By Corinne Louveau – ARYM Diploma Practitioner Level 5 (France)
I did my first training with Ananta in Paris of May 2016. It was by pure chance–if he still allowed me to believe in coincidence–that I came across his website while surfing the web. Then I enrolled in an Ayurvedic massage training several months? I decided to follow my instinct after some research on YouTube. Seduced by Kusum Modak’s method, I met Ananta and his teaching method three weeks later.
My only experiences of the subject were: a recent Ashtanga Yoga Retreat in India, a meeting with an Ayurvedic doctor in Goa, a few massages from different expert therapists, and devouring three or four books in the past months. A small taste, like a toe dipped into the immense ocean of the science of life. But now it’s time to take the plunge, to face my doubts. The first concern is my lack of experience that hardly coincides with my old age (52 years old woohoo! It goes fast…). It’s also time to give myself a great gift: to strengthen the connection to my true essence and leave my everyday life and obligations behind for a while.
Ananta joined us in the small room where our cosmopolitan group of fifteen people will soon train for 8 days. After the opening session, an immediate connection is created. While the alumni–those who have completed the first level–were due a big “reunion hug,” I psychologically prepared myself to expose my mind and body in front of all these strangers. The sense of touch allows us to enter into intimate contact with the other. It also creates the strongest, most soothing bond. Thus, there aren’t any false pretenses. This is precisely what attracts me to the practice of massage.
With Ananta, everything seems so simple from the beginning. His lessons are exciting and simple at the same time, just like his personality. We work in pairs, with the same partner for the entire day, allowing us to experience a kind of patient and therapist relationship for a rather long time. Young, hyper flexible yoga teacher; big, hefty man or woman; beginner or experienced masseur; or others…there is a wide variety of possibilities.
The first day, I chose a Swiss German, Lomi Lomi massage therapist who immediately puts me at ease. We all cling to Ananta’s lips and hands: “who wants to be a model?” I didn’t rush at first, but now I wouldn’t give up my place for anything in the world. My tight upper back and my stiff neck were quick to point out, and I am fortunate to have the chance to be a model for the lessons that concern these parts of the body. Let go, breathe, open. The sighing “hoooo!!!” that Ananta emphasises to remind us of the importance of breath in this massage technique, encourages us and makes us smile. It hurts yet feels good, and over time, the ?muscles? loosen (more or les easily). We are on the edge of laughter and sometimes we cry. But everyone is kind, and as these emotions are expressed, everyone becomes more and more closer each other. The days pass quickly and we feel quite tired. The program is dense and Ananta is very generous with his time. Every morning, we begin where we left off, building on the program each day, alternating massage and yoga stretches with our partner. In the middle of the week, I feel lost and can’t remember anything. Ananta reassures that “It’s okay. I couldn’t remember anything at first either.” Fortunately, the course material is constructed well and very accurate. Each night, I review a little before falling into a deep sleep.
The end of the course happens so quickly. After a discussion in which Ananta gives valuable tips to the group of novice masseurs, we are ready to welcome our first, real paying clients on Clinic Day. I actually don’t feel ready at all, and I have crazy stage fright. I asked my host in Paris to be my client. In fact, everything is going well, and we all leave as certified Ayurvedic Yoga Massage Therapists, ready to start, to do good to those around us, to perhaps welcome our first guests, and waiting to enroll into Level 5. I look forward…to Mysore, perhaps… in January 2017? Namaste Ananta