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Franka's Thai Massage journey
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Franka
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September 5, 2013 - 10:18 pm
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Module 1

I was very exited to start the course and the videos really convinced me. The descriptions are clear, precise and easy to follow. What I really like about Thai Massage is to be an artist with the body, a healer through touch, a dancer flowing with the inner rhythm of breath.

Module 2

I watched the videos for Module 1 & 2 a couple of time while my partner was getting ready to work with me.

While doing so I discovered that something was missing for me. I would like to have a photo or illustration – as a reminder – with the most essential posture (how to hold back, hands, where to place my legs, feet in relation with client) for each technique and a short description. Shama, how do you feel about that?

So I started to make up little illustrations myself. When I watch the video everything looks quite simple, but it is another thing actually doing it myself, especially in the first run.

I started with the movement where both hands are placed on the leg of the client and I am moving forward and backward with my body. In my first approach it was not so easy to do the movement flowing and without thinking too much. After adjusting myself and becoming more one with my breath it was much better. I switched with my partner and she showed me how I did it in the beginning and also the improvement later. It was very helpful for me to experience it from the client’s side. I realized how much practice you have to put into simple looking techniques as many levels are touched. Receiving feedback from my partner was another important step.

Then I practised the Thai Maschine, which went well as I know Yoga.

Next I lifted my partners leg to move it against her body. She liked it immediately, relaxed and I found the movement convenient in itself. I only forgot to move my body a little bit aside to her foot (too focused on linearity) had to correct that as her foot was brushing against my upper body. Something similar occurred in the first practice as my legs were positioned too close to hers and I had to move a bit. I came to the understanding to be alert in many ways, which will get easier with more time/practice.

The rocking method of the body was still challenging. I grabbed the heels to tight at first, but relaxed my hands. I rocking from one side to the other, but couldn’t get her whole body moving and struggled to move effortless, with the same speed and without stopping. Have to watch the video again to see what is missing.

I plan to continue tomorrow to improve these movements. 

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Shama
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September 5, 2013 - 11:43 pm
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First of all welcome to our forum and this course. I am glad to have another yoga practitioner in here who appreciates Thai Yoga Massage – a perfect combination indeed!

We have some things in common. I grew up in Germany as well, and I lived in Spain for years.

Regarding the photos or illustrations, you will probably find that after a while you won’t miss them anymore since throughout the course many things are repeated and you will see similar techniques all over the place. It just feels a little overwhelming in the beginning which is quite natural.

The typical stages during the training are:

First it feels somewhat overwhelming, difficult, or awkward.
Then, after a few weeks, you feel more comfortable with it and you start to see the bigger picture of it all.
Then, toward the end of the course, you begin to feel the flow of it, you sense the natural movements, you connect with it all. It will all happen for you, it just takes a little patience with yourself. Smile

Sure, when you watch the videos it looks quite simple, and that’s because it is quite simple, just not in the beginning. When you first ride a bicycle, you have a hard time to keep your balance and you might fall off a few times. But once you “get it”, it feels like the easiest thing in the world and you wonder how you could have ever had problems riding it. It’s the same with Thai Massage. I can do it while I am sleeping practically, it is so natural for me. Of course this definitely was not the case when I did it for the first time.

I would not worry too much about extra photos or illustrations. Just watch the videos a few times and keep practicing. You will see that I keep repeating the essential elements of Thai Massage many times throughout the videos. It is not like you only hear about something important in module one, and then you never get to hear it again for the rest of the course.

Be patient with yourself, it takes not months but years to become really good at Thai Massage. It sounds to me that you are doing quite well for just starting out. Of course you won’t get everything right immediately. Nobody does. But trust me, I will guide you throughout this course so that you will learn it all.

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Angela
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September 6, 2013 - 2:07 am
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Hallo, Franka!

Are you the one from Germany? Shama told me about you, so “herzlich willkommen im Forum”. By the way, I´m German, too, I was born in Singen am Hohentwiel, but I´ve been living in Mexico for 20 years now. I have just started the course about one month ago, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do; Shama is a great teacher!

Take care

Angela

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September 6, 2013 - 11:43 pm
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Angela said
Hallo, Franka!

