Teach to learn more

Teaching the Intro. to Thai massage class this past weekend at Casa de Luz this weekend was great fun. We had I believe 12 or so students at final count and everyone was excited to receive work and learn to help others. Every group of students is different and brings their own unique flair to class.

This time I noticed we had at least 4 students with no formal yoga or massage training. 1/3 of the entire class just decided, this stuff is great I want more and decided to take a 14 hour class in it. I think that speaks volumes for how popular Thai massage is becoming.

One student has told me that they believe this will change their entire massage practice of over ten years. Their whole way of working, flipped and changed for the better. We helped do all of that in 14 hours. I don’t think that speaks volumes for my teaching, so much as the power of Thai massage itself. If you don’t know what it is, learn soon.

If you’re a massage therapist looking for a different way, if you want to save your hands and avoid burn out, this is it.

Thank you to all my students, for teaching me with beginners mind.

Ebb and Flow

Andrea and I have been working on trying to figure out buying the home we’re in for some time. We’ve never been fixated on purchase but it was always in the back of our minds. We have limited income, our businesses both operate out of the house in addition to its being living space.

We finally got word that our offer on the house was declined and someone else has purchased it. Time to move!

I announced to my yoga students last night that we had to be out of the house by March 1st. They didn’t make a sound. I was struck by it, expecting to hear whines or complaints. I teased one of our students about not having to do yoga anymore and Toni, one my most die hard students said, “Oh no, we’re doing yoga if we have to do it outside on the lawn.” I guess sometimes you reach students who won’t let you quit.


So in one month we have to move out completely. There are many things up in the air at the moment. We have to find and possibly buy a house in addition to moving our businesses and setting up shop elsewhere. The one thing that amazes me is we’ve taken almost nothing and built something. We had an old abandoned rent house with holes in the windows and grass as tall as me and not only made it better, we made businesses that grew out of it.

My Intro. to Thai massage class this weekend has 14 people in it. I’ve had to work 2 years to promote and grow my business in order to do that. I’m on the verge of real financial success, the kind where you pay for advertising instead of do it all for free on facebook.

Sometimes things ebb, sometimes they flow, just make sure you don’t grow too attached and always keep moving.

What do you teach?

When students ask me what I teach I typically tell them bodywork or Thai massage. If they ask more questions I say that I teach yoga, yoga therapy and help people with back pain. I do whatever I can within my power to heal and help others do the same. As a human, I’m a flawed, errant and odd individual but therein lay my divinity, I embrace that duality.

Thai massage and yoga aren’t different things to me. They’re just two sides of the same coin. The person I am, always is. What do I teach? All that I know. Come learn. We only have 3 openings left in the Thai massage class this coming weekend. Click here to register.


At work recently I walked in to a name I recognized, a face I recognized but I couldn’t put the two together. If I’ve had a busy few weeks this isn’t uncommon. Client after client with back pain or some issue starts to blend particularly if we’ve not had extensive conversation that allows me to get to know the person I’ve worked on.

When I said hello the client they looked at me fondly and said, “the new love of my life.” I blushed lightly, looked at my boss and she said, “I think she likes your work Robert.” I giggled and mentioning it to my boss later and she said I’d be surprised how many marriage proposals she’s gotten over the years.

Talking with the client afterwards, it turns out I’d done what for me is fairly standard, Thai massage or as some call it Thai Yoga massage on the table with a new client. She’d been having low back problems and the work is so beneficial it’s my go to in the tool box. Discussing her pain scale she explained to me that if 10 meant you were going to the hospital and 0 was no pain she was at about a 7 when she saw me. The following morning she felt like she was under a 1. That much pain relief will get you some loves.

She’d read some of the blog here, purchased a Ma roller and told all her friends. I adore having honest expressions of appreciation but other than a nice tip after your session nothing spells appreciation like referrals. In the business of bodywork I don’t find that ads draw people in. Much like a hairdresser there is something intimate about working with someone, one on one, on their body in some caring way. Most people ask other people who they go to. They don’t as commonly look up random names in a phone book like they would for plumber.

A referral does something that I cannot do. It tells someone that my work is good by someone who’s had it. Anything I say about my skills or caring nature isn’t matched by that of a pleased client with friends who’ll make an appointment based on those conversations alone. When that new person comes in they’re already relaxed, after all their friend had a positive experience, why shouldn’t they? In my line of work nothing works as well. No print ad, mailer with a coupon or blog article I write will have as much of an effect as when a friend says they have pain in their low back and someone announces, “You should go see Robert.”

