LA: First and foremost, why did you choose to learn about Thai Yoga Massage?
MA: I had been doing classic oil, swedish, deep tissue and sports massages for a couple of years and always felt that there was a much deeper way to connect with and heal the body. There were times when I did not work too much physically during a massage. It can be draining yet the feedback I received was fantastic. So what had happened? What did I do? Did I press something? I had a deep desire to understand more.
LA: Where did your journey take you after this realisation?
It took me to Thailand. Nobody told me go, but I instinctively knew it would be the place where magic happened. Recommendations and research led me to the Sunshine Network which is based in the Lahu Hill tribe village. The village is situated in the mountains not far from the jungle and was founded by Asokananda. Students were warned that facilities were very basic and simple –
LA: Did this make you slightly wary of training here?
JM: No! This made my heart sing and I was sure I was going in the right direction. I had never received a Thai Massage before so my ‘first touch’ was during my initial twelve day residential training which I undertook in 2007. Since then, I have been to Thailand every year, sometimes staying for six months and training or assisting teachers. The Buddhist way of living seeped into my pores, too; I meditated and attended Vipassana Meditation retreats. I loved spending time in the monasteries or forest retreats. It was so inspiring to touch silence and realise that this is the way to live fully. I felt purpose in every inhalation and exhalation.
LA: What a beautiful, enriching experience. Did you undertake any additional training or engage in any other activities to enhance your Thai Yoga Massage training?
JM: Yes. My first love was Thai Yoga Massage but I wanted to have a regular yoga practice so I also travelled to India to study and learn about myself. I started with Ashtanga Vinyasa, where my ego almost let Indian yoga teachers break my bones!
JM: Eventually I did the Sivananda teacher training in Kerala, spending months in the Ashram. I noticed many westerners came and went to see a lot and to do more and more. For me, it is important to stay longer in one place, with one practice, to comprehend its essence. Each time I left the UK I wasn’t sure I would be back. Thai Yoga Massage has given me so many other branches to explore: Buddhism, yoga, meditation, fasting, being a father.
LA: What a powerful calling…
JM: Yes. Thai Yoga Massage gives me the space and opportunity to touch in the deepest way, getting me back on track to a more meditative way – the only way. Through my own transformation I am able to reach others, to connect. We are all so conditioned from birth to disconnect, so the journey is continuous.
LA: I agree wholeheartedly. Self-definition is an ongoing process and, as you say, the journey never ends. Can you describe how it makes you feel to practise Thai Yoga Massage?
JM: For me, TYM is like returning to where I am safe. Everything is perfect. I am happy. I don’t really know what TYM is but I am at home with it. I don’t know who I am but I am not looking for answers with TYM. I have arrived. I am nobody. I am doing nothing and I am at home. Maybe that the simplest way I can describe what I am experiencing when giving TYM or sharing as a teacher with my Sangha.
LA: What a truly beautiful way of describing the process of giving a Thai Yoga Massage. I wonder whether this deep, connected process is what led you to teach, so that others too could share in this unique experience?
JM: Well, in 2011, I was offered a teaching position on the Thai massage ITEC course. It had never crossed my mind to teach. There was only one student enrolled, but yes, it was a unique experience and beautiful way to share my passion. Unfortunately though, the syllabus was limiting and restricted. So I decided to create my own accredited training and have been authorised as a Sunshine Network teacher. I trained with many respected Sunshine Network senior teachers and Thai master teachers around the world. Although, there are few I haven’t met yet.
LA: Which teachers have taught you the most about the practice… about yourself?
JM: Apart from those I’ve trained with? Nature, my grandad – who took me out mushroom picking even when it was over 39 celsius – and my baby daughter. They are my best teachers.
LA: So, what makes Jungle Healing teacher training courses so unique?
JM: I don’t teach anything… I simply share what I experience when giving TYM. I have manuals but the structure changes. I love to be creative and to adapt according to the needs of the group. I encourage students not to copy me but to be intuitive and find their own way; that’s the only way…to be your authentic self, all the answers are inside. TYM is just a way to go inward to know the truth, to live mindfully and to be happy.
LA: Finally, I’d like you to tell me about your best Thai Yoga Massage experience as a receiver…
JM: When I was in Thailand once, I visited a Thai Market and came across an old, sweaty man wearing a dirty vest with a hole in it. He was giving massages on a broken plastic chair for almost nothing. That was the best massage I ever had. He was my best teacher too…
LA: It just proves the old saying is right – never judge a book by its cover…
Learn the art of Thai Yoga Massage for yourself…
Marek offers the unique opportunity to learn about the art of Thai Yoga Massage through classes, taster days, a recognised diploma course and further practitioner training.
Classes take place at Jungle Healing Studio every Thursday and 50% of all class bookings go towards helping underprivileged children. Here, attendee Sarah gives an insight into this beautiful practice:
“This email is really for sharing my deep connection last Thursday whilst doing Thai Massage.
You know people search looking for answers yet it is so simple – even a simple move or touch can connect you to ‘Remembering who you are’. I know it was my first time doing Thai Massage, whilst facilitating my first move I touched/reconnected to that silent space deeply… I really felt present!
It’s that recognition which is beyond words where magic happens. There was nothing but joy and peace. It’s who we are, it’s about remembering!”
Join Sarah and many others in experiencing a sense of deeply felt connection with self and others by booking your Thai Yoga Massage experience now.