped that from my language, just as quickly as I was reminded that Thai Massage is a lifelong study and review. You can’t train for this. You have to learn to feel. You can learn the basic pressure points and energy lines, but you can’t do the same thing on every body…because every body is different.
And you must, must, must…feel. The intuition in this practice is the most important piece of the work.
Watching Pichest work is the pure embodiment of using this intuition to practice. I’ve heard him tell things to people about themselves that were confirmed to be true, even though he’s never spoken to this person before in his entire life. His harness of intuition is that strong.
Last week, I witnessed the rawness of emotion in the body through his simple touch and technique. A man came to class to receive healing. He was a heavy man, telling us he weighed 115kg (that’s around 260lbs). I’d guess him to be around 45 years old. Very crippled in his body. Especially in his hips, where he was so very tight. No mobility whatsoever.
So Pichest went right in. Immediately, the man winced. But Pichest didn’t let that deter him. He was gentle but firm. Confident but loving. He listened to everything this man’s body was saying. The changes came in almost immediately. Just a few minutes of work and compression and you could see the vast changes in this man’s body.
As Pichest continued to work, you could physically see the emotion running for a place to exit this man’s body. It was only about 10 minutes into the practice and work that this man was overtaken by emotion. The whole room could feel it. A collective gasp spread through each person. Such a huge release and it was only the beginning.
Witnessing this was so very intense. And fascinating. So very fascinating.
And it’s there where I sat and observed. I let that wave of emotion wash over me the whole day. I just absorbed what was happening around me.
Had I not followed my intuition, I would not have witnessed this. I would not have continued this path of studies and I would not have been living my truth. My truth is, I’m on this path to continue to witness the power of the spiritual body through yoga, energy, meditation, and contemplation. Thai Massage is another pathway on this adventure. The power of touch can bring so much into someone, or bring that trapped emotion out of someone.
So I continue this practice, this healing practice, and I continue to bear witness to the subtle or intense moments. I continue to listen to what my body feels when I work this practice on someone, and not rely on what I think I should be doing. It’s a headache, after all!