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Alina Bent's Complete Thai Massage Course Notes
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Alina Bent
Dallas, TX, USA
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April 6, 2016 - 11:18 am
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Hi, it is my first day here.

I put a bit of the introductory info about myself in the biography section of the personal profile. In a nut shell – I did a 200-hour RYT training and certification, but I am not a professional therapist, or yoga teacher. I have a twelve year old son with Autism. I absolutely love yoga, and I thought I should share its beauty and benefits with my son. Recently I tried Thai Yoga with him and the effects were stunning. I am not just talking about known physical benefits, but about creation of calmness, trust, positivity and love. I think for people with Autism who have deficient verbal abilities Thai Yoga is an amazing way to build connection on a level that is much deeper than just exchange of words. I only watched the first video, but I picked up on what Shama said about Thai Yoga Massage been something much deeper than just mechanical application of massage techniques. Energetic aspect of Thai Yoga Massage is my primary focus, and just like Shama said, I am the least concerned about knowing the names of the muscles 🙂 

I am looking forward to my nest Lesson. BTW, I live in TX, but I am originally from Russia, so if at times my English sounds a bit funny, that is why 🙂      

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Shama
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April 6, 2016 - 12:16 pm
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Hi Lena, welcome to the Complete Thai Massage course and our forum community. You are one of many course students with a good yoga background, so you fit right in. We have many yoga teachers in here who have no formal massage background and who learned Thai Massage successfully through this system.

One good example is Lisa Simchison’s thread which you can find here.

We also have several course students who specifically enrolled in this course to help a family member. One example is Matt Driskill’s thread who is helping his wife with her health problems.

Another example is Samantha Krukowski’s thread who is learning Thai Massage to help her daughter who has scoliosis issues.

Your English is obviously close to perfect, and you are not the only one with a Russian background here in the forum. There is a thread from Anastassiya Kozina in here which you might find interesting.

And last but not least please take a moment to familiarize yourself with our certification check list here:

Certification Check List

By the way, I used to live in Austin, TX, before I moved to Thailand. Smile

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Alina Bent
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April 9, 2016 - 8:16 am
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Lesson 2

I did Chi machine with my son, and to my surprise it was easier than I thought it would. I was watching him and his whole body was moving. But my son is very light, so even if I was “muscling” it instead of using my body I wouldn’t notice it. So I tried it with my husband (who is much bigger person than I am). In 30 seconds into it I started felling my forearms. Then I remembered what you said about keeping my body relaxed while giving a massage, and relaxed my “deadly grip” on my partner’s ankles. To my surprise my husband’s whole body was still moving nicely, even though I had very light ankle hold – the movement was coming from my own rocking move. The best part was that I also felt Chi going through me as well! Very powerful!      

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Shama
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April 9, 2016 - 11:07 pm
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Great experience! You found out that you don’t have to muscle people to get a result and that less effort can produce superior results. And for the icing on the cake, you felt the Chi in your own body – if you muscle this move, the Chi will elude you! Smile

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Alina Bent
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April 12, 2016 - 6:31 am
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Lesson 3

I watched video several times before I did the sequence with my son. The first move (the one where therapist rotates his/her body at the same time as giving massage) was challenging at first. On about the third time that move started working for me, even though I move slower than Shama does on the video. When I do the massage on my son I turn on a calming music on my phone, and have my computer sitting on the floor next to me and playing the video for me to model after. Without this set up I wouldn’t be able to remember the sequence, or the technique. The best part is that my son loves receiving the massage, even though I am sure I don’t do many things correctly yet. I like the mornings for the massage practice, and I have to get my son up 30 minutes earlier to have massage session and still make it to school on time. But he doesn’t mind to get up earlier for this, and when it is over he asks me when we get to do it again! What I great way to connect with my boy!

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Shama
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April 12, 2016 - 9:36 pm
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This is so wonderful! I always love it when I hear that massage is done within the family. It is always a great way to connect, and especially in your case it seems to work even better than normal.

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Alina Bent
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April 13, 2016 - 8:01 am
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Lesson 4

With this lesson the sequence makes much more sense now – I can think of it as logical flow rather than trying to memorize it. I also like how Shama showed the transitions of the therapist between the moves. It makes the session look like a patens’ yoga, when the giver and the receiver both participate and I like the concept a lot. I am planning to do feet sequence daily for about 30 minutes till the end of the week, and then I will record myself doing it on the weekend. Then I can watch it, and hopefully notice what I need to correct. I wish there was a way to do a short demo in front of the instructor for corrections – this way I could be sure I am not embedding my mistakes into my muscle memory!     

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April 14, 2016 - 2:47 am
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You can do that, if you have a youtube account. You can record a video of yourself, upload it to youtube, and then post it right here in the forum.

Alternatively you could record a video, upload it to dropbox, and post the link to it in here. These are all free options, by the way.

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Alina Bent
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April 17, 2016 - 3:32 am
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I stumbled over very nice “side effect” of Thai yoga – for my son it actually works as a positive reinforcement for doing something on my request. Let me explain – in the world of behavior modification techniques “positive reinforcement” means rewarding a child for displaying desired behavior. Getting something of value induces child to repeat the desired behavior in the future. Example of positive reinforcement would be giving your teenager your car key to go out with his/her friends after doing well on the school test. In my case, I do Thai yoga massage to my son IF he does his reading tasks. It works like a clock now – we start our mornings with doing reading program, immediately followed with 20 min of Thai yoga massage. Never before I could get him doing his reading tasks without procrastinating, whining and trying to get off the task! I wish more people knew about Thai yoga massage – I bet it would work for other families with Autistic kids! 