Are you the one from Germany? Shama told me about you, so “herzlich willkommen im Forum”. By the way, I´m German, too, I was born in Singen am Hohentwiel, but I´ve been living in Mexico for 20 years now. I have just started the course about one month ago, and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do; Shama is a great teacher!

Take care

Angela

 

Hallo/hola Angela,

 

thank you for your warm welcome in the forum. We have a few things in common. I am born in Germany, but the eastern part (Frankfurt/Oder). After my studies in West-Germany I decided to start a new life in Ireland, where I stayed for 6 years – including 3 months in Bulgaria. It was a very interesting experience, but after learning what I had to learn in Ireland my longing to live in Spain increased – to dive into Spanish culture, language, lifestyle and to be under the sun and blue sky. I met my partner/spouse, who is from Mexico originally and we shared the same dream to move to Spain and so began a new journey last year in December. Where in Mexico do you live? How do you like it? We considered it too.

I love this Massage Course and I have no doubt that Shama is an excellent teacher. I felt kind of guided to this course. Everything starts with a little step.

 

Have a wonderful day.

 

Franka

 

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Franka
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September 7, 2013 - 1:04 am
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Hi Shama,

you are right about the forum. It is quite interactive/supportive and thank you for connecting me with another German, who is even living in another Spanish speaking country – just the same as my partner is from:). Where in Germany did you live? I am born in East-Germany (close to Berlin) and studied later in West-Germany (Marburg, Hessen), which was my “first migration” so to speak. Spanish is attracting me for at least 17 years and I figured out that it was time to follow this call and to see what is manifesting along the way/ to watch out for the next life signal. Learning Thai Massage is another call.

Andalucía is becoming my homeland of choice – in a process over the past 9 months…and beyond.

Which part of Spain did you make to your home?

What was leading you towards Yoga?

You are right that in the beginning things appear more challenging, which is naturally changing as time goes on. Sometimes I have this wishful thinking to be perfect right away if confronted by  new things – outside of my comfort zone. I know that this is impossible and I have to go through different stages in order “to climb the mountain”. In my Yoga studies I realize every day anew how my body, mind, breath are adjusting to the movements and it becomes more of a dance…

You have to become one with the things you do – to be totally present in the moment and everything will be alright.

Today I had my second session with my partner. I put the training mat on the ground and my dog (collie) felt invited to make herself comfortable on it. Maybe she wanted a massage session too?!

I definitely noticed a difference to yesterday. Everything had the chance to sink in more. 

While doing the movement forward and backwards on the leg of my partner I had to overcome some hesitance at first to apply more pressure. Some fear that it might hurt, but communicating it helped and my partner relaxed visible and I was fine too (stopped concentrating too much).

Our favourite movement is the one, where I bend the leg and move it against her body. So relaxing. I can flow with it. It is still hot in Andalucía (up to 36 degrees), which is great for the muscles, but I get quite warm while moving. Try to adapt to that. My partner wanted me to continue with this exercise for ever:-) A good sign.

Today I was successful with the rocking movement of the whole body. The reward was that my partner relaxed immediately and I could have gone on and on.

The next session is scheduled for tomorrow.

I am happy about this new journey. Thank you for all your guidance. I am sure that I can learn a lot from your experience with Thai Massage.  

Franka 

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Shama
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September 10, 2013 - 2:33 am
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I grew up in Baden Baden. Later I moved to Frankfurt where I started studying yoga with an Indian teacher when I was 19 years old. I still remember his name – Mahendra. He got me started with yoga.

Later I lived in Spain for three years, in a little village near Guadalajara. I really liked living in Spain. Of course that was a long time ago, about 30 years ago. I am sure a lot has changed in the meantime.

By all means, give your Collie a massage. You might want to read this story for inspiration.

I know all about practicing Thai Massage in hot weather. Chiang Mai, Thailand, can get brutally hot during parts of the year, and it never gets cold here.

It sounds like your early experiences with the course material are good. The beginning is always the most challenging. Your partner wanted you to keep doing a technique forever. That would keep you busy! Laugh That’s a really great feedback!

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September 10, 2013 - 10:42 pm
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Module 3

Thank you for your response Shama.

I understand your connection with Yoga – such unique philosophy and practice, which influences you on spiritual, emotional, physical and psychological level. When I was 21 years old I started to practice Yoga at home, which was the beginning of an exiting journey and I met more and more like minded people along the way, who liked also meditations, energy work – healing in various forms etc.

