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Apr 6, 2018

Partner Yoga, Thai Massage and Alleviating Human Suffering

Take the spiritual wisdom of ancient yoga, mix it with Thai massage, add a bit of acrobatics and you’ve got Partner Yoga (also known as Acroyoga). Partner Yoga is a great mix of exercise, spirituality, and trust building play that has found growing popularity in the health and wellness community. Renee Araneda became interested in the practice of Partner Yoga while looking for ways to better teach Thai massage at National Holistic Institute’s Emeryville Campus.

“With Thai massage, there’s a little more contact as compared to other modalities. I wanted the students to be more comfortable and connected with their partner before doing the massage, so we started doing regular partner stretching as a warm-up.”

Renee’s partner stretching warm-ups received great reviews from students, and she was enjoying teaching the Partner Yoga poses so much she decided to pursue learning more about Partner Yoga on her own.

“I took a workshop with a woman named Elysabeth Williamson in Santa Barbara last year whose life’s work is Partner Yoga. I had a great experience and wanted to be able to share what I had learned in Thai massage classes, but also do a little something extra. That’s what lead me to teach my own Partner Yoga workshop outside of class.”

One of Renee’s goals for her workshop was to make the benefits of yoga accessible to anyone.

“I feel like people hear the word “Yoga” and they automatically think of super flexible people in tight workout clothes who can twist into a pretzel or people who are into the spiritual side of yoga. To me, this is regular people yoga. Anybody can do it.”

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Some have said Thai massage with its emphasis on stretching is, “like having yoga done to you.” While not exactly “the lazy man’s yoga” like Thai massage, Partner Yoga can ease some of the hesitations one might have about trying yoga.

“The great thing about Partner Yoga is you have the support of another person there to help you make progress and do postures that maybe you couldn’t do on your own. It’s more about how you feel versus what you look like or how far you’re stretching.”

The benefits of Partner Yoga are shared between partners, and much is the same in Thai massage.

“Thai massage is supposed to be beneficial for the client but also the practitioner. The intention is to alleviate human suffering by bringing joy and compassion into the world and to have joy even at other’s good fortune. To me, that’s what Partner Yoga is as well.”

Whether it’s teaching Thai massage at NHI or her Partner Yoga workshops Renee’s passion is to share techniques that can help alleviate human suffering.

“Having a connected experience with someone else can lead to having a more connected and centered experience on your own. With these experiences, we’re able to step out into the world more positively and powerfully.”

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