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April 18, 2016 - 2:32 am
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This is an amazing insight, really. I imagine nobody ever thought of using Thai Massage in this way. It’s actually quite a brilliant discovery and a wonderful mechanism for you to help your son. Smile

I find this very exciting!

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Alina Bent
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April 18, 2016 - 4:47 am
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Lesson 5

I tried the leg warm up series on my husband and from his account of sensations I think I will be skipping work on inner thigh when I work with my son. I thought of this aspect of doing Thai yoga massage with the kid – I need to select more yoga-like movements, rather than massage-like movements for the obvious reasons. I heard what Shama said about the necessity of doing some kind of warm up before the stretches, but I hope there is a form of warm up for thighs that is more yoga-like. All the feet work was very good from this standpoint and I hope I can pick techniques that is kid-yoga-like, rather than grown up – massage-like 🙂        

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April 18, 2016 - 10:38 am
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There will be plenty of yoga-like techniques coming up for you to choose from. However I have the impression that you “threw the baby out with the bath water”, as the old saying goes, when it comes to the warm-up movements.

I don’t know what your husband’s reaction was exactly, but I know from many years of personal experience and from lots of feedback here in the forum that these warm-up techniques are generally very well received. May I suggest you don’t totally give up on them and give them another chance. You might just surprise yourself! Smile

However you will learn lots of yoga-like techniques throughout this course as well, since this is what Thai Massage is famous for.

Why don’t you try this just for the fun of it: Go through a dozen forum threads about the Complete Thai Massage course and go straight to the comments for module 5 and see what people write about it. Maybe this will give you some ideas or inspiration.

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Alina Bent
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April 20, 2016 - 11:53 pm
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Lesson 6

 

I like this version of legs warm up much better than the previous one. I guess the reason is that I have no massage experience, but coming from yoga background. The technique Shama showed in this module speaks to me so much better than the previous module. To me the previous lesson is closer to what I perceive as “massage”, and this lesson feels more like “partner yoga”. Not even mentioning that after doing the previous lesson my unaccustomed to massage hands were aching. I did so much better with the technique Shama showed in this module. Shama, thank you for showing alternative ways of doing legs warm up! 

 
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Shama
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April 21, 2016 - 12:44 am
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Good – from here on the course will get into more of the yoga-like techniques with all the stretching. I am curious to find out how your son will take to those.

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Alina Bent
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April 24, 2016 - 4:10 am
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Lesson 7

Leg streatches

Actually, so far this is the lesson that I could perform easer than all previous lessons. It is really close to partners yoga, and I enjoyed doing it with my son a lot! It came very naturally to me and it is the first time I was not confused as to what different parts of my body are doing. My son really enjoyed it as well – to the point that I could even add the load of the academic work that he does in exchange of me doing Thai yoga to him 🙂

  

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April 24, 2016 - 12:30 pm
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That’s good news – there is a lot more of that yoga-like material in the pipeline. You have a really amazing arrangement going with your son – Thai Massage for academic work – who would have ever thought of something like that! Smile

I am constantly learning about new ways to use Thai Massage just from all the feedback here in the forum. Amazing!

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Alina Bent
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April 25, 2016 - 7:33 am
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Lesson 8

Leg stretches

Another great lesson! Of course, I release that it is super helpful that I do those legs yoga-like stretches on physically small twelve-year old. I am sure the story would be very different if I had to do it on a big, stiff person (even though Shama showed the modifications for this situation as well). Anyway, I am just grateful that I got to learn all the moves on a tiny person 🙂 

One question though. I wonder if the leg stretches that Shama showed us have a sufficient level of benefits for a super flexible twelve year old boy? He seems to be so super relaxed while we do stretches that I wonder if it is supposed to be that easy, or it should present some sort of challenge for developing greater flexibility. I am not sure that I was clear enough with my question, but I hope you understand what I mean – I am sort of brainwashed with the western idea “No pain, no gain” kind of thing 🙂     

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April 25, 2016 - 11:31 pm
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I don’t subscribe to no-pain-no-gain, and this is definitely not something which is applicable to children anyway. It is far more important that your son enjoys and appreciates what you do than trying to come up with some additional forced benefit.

If he is already very flexible, you don’t have to make him more flexible. The main thing is to create and maintain this connection via the massage, the appreciation and the enjoyment that you said he is getting from your sessions. Just forget about creating a challenge. You already tapped into the most important benefit which in this case is more of a psychological or energetic nature.

Now if you work on a stiff adult with all kinds of aches and pains, that’s a totally different story…

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Alina Bent
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May 2, 2016 - 9:15 am
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Lesson 10

The hara concept is new to me, but nevetheless it resonates well with me. I am focusing on remmbering to be consiencese about the hara area when I am doing thai yoga to my son. Breathing and Ergonomics are becoming more natural for me, and I don’t have to focus on it so much – it comes a bit more naturally now. One side remark about breathing – I noticed that when I exaggerate my breathing when do thai yoga to my son he actually syncronises his breathing with mine, which is a very good thing. So unexpectedly, we got another benefit of thai yoga – my son regulates himself much better with consciences breathing. As far as streatches from this lesson – they seem a bit advanced, so I do them very lightly for now, until I feel a bit more comfortable. I didn’t attempt “blood stop” yet – I need to feel more comfortable with my skills before I do it on such tiny person as my son.             

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Shama
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May 2, 2016 - 4:26 pm
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Don’t feel compelled to do everything on your son. Just do whatever he likes and what you feel comfortable with.  There is noLaugh competition or race here! 

The spontaneous breathing synchronization is another good and useful result.

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