In one of your videos you mentioned a Qui Gong Teacher. How did you find your way into this?

What captivated you about Thai Massage?

I like that you have a wide background.

I prefer small towns and chose a little village close to Seville, which is surrounded by fields (sunflowers, wheat, Olive trees). You can study the seasons and their changes here, which makes sense to the whole cycle of life.   

You are probably right that Spain changed a lot during the last 30 years, but I am not so sure when the people, who live a simple life transformed so much in their way of living, thinking or the countryside.

Spain is a beautiful country and the light seems incredible in this area and I begin to love many other things, but you can also feel some pain about the land (Ireland had that too). Just an energy caused by history and engraved in collective memory, but it is there.

Everybody can see what they choose to see.

How did that happen that you were living in various countries?

Traveling is always teaching us something.

Thank for all the effort and love, which you put in your course.

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September 10, 2013 - 11:44 pm
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Module 3

Time is flying. I already received my fourth (!!!) module today.

For the last days I watched the video several time and practiced everything what I have learned.

I feel my progress with every passing day. It is amazing. It took me a while to remember all the techniques of the foot massage – had to split it in two parts.

At this point I am not sure when I am supposed to talk about my experience with every single technique or can also offer a general summary?!

The first 2 techniques took me a little bit longer to absorb as I have to multitask. The second day was definitely better and I felt like in the middle of a dance, almost a trance, because of the circular movements and/or moving to the left side and then right side and back while massaging the foot.

The pressure down on the foot and forward with pressure against the toes turns out to be easy.

My partner just mentioned that the pressure against the toes can become too much as I extended to exercise. First I did it as in the video suggested 3 times one and then switched, but tried also to change right after the pressure on the foot to pushing against the toes. Not really a remarkable difference for my partner. I guess that everybody is more sensitive about some things and so it will be always different with each client.

My partner has recently some back pain and to lay on the mat isn’t very comfortable therefore. I wanted to put a blanket underneath, but then it is too hot.

Nevertheless she relaxed during the session, enjoyed it even more than previous ones.

I would have such a healing energy.

I also discovered a energetically difference between the legs before I started the technique where my leg is underneath my partners leg. It felt like a disturbance in the aura, something injured in the past. I asked and heard about a injury years ago. So I decided to pay special attention to this  particular leg and to send healing energies. My intuition is mostly very good. So I realized the importance of another tool while giving a Thai Massage.

Two friends offered that I could also practice on them. Both of them have busy schedules, but I am happy about the opportunity to gain more experience with other people. I would like to start with them in a month as I know more movements by then.

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September 11, 2013 - 1:35 am
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I had always had a fascination for the esoteric, spiritual, yogic, healing type aspects of life, actually since I was a teenager. I remember reading books about amazing healing practices when I was only 16 or 17. I also grew up during the hippie days, and many of us during that time were interested in spiritual things. That was also the time when all those Indian cults sprang up everywhere like Hare Krishna, Ananda Marga, Guru Maharaji, Transcendental Meditation, Osho, etc. So Eastern spirituality was very popular in those days. We were all looking for something besides the material side of life. 

So that’s probably one reason why I took to Thai Massage very easily. It comes out of the yoga tradition, it deals with energy concepts – all very easy for me to relate to.

Regarding my Qigong teacher, that was Chunyi Lin from Spring Forest Qigong. I first came across a home study course which I took, and then I went to Minnesota several times to study with him.

Somehow during the course of my life I managed to live in 8 different countries. It just kind of happened, there was no real plan to do that. Spain was always my favorite European country.

Regarding if you should write about every single technique or summarize, it is perfectly okay to summarize. You can write about individual techniques if you had an interesting experience with one or have a question about it, but you don’t need to write a PHD dissertation about each module. Laugh

The whole purpose is that I want to get a pretty good idea that someone is actually working with the course material so that I can issue a meaningful certificate in good conscience.

It is very good that you are using your intuition when you are working. I have found out lots of useful information that way in my sessions.

