Tida Aroonwaow is a yoga teacher based in Sydney; she knows how to get the best from her students with her wealth of knowledge and brilliant teaching method. Indeed, her positive energy and generosity is infectious. Beautiful Because caught up with her to find out more about her yoga practice, Thai Yoga Massage and what motivates her, and helps her maintain, such high energy levels each day.
My first official yoga practice was in Thailand in a home of famous Hatha yoga teacher. I didn’t know what they were doing I just followed them along. It was probably in 2000. The students around me who were in their fancy yoga poses impressed me. Due to business at work and life, I was only a casual student back then. I took my first teacher training course in 2009. It changed my life. My yoga journey as a yoga teacher began then. After many years of practicing and trainings, yoga has become a part of my life. Now, as I am certified in Forrest Yoga, I also teach Forrest Yoga as well as Vinyasa yoga. Yoga to me is moving meditation. When or what ever you do if you sync your breath and focus on what you are doing at that particular moment, you are practicing yoga. Yoga brings the deep concentration in the same way as meditation which creates a mindfulness life style.
“Savanasa” (or corpse pose) is a relaxing pose at the end of a yoga class. Even when you are in a hurry 1-2 minutes is still better than nothing, as it allows the wonderful energy you've just made during practice soak into your being. It prepares the body and the mind to settle before you go back to your daily life. Many people don’t necessarily understand how important this pose is rather and rush out of the room. They will miss out on that wonderful energy.
Breathing mindfully is the key of yoga practice. Without the mindfulness breathing, this exercise will only be another form of workout. The breath is like a bridge to connect the body and the mind. The breath can tell so much about the person’s condition. Even though you don’t have much time to do yoga posing practice, you can simply focus on your breathing practice; that’s one of eight aspects of yoga practice too.
Breathing practices at the beginning of the practice help settle the body down from a hectic day. It also prepares the body to be ready for the physical practice. Some practices help opening particular areas in the body to prepare for certain poses later in the practice. For example, breathing practice, which focus on the chest, side ribcages and the upper back area prepare for back bending poses. During the practice, teachers remind the students to breath because the flow of the breath is helping to shape the pattern of the energy to flow in the body. While performing the poses, breath is supporting the movement to flow freely without struggle. The students need to inhale deeply to nurture the remaining energy for the body, while exhaling helps release the holding-on pattern in the body.
A couple of things that I always recommend to people who have little time each day for yoga are: A full round of Sun Salutation with lunges. Sun Salutation is a great warm up. It has got most aspects of poses such as forward bend, back bend, and hips opening. Most importantly the flow of the breathe of each movement brings the steadiness of the breath and calmness of the mind. I always recommend my students to do at least 10-12 rounds of Sun Salutation in days when they only have 15 minutes for yoga.
A core more from my Forrest Yoga methods is called “Elbows to Knees”. It is great for building sweat, warming up the body and getting the abdomen and lower back stronger. One more great thing about Elbows to Knees is that you can sweat up and feel your abs burning in 3 minutes. Sounds great, eh!?
One of my favourite quotes, whose origin I don’t even remember, is that if you think you are too inflexible to do yoga, it sounds like you are too dirty to take a shower. Yes, yoga can be very challenging for some. It might be because the first impression that most people see is many yogis doing their fancy moves. Also in yoga, we move in different ways to our normal moves in daily life. However, as with many things in life, the more you practice the more you’ll be comfortable with it. I try not to use the word “be good at it” because yoga is not something you need to be good at. Yoga is for everyone to commit to turn up on their mats everyday, be present and feel good after practice.
Thai yoga massage is an ancient system of healing that has its roots in Ayurveda. Thai yoga massage has nothing much to do with yoga practice at all. It used to be called the lazy man’s yoga. Generally a person who is receiving the massage has the massager to help she/he stretch into some yoga poses. It helps relax the muscles, help better flow of the blood and helps energy flow through the whole body. It unties the knot of energy, which is stuck in the stiff areas in the body. In ancient time, people received the massage to prevent illness.
