Ayurvedic Yoga Massage (AYM) was developed by Master Kusum Modak in Pune, India, after many years of studying traditional Ayurvedic massage and Iyengar yoga.
Like yoga, AYM treatments can look very different, as we adjust the treatments to the needs of different clients on different days. The style of each session is adjusted to serve client needs, so sessions can be more or less dynamic, deep, energetic, slow, nurturing and soothing. The aim of the sessions is to help the client feel more centred, and the energy to flow more freely through the body. This might include some deep oil massage, and stretches if appropriate for the client, like something that might be included in a sports massage, physio or osteo treatment. But, in the tradition of Ayurveda, we recognise that it is not only the quality of the soft tissues that we need to work with. Our state of mind and our feelings are not independent of how we feel in our physical bodies. So our primary objective is always to work in a way that allows the client to feel relaxed and safe in their body, and able to breathe deeply. As part of that process, we work to create a safe and nurturing space for the client, and we also try to activate the breathing muscles, relax the tissues around the rib cage, abdomen and pelvis, and promote awareness of the breath. Then we focus on physically softening any tension in the muscles, ligaments, tendons and fascia, and to promote healthy joint mobility, by encouraging the nervous system to relax, as well as by physically manipulating tissues with oil massage, passive stretches, tractions and mobilisations as appropriate. By helping clients feel more safe, supported and well in their bodies we can also help reduce stress levels, and promote the healthy function of all the body’s systems.
Treatments are sometimes focused on the area where there is an injury or pain, but generally we do tend to work with the whole body, as everything is interconnected through the nervous system, fascia, circulation and through our movement patterns. So depending on what the client’s priorities are, we usually recommend a series of treatments to help promote the health of the whole body, and to help work on the causes of the issues that the client wants to work on.
Regular treatments can also help to promote our physical and mental health, so we can work towards being as healthy and well as we can. Prevention is always better than cure, and by working on our wellness we can really start seeing the benefits in our life, relationships and our work, as well as on our physical and mental health.
AYM is always adjusted to the needs of the client on the day, but it is usually a deep tissue oil massage followed by assisted yoga stretches, tractions and mobilisations.
All the testimonials our therapists receive speak volumes about how popular this type of massage is becoming. Have a look in the therapist directory to find out what people have to say about the treatments they’ve had.
What to expect during an Ayurvedic Yoga Massage
In practical terms, treatments work on the whole body, with more emphasis on the areas that need more work.
- A session starts with an oil massage using hands and feet. This gradually warms up and softens muscle tissues and fascia, relaxes the body and mind, helps breathing and improves circulation.
- We work specifically with the breath to help the nervous system to relax.
- We use natural oils and a powder from the ground root of Acorus calamus, a wetland plant in the sweetflag family. This gives a pleasant exfoliating feeling, but mainly helps improve circulation and warm up the tissues, intensifying the benefits of the massage.
- The oil massage is supported by gentle mobilisations, tractions and assisted (passive) yoga stretches. These help lengthen the tissues in a functional way, useful if you’ve had injuries. Through these gentle movements we help relax the tendons and ligaments, and improve the circulation and promote natural healing in joints.
- Want to see a massage in action? Check out our Ayurvedic Yoga Massage videos.
Why is Ayurvedic Yoga Massage so beneficial?
- Ayurvedic Yoga Massage works with both oil massage and movements, meaning your body gains all the benefits of both.
- Therapists take time to understand your needs and your limits so you never feel over or under worked.
- Combining working close to your limits and using breathing to help activate the parasympathetic nervous system helps release tension from even the most ‘stuck’ parts of your body.
- Massaging, moving or stretching tense muscles can cause pain, resistance or agitation. The mindful touch and deep, relaxed breathing that AYM offers helps retrain the nervous system to not react in this way. This is great for moving you out of chronic pain.
- This whole-person approach to Ayurvedic Yoga Massage gives a lasting feeling of being centred, where you are less likely to feel agitated or restless, and experience increased clarity of thought.
- The approach aims to help you develop body awareness.
Why therapists love AYM too!
Ayurvedic Yoga Massage is a wonderful experience for the therapist too. Initially we use a sequence to warm up the body, which allows the session to become a moving meditation. Even new practitioners can experience this, by working to a set sequence that they plan at the beginning of a session. It is also a wonderful technique for other therapists to learn as a compliment to their style, and for yoga teachers to offer at the end of a yoga private.
Ayurvedic Yoga Massage is also wonderful for therapists to offer as we work on the floor. So we can use our body weight to offer pressure, and use several parts of our body such as hands/palms, thumbs, knuckles, elbows, fists, feet or knees. So we can always work in the best direction, with the best pressure, and using the optimal surface area so that we can manipulate tissues as necessary, without creating unnecessary pain sensations for the client, and without stressing any joints or muscle groups for the therapist. We also change positions frequently, and look into body dynamics in the training, so offering massage can be a healing experience for the therapist too, not just for the client. Almost like attending an easy yoga class, even though offering AYM is by no means a substitute for a yoga practice.
To book a Ayurvedic Yoga Massage look at our therapist directory for someone near you. If you can’t find a suitable therapist, get in touch with us using the contact form. We have trained hundreds of therapists in the UK and Europe, and not all of them opt to be in a therapist directory, but will take on new clients if we refer them.