 

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Angela
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September 11, 2013 - 11:14 pm
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Hi Franka,

yes, it seems that we have some things in common – I love Ireland and my husband´s mexican, too.        We are living in Mexico City which is quite a monster, I know … When we decided to leave Germany and move to Mexico I said “ok, let´s go, I like the idea of living in Mexico, but the only place I really don´t want to live is Mexico City! Well, that was 20 years ago. So in the beginning we spent some time in a small town up to North of the country but finding a good work was really difficult, and when my husband was offered a job at the University here in town we came to the Distrito Federal. And now I can´t imagine to live anywhere else, I love this town, the cultural offer, the people. And I love all these archeological sites all over the country – they have their own energy! And last not least the beautiful beaches, jungle (what is left), the colors and the weather! Right now we have a lot of rain but soon rainy season will be over and there will be blue sky (yes! It´s true, also here in the city!) and a lot of sun and pretty pleasant temperatures. How about life in Andalusia? Do people know about Thai massage?

Have a nice day!

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September 14, 2013 - 5:01 am
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Just a note for you Shama.

Thank you for every response. I can really relate to all what you are writing about.

I will have to take a break from my Thai Massage Studies as a friend is visiting me at the moment and we are travelling across the country side of Andalusia (with little time for other things). But I feel that Thai Massage is still with me and I will resume my studies after 21th September.

My partner mentioned after the last massage session that I would unblock energy through my massage, which got stuck somehow in certain places of the body and can flow freely again later.

I felt nervous the first massage session, but this feeling disappeared now and is replaced by a new confidence and suddenly I am flowing much more with the movements. Its like I am in the right place where I am meant to be.

 

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September 14, 2013 - 5:43 pm
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No problem, the course will always be there for you, and I am not planning to go anywhere either. Smile

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September 26, 2013 - 3:33 am
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Module 4

 

I am back in the forum – after some trips to beautiful places in Spain/ Portugal and a few days of unexpected illness- and started to practice again. Hope to continue without further interruptions.   

It was useful for me to repeat everything learned so far.

I noticed also that I have to find a soft, suitable surface for myself to kneel on as the mat is only big enough for my client/partner and there is no carpet/rug and the blanket sometimes too slippery.

Altogether it was a good session and relaxing for my partner as well as myself. I heard afterwards that she felt relief, relaxing of her muscles, flowing of energy (unblocking).

The first part of the foot massage, which was taught in Module 3 proved to be much easier now.

Thank you Shama for breaking everything down in simple steps like bend out, bend in etc.

With that the pictures came to me without trying so hard to remember the whole sequence.

Kneading the foot reminded me a lot of kneading a dough and was no problem therefore:-)

To circle clockwise and counter clockwise with thumb or middle finger was a natural movement, which I used in my own massage sessions before.

I really like the circles up to the gap between big toe and next toe and so on and especially the image of sunrays.

When I did the last movement I forgot how to sit best and adjusted myself in the end how it was more comfortable. Sitting on my legs was not the right way in this very moment, but might change.

 

 

 

 

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September 26, 2013 - 5:06 pm
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Yes, you definitely want to be on a soft and comfortable surface for your own sake. Otherwise you will have trouble with your feet and knees.

The techniques are always the hardest in the beginning and they get easier after a while. As long as you are comfortable in your own position, that’s okay. Just make sure that you can always use your body weight effectively in whatever position you place yourself.

I would love to travel around in Spain and Portugal and see beautiful places. The last time I have done that was over 30 years ago.

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Franka
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September 30, 2013 - 9:05 pm
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Module 5

 

Once I watched the video a couple of times I got the hang of it and it was overall quite easy to practice.

I only noticed that I have always (!!!) to double check in between if the pressure is still all right with my client as every part of the body has another sensitivity and we also feel different every day (what one day is fine with us can be too much the next day or trigger something). With that everything was great.

Also I forgot to introduce the foot lock properly to my client as I focused for a moment more on the technique and myself. It reminded me how important communication is – at all times and especially as the client is trying to relax, eyes closed etc. and unexpected moves can be scary, overwhelming.

After this experience I made sure to announce certain movements.

And I was wondering if you have a suggestion how much time I should spend with each movement for this exercise and general guideline for later?

I made sure that I was comfortable while giving the Thai Yoga Massage.

 

 

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September 30, 2013 - 9:44 pm
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Note to Module 5

 

My partner said afterwards that the Thai Massage feels very soothing, is unblocking the energy and perfect as “Yoga for lazy people” Laugh.

