A yogi meditating in the lush Indonesian jungle

Yoga and Massage in Today’s Wellness Industry

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A Mind – Body – Spirit Connection

In just a few years, Bali BISA has witnessed gradual, yet profound changes in the canvas of students undertaking its professional spa and wellness courses. According to Founder, Penny Ellis, some of the most significant evolutions are the growing ranks of students who approach massage as more than just body work, but rather as part of a sustainable wellness regimen. These students recognize that individuals are part of an integrated system involving physical, mental, spiritual and emotional aspects, and that optimal health is derived from treating each person in a holistic fashion.

One of the common denominators is a belief in the merits of yoga and its complementary nature with intuitive, therapeutic massage modalities. Both have their roots in ancient civilizations, yet the major manifestations of the fundamentals have only really taken place over the last century. Massage has re-emerged as a scientifically-validated, alternative therapy, a concept that the Chinese recognized as far back as 4,000 years ago. Today, there are a multitude of massage modalities to address physical and emotional well being. Yoga too has seen a renaissance, although modern yoga has taken on a much more physical element than its pre-Vedic Indian predecessor which was much more spiritual in nature. What is your take on how massage and yoga have transformed from its fundamental heritage to the myriad manifestations evolving in modern society?

Is the link between Massage and Yoga clearly Defined?

1383032043Josh-Couples-Photo2-1-300x195Some cross-overs between the two date back for eons, particularly Thai Massage and Thai Yoga massage where the receiver surrenders to passive yoga postures and stretches, as well as massage techniques, breathing meditation and spiritual power. Even one of the core yoga asanas or poses known as Shavasana can involve a light shoulder and head massage to deepen relaxation and awareness. Today, where many yogis take the physical aspects of their practice quite seriously, their bodies can become unyielding and more constricted. A massage can loosen up tight muscles and stimulate the body’s more subtle aspects. This is why more and more yoga studios offer massage and / or healing sessions as part of a complete holistic presentation. Additionally, yoga is an intensely personal practice, despite the fact that it may be in a room full of other yogis. Conversely, with massage the receiver can relax and trust the touch of the giver, thus restoring balance. These two healing arts are thus entirely complementary.

Why pursue these dual careers?

ayurvedic-yoga-massageOffering both is certainly not for everyone, but the connection between these two healing arts resonates in many impactful ways and varies the average workday considerably. For people not wishing to be tied down to a strict work schedule, this combination of skills also gives a high degree of flexibility. If indeed there is an aptitude for both, the financial rewards can also be significant given the contemporary consumer’s pro-active pursuit of wellness, an industry cluster conservatively estimated to be nearly $2 trillion dollars globally. Driven by rising demand for a portfolio of preventative measures for sustainable wellbeing, spas are taking a more holistic approach to their menu. This translates into more comprehensive packages of complementary services including yoga, fitness classes, nutrition advise, lifestyle coaching, healthy food and beverage, natural products, amongst others. Even large companies recognize that massage, yoga and meditation reduces workplace stress, hence reducing the burden of employee time off due to illness and subsequent higher insurance premiums. Anne-Marie Praet, a Bali BISA graduate proclaimed “Although I started out with a focus on sports- related massages and treatments, my clients simply demanded that I also incorporate yoga classes. Having practiced yoga myself for several years, it was easy for me to teach individuals and groups after a 200 hour Yoga Alliance Teacher Training. Of course it was back in Bali!”. Another Bali BISA graduate, Lisa Burgess, had the opposite experience. She had a successful yoga and lifestyle business known as Reach Synergy Health & Fitness in Queensland, Australia, but felt she could add value to her loyal followers by offering ayurvedic body massage and head massage. “I have been overwhelmed with the response as ayurvedic principles are so much aligned with the spiritual practice of yoga”

How do you feel you can combine these two into a holistic package?

yogaAccording to Penny Ellis, “Bali’s stature as a cutting –edge wellness destination combined with the deep spirituality of the Balinese people has borne witness to a shift in the types of students enrolling at Bali BISA. Increasingly, our students partake in complementary courses while on the island with yoga being a particularly prevalent choice given the caliber of internationally renowned yoga teachers.” Bali BISA is pleased to present guest teachers throughout the year to supplement the core portfolio of holistic and basic therapy’s.

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