Ayurvedic Yoga Massage, a blissfully lazy experience
Nothing beats that relaxed and rejuvenated feeling you get after a successful yoga class. Emotionally restored and body re-aligned, you could take on the world. That said, sometimes the last thing you feel like doing after a demanding day is a group yoga class complete with headstands and never-ending rounds of sun salutations. That’s where Ayurvedic Yoga Massage or lazy yoga comes in. I recently had the pleasure of receiving my first Ayurvedic Yoga Massage (AYM) courtesy of Niraj at Bliss Pilgrims. Ayurveda and Yoga are ancient holistic systems of India and as I found out, combining the two makes for a powerful healing experience.
During my travels through India I received a couple of Ayurvedic treatments. One experience sticks in my mind, that took place in a beach hut and involved copious amounts of oil, as two buxom Indian ladies simultaneously performed vigorous swooshing movements over me. I had expected a similar massage technique to be used, but was surprised to find that AYM is something different entirely.
Ayurvedic Yoga Massage combines deep tissue massage with coordinated breath-work and yoga stretching. This unique style of massage was developed by Master Kusum Modak in Pune, India. By combining her knowledge of Ayurveda and Traditional Ayurvedic Massage with the Yoga she learned directly from BKS Iyengar (the founder of Iyengar yoga), a new school of massage was born. Whilst she has been developing the system of AYM for around 30 years, AYM still remains relatively unknown. This is because she has not publicised her work, instead humbly devoting her time to teaching the technique in Pune and Goa.
The session started with an all over deep tissue massage using sesame oil and calamus root powder, releasing tension and sorting out all the knots in my shoulders and neck. Calamus root powder is similar to ginger and has been used in Ayurveda for centuries due to its numerous healing properties. Master Kusum Modak has tried many herbal powders with AYM and has found calamus to be the most beneficial, being a natural skin stimulant and boosting blood circulation. It also relieves flatulence and is good for the sinuses, helping to fight respiratory infections.
Almost immediately after the yellow powder had started to absorb into my skin I could feel its effects, as my stomach started and continued to growl noisily!
After everything had been put back into the place it is supposed to be it was time for the assisted yoga stretching. By this point in the massage I was pretty out of it, although I was told that I was in the minority as most people generally don’t fall asleep. During the yoga you literally just hang loose as the masseuse assists you into the stretches, meaning you do none of the work and reap all the benefits…now that’s what I call enjoying exercise! My favorite and the final part of the treatment was the divine head massage at the end, which I can only describe as blissful.
After the massage I felt a deep sense of calm in my mind yet my body was bursting with energy
Prior to the AYM I had been feeling very bloated and sluggish which completely disappeared. My stomach was noticeably flatter afterwards and my digestive system was kicked (gently) back into action. Word of warning: I did feel slightly light-headed afterwards so I wouldn’t advise this as a ‘lunch break massage’. I definitely needed to rest and take it easy after. Niraj also advised me not to drink any alcohol, and to eat healthily and drink lots of water, as the massage would have a detoxifying effect.