by ARYM Cert. Therapist Katie Leach (UK)
I originally took the Ayurvedic yoga massage course to give me something to do during the day while I was in Mysore practising yoga. Being a yoga teacher, I also thought it would be a good way to learn a little bit more about the body from a hands-on perspective, not really thinking that it would necessarily be something I’d actually want to do afterwards.
I had no real idea of what to expect when turning up the first day, and as usual, a little nervous when doing something new. I was instantly put at ease with a welcoming hug from Ananta, who runs the course. He’s one of those rare personalities who naturally commands attention from the whole room and knew 22 people’s names after they’d introduced themselves just once. He has incredible intuition about the human body, knowing instinctively what part of them is tight or problematic and you can clearly see his passion for what he teaches.
The course in itself was completely beyond my expectations. Not only did it feel like a mini-family was created during the 2 weeks, but the way Ananta teaches resonated hugely with me. His general style was to demonstrate, talk through the technique whilst someone else demonstrated what he’d just shown us, and then send us off in pairs to practise that element. Each session would start with going over the previous days’ learning followed by new techniques, gradually building our repertoire. This repetition really helped the information soak in and has given me a solid foundation upon which to start developing my massage since the course has been completed. He also had a lot of entertaining stories to share and made the whole course light-hearted and fun, whilst also ensuring we learnt the key elements, especially how to perform massage safely both for ourselves and the person we were massaging.
The course itself is very hands-on, with at least the first week being hugely physical, pairing up with a different person every day so we could get used to different bodies and swapping between receiving and giving a massage. The exchange of energy, from relaxed to active, was at times challenging but there was always chai and Ananta’s special iced coffee to get us through the harder times!
I never expected that within two weeks I’d feel comfortable standing on people, using my feet to massage them and contorting their body into a whole range of yoga stretches, but I really did! It taught me that giving a massage can be even more rewarding than receiving one (something I thought I’d never say!) and I can’t wait to start putting what I’ve learnt into action in the real world.