It is always surprising how much tension we hold in our body’s. I am amazed how Thai Massage can make a difference in just a few minutes.

In the past I gave some Foot Massages in a intuitive way, which could calm down, center the person in front of me and helped often better than talking about things over and over again.

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October 1, 2013 - 1:45 am
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Watching the videos several times is definitely essential. Nobody can remember everything with one viewing.

The right pressure is part of the art that develops more and more over time. But even in my case, after 15 years of practice, I often check in with my clients how the pressure is for them. I use the one-to-ten method.

When I had new clients who were not familiar with Thai Massage, I generally asked them before I started the session if they would like me to explain a little about what Thai Massage is all about and what I was about to do. That makes them feel a little more prepared and less surprised about all those unfamiliar moves.

I rarely “warn” clients about impending moves since I know pretty well what they can handle and what won’t work for them. However I still use quite a few communication tools with my clients to make sure that they are comfortable with what I am doing. This is important in Thai Massage since there are so many potentially powerful techniques involved.

Regarding how much time to spend on a particular move, there is no hard and fast rule. If I feel that it is necessary and beneficial, I might work on one area like ankle, knee, hamstrings or hands or whatever for half an hour or longer, but I don’t stick with the same technique the whole time as that will not go over very well after a while. That’s why it is so important to have a lot of variations and ways of doing things in your repertoire.

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October 4, 2013 - 12:10 am
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Module 6

 

Thank you for all your advise and comments.

I start to see how important it is to have lot of variation and I like especially that.

If I start a new module it seems like a lot, but then I discover how all the movements are related to each other. It also helps to make a few notes to each new movement until I can memorize it better.

This new leg warm up felt first quite usually as I have never used my forearms in a massage before, but I sensed how my partner relaxed, was breathing more deeply and even said how the energy would move and how enjoyable it was.

Once I figured out how to position myself and how my partner it was all right to use my forearm and to lean in etc.

My partner and I loved the rocking movement of the first practice. I tried to pull with the left hand first and to push with the right hand and found that it worked better for me than the other way around.   

 

 

 

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October 4, 2013 - 11:08 am
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That’s great feedback from your partner! Actually the forearm is the second most used tool in Thai Massage after the hands. It is very useful and well worth learning. You can do an amazing amount of work with your forearms, and you can make it feel really good with practice, and it will preserve the health of your hands.

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October 10, 2013 - 11:43 pm
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Module 7 – Leg Stretches

 

I took some time to review the previous sessions again and to practice more in order to built a stable foundation and to avoid gaps. Also I wanted to experience different sessions with the new module to compare with each other.

I noticed that my Collie always likes to curl up close by, but out of the way and relaxes completely – in her own world for the whole session and not asking for anything. Afterwards she does a few “Yoga stretches” (she is a true “Yoga Master”) and is “back again”. It must be the energy in the room.

Looking at my partner’s feet I could see that the right foot is turned outwards and the left foot almost pointing straight up, very little to the outside. Bending the “feet out” is not a problem here, but bending the “feet in” only possible with great care. In a previous session I found out that my partner’s left side has more restrictions and even still some unreleased pain/ imbalance due to an accident/illness. Therefore I have to guide this leg more or can’t get it totally straight for some exercises. It often feels more heavy in my hands.

My partner’s favourite exercises were quite clear as I heard the deep breathing again, while doing the “elephant walking” or “butterfly movement”. One session I put her to sleep – relaxation completed. 

The preparation for the leg stretch were excellent as kind of repetition on another part of the body. I easily adjusted to that. More challenging were the actual stretches. My partner’s leg didn’t want to move into a 90 degree angle (not flexible enough) and I tested the movement of just one foot up-down and then both feet, but without good results for my partner. It didn’t feel comfortable for her (on both sides) as much as I tried to follow all the instructions given to me. One comment was also that I didn’t apply the same pressure with both feet – I struggled to find a even rhythm. But I also guess that the angle of the leg was not “good enough” for this stretch. What can do in such a case?

Working on the knee was enjoyable through and I got into a good flowing movement with breathing, my hands and body.

One session I had apparently very “hot” hands. Can I do anything about that?   

 

 

 

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