Another thing that impressed me about the interaction with the client is they were engaged in their healing process. Not only did they make a semi-regular appointment for several weeks but they purchased the massage tool the Ma roller to engage in self care. The work we do is healing and in a culture with a lack of physical touch just that alone is therapeutic to people. The best care is active and passive, from working on yourself and from allowing others to help you. Nothing in my experience is as healing as your own focus and care then allowing a nurturing therapist to assist you in that healing process. It’s far better than just working on yourself. You’re not alone in your quest.

Tips are another area that spell appreciation. When a tank of gas costs $50+ these days it makes an impression not only financially but energetically. The fact that a client gives me more than the asking price tells me they value our time and interaction enough to want to keep me around. If you worked in a restaurant do you remember the patrons who tip well? Same if you’re a bartender? One thing I learned long ago if I was drinking hard liquor the bartender got a large tip right up front. The following drinks were always a little better.

Another factor to consider is regular sessions with a therapist. Regular work for a massage therapist is golden. We work in an industry that isn’t often stable. Work comes and goes, paychecks fluctuate and clients that get regular work make our income more balanced and our work go farther. Clients who engage in regular work respond better, their tissues soften and it shows they’re being proactive with their health. After ten years working nothing is quite as irksome as someone who comes in with the code red crick in the neck. That didn’t happen over night, it usually happens over the course of months of lack of exercise, lack of care and now they come in for me to fix it. A regular client who comes in gets far more empathy when it comes to the ups and downs of life and limb.

So the appreciation goes both ways. If you’re a client or student who sends friends, thank you. You’ve made my healing work possible. If you tip and help me pay for gas and groceries thank you as well. Without you I’d be working as a plumber in a far less fun environment.

Looking Back #2

There are 8 full class days this month teaching Thai massage in Austin. More business is cropping up, social media is taking off and within the next year I suspect my business will change more than even I realize. New heights, new challenges and I use what I teach to help me stay calm and centered. More yoga and Thai massage please.

Thai bodywork is on the upswing and I’m going to do everything within my power to use it, transform it for westerners and make sure the public knows there’s more to massage than cream and a table. The time is now.

Looking back it’s nice to see I’ve been saying this all along. The link contains a video with Kira Balaskis. After all these years it’s still one of my favorite Thai massage videos.

Looking Back

We’ve had many new students recently and also many new followers to our social media. As we just passed two years posting to the blog I want to post some occasional looking back posts. These will highlight blog posts from the past that I’ve enjoyed and show those who’re new what may be hiding in the blog.

Having my own space on the internet has allowed me a soapbox. Being able to share what I love and change the world with my joy is great. Thai massage is blooming. Here’s a post where my work started to come together. Simple videos showing easy to use techniques to work on people.
Austin Thai massage

Bikram yoga and Thai massage

Bikram yoga and Thai massage have been the cornerstones of my health regimen for years. I discovered Thai massage and yoga at around the same time then later bumped into Bikram practice. I’d never seen anything like Bikram yoga. My first class was an arduous, sweaty, New Orleans original with humidity that makes Austin look like child’s play. I tried, did what I could and left wondering what the hell did I just do?

Over the years I’ve integrated knowledge and distilled the essence of both practices into my own work as a bodyworker and yoga teacher. I ran across this article on blood stops the other day.

Blood stops in Thai massage are not something often spoken of. It’s a higher skill, taught later in my series of Thai massage classes. I learned them years ago, use them with clients and later realized while taking Bikram classes that Mr. Choudhury had incorporated specfic poses in his sequence, along with the heart pumping heat, to do the same. The tourniquet effect and a blood stop are essentially the same physiological mechanism.

This isn’t new information to me. I know it in the way that one knows your lover, from intimate contact and ongoing communion. What I was impressed to find was, oh someone else actually knows this and wrote about it. I rarely see Thai massage and Bikram yoga mentioned in conversations together and found it interesting that Bikram’s yoga was referenced twice in the pdf.

Bikram helped teach me to do some Thai massage to myself. Thanks to the staff at Yogagroove for helping me keep the blood moving all these 7 years. If you’re interested in my work there’s an Introduction to Thai massage class coming in late January.