I have recently completed my Thai yoga massage training and am now a Thai yoga massage practitioner. I realise that Thai yoga massage has a big objective to help the body relax. It helps release tension in the body. I really recommend it though once a week or every fortnight if you can afford it. It is a special gift that you can give to your body after long hours of work.
One of my beloved teachers said “You are in charge of the energy that you bring to each situation.” I choose to bring calm and positive energy to myself and share that energy with others. I practice yoga everyday as a part of my routine. I also practice meditation regularly. Most importantly I breathe a lot. I love taking long breaths. Breath is my best friend. I listen to it all the time. The long steady breath brings more calm and centre to my body and mind.
The best part of my teaching yoga is probably the fact that I have a chance to share my practice with others. I always get so excited when I finish my class plan. My students who turn up on the mat to see me and enjoy practicing together. Particularly I love seeing how much their energy has changed after class. Their beautiful bright and the inner light shining from their faces. It is such a rewarding career.
I am pretty lucky that I wake up everyday to do what I love, which is teaching yoga for a living. Every morning when I wake up I will take a couple of minutes to connect to myself. I set intentions for the day by asking myself simple questions like what I want to see myself, how I want to feel each day or what is a goal of my life today. I also share this intent with my student in my class plan.
I used to be a night person but I am a morning person now. I have been teaching early morning classes for some time. My body is now used to waking up early even on the mornings that I have no class to go to. I still get up early for my personal practice. Practice in the morning is challenging because the body has been at rest for long hours. But it helps wakening up and refreshing the whole body for a whole day.
I have been only practicing yoga for long time. I would say that only practicing yoga is enough for me because it gives me flexibility and strength. Though it depends on what type of yoga and how often you practice yoga. Different types of yoga give you different benefits in term of body strength and flexibility. Some also can give you injuries if not practiced in the proper way.
I also spend a lot of time walking and bike riding as much as I can. I just have started pilates about 5 months ago. I think it is better to try some new activities to allow the body to use different muscles. It helps challenging the mind in different way.
I eat every good thing. I prefer delicious food that nurtures my body. I believe everything in moderation is good for the body. My favourite easy recipe is grilled salmon or any kind of fish. Simply grill the salmon for 3 minutes each side, serve with green vegies such as steamed broccoli, bok choi or green bean and pumpkin puree. Seasoning it with black pepper and squeeze of lemon. Yum!
I love travelling, reading, sewing and gardening. One of those things always makes me happy. I love meditation and love moving around. So these hobbies are activities that need concentration but allow me to move my body as well. Sounds like yoga again, doesn’t it?
The day that I don’t have to rush to work too early in the morning. I like to have some time in bed and to meditate. I love to sip my favourite cup of tea in my little garden in the backyard, listening to the sound of the birds and wind. I haven’t got much time to enjoy meals as I teach many sessions so I try to organise a lovely lunch with my husband if I have a chance. I definitely have to have some time for a yoga practice.
There are two things that are always in reach when needed. One is aloe vera. It is in my garden actually. I’m lucky enough not to have pimples much but as soon as I feel one coming up, I will apply aloe vera on my face. It is not just very good for inflammation but it prevents my facial skin from blemishes and scars.
One more thing that I love to use from head to toes is coconut oil. I use organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, raw and cold pressed, by Absolute Organic. I apply it for my hair, face and whole body basically. I use it regularly for oil pulling. Oil pulling is a cleansing method for the mouth. It also can be used for cooking. It smells so good and delicious.
To find out more about Tida and where she teaches in Sydney, to book a Thai Yoga Massage, or a private lesson, visit her website: www.tidahappyyogi.com
She is also offering a 10% discount for her 60 or 90 minute Thai Yoga Massage to our readers. (Normal fees are $60 and $90). Just quote Beautiful Because when making your booking.
Gift vouchers for both yoga and massage sessions are also available.
Tida also has the following Christmas offer: