Tuesday, 13 January 2015

How to make a Portable Non Slip Thai Massage Mat under $100.

Traditional Thai Massage is done on a thin floor mat with the client lying in the center and the therapist moving around the client on the mat. The mat plays a critical role for a therapist by

  1. Cushioning the knees of the therapist as she moves around the client on the floor.
  2. Provides a soft surface for the client to lie on and cushions the bony areas of the client while pressure may be applied from above.
  3. Provides a stable non-slip surface to work on for the therapist so that even when doing inversions or other complicated moves the mat stays fixed firmly to the ground irrespective of the surface underneath.
  4. Breathes and provides warmth as the client lies on it for up to two hours
  5. Should be wide enough so that as the therapist works from the feet to the head, they provide not only the client but also the therapist protection by providing a clear working area around the client.
  6. For therapists who work at their client's residence, the mat should also have a degree of portability

Considering these factors it helps to invest in a good if one is a serious Thai Therapist. Unfortunately here in the United States a good Thai Massage mat may cost more than $200-$400 and still not provide the grip and portability you may need. Most of them are made from thick cotton, and the rubber ones can cost up to $400 each.
The problem with Thick cotton massage mats is that they do not offer sufficient grip. If you are a therapist who may work from your client’s home, then you have no control over the flooring on which you may have to put your mat down. When working on common highly polished wooden flooring in the United States, this can be quite dangerous. A cotton or cloth mat can slip on a highly polished floor causing you or your client injury.
Moreover, the mats are stuffed with cotton and sometimes have a heavy triangular pillow that reduces the portability of the mat.
So here is our way to get good floor grip, cushioning, portability and economy with our Thai Massage Mat solution using ¼” thick yoga mats.

  1. Order a roll of  ¼ “ thick, 2 Feet wide and 103 feet long yoga mats or search the net for yoga mat rolls. It should cost between $100 to $120 each. You will need about 48ft to 72ft of the roll. The balance you can sell ($8 for each) or give them to your yoga friends and earn some good karma (You will have about 3 or 6 mats left over).
  2. Buy two extra large blankets from a thrift store with a design you like or use one you may have at home already. You can also order online beautiful Thick Mexican mats for under $20.
  3. Cut the Yoga Mat Roll into six no.s of 8 ft lengths each.
  4. Place three of them beside each other and put three more on top of them. Add another layer if you need more cushioning. Remember you have a lot of the roll still left over.
  5.  Put the two blankets/quilts on top of the yoga mats and your Thai Massage Mat is good to go.
  6. You can roll all the yoga mats along with the folded blankets/quilts and fit it your car quite easily and carry them tied or rolled up.

Yoga Mats                                 $120
Blankets                                    $ 20
Yoga mats sold                       - $ 24
Total                                          $96                    


Monday, 5 January 2015

Realizing Equanimity - Upekkha

Upekkha is a critical quality required in a Thai Massage practitioner. In Pali the word means Equanimity and it is one of the perfections required of a Bodhisattva.

So what does equanimity mean from a Buddhist point of view. Equanimity means unflappable in stress, cool or calm. However this coolness must be maintained consistently both internally and externally. Now equanimity is not a difficult concept to comprehend if you are fan of Kung Fu movies from Hong Kong. The Kung Fu master pirouettes gracefully through the air while evading swords, dagger and 108 poisoned tip arrows. All the time maintaining a calm Buddha face.

However since most of us will rarely ever have to evade 108 poisoned arrows at the same time how shall we experience equanimity in our daily lives?

As a Thai Massage practitioner getting to Equanimity means being detached from the egotistic point of healing. Like claiming that “I” can heal some problem in a client. Or to say that one is great healer. These statement and mind games are traps to destroy any equanimity one may have.  A good rule to find equanimity is to be detached from the fruit of one’s work in this case payment to be received or an expectation “I shall heal this person.” It also helps to understand that one is merely a part of karmic cycle in the client’s life and one may or may not heal the client. All one can do is to do their best with out any expectations.

Therefore a practitioner with Upekkha will spend the session time sensing and feeling sensations she is feeling from the client’s body while working on them. The practitioner should also be mindful of sensations in their own body.

However the best exercise that aids with developing Equanimity is suffering. Equanimity comes to one who has suffered a lot and not tried to escape the suffering. Instead she has pushed through the suffering to realize the temporary nature of all phenomena. Such experience is invaluable in building Upekkha as depth of suffering builds detachment.

Even Lord Buddha who lead a cozy protected life in a palace as a spoilt brat could only find enlightenment and equanimity once he escaped the palace and spent the rest of his life in hardship and suffering. In the Prajna Parmita Upekkha is defined as “Even Mindedness” or “as neither impassioned nor dispassionate”.  

Upekkha is realized when we neither run towards or hold on to pleasure or the sense objects that provide pleasure nor do we avoid or run away from pain.  Instead we try and sense them with equal mindfulness.