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Flowing from the heart
Publication Date : 29-04-2012
Few wellness seekers would think of going on a retreat in a city like Bangkok. A metropolis with towering skyscrapers and chaotic traffic doesn't bring too many calm images to the mind.
So when the Peninsula Bangkok came up with the "Brighten Your Inner Body" retreat from April 6 to 9, there were murmurs of surprise.
Yet during the three days and three nights of yoga and Chi Nei Tsang abdominal massage, the retreat created a pocket of peace in the city, and not just because it happened to be a long holiday weekend.
The yoga session was led by Christophe Cappon, a licensed Anusara yoga instructor while the massage was conducted by Marion Menu, a detoxification massage specialist.
The retreat offered two sessions of yoga a day plus a daily abdominal massage. The class took place in a room overlooking the river and at 8am, the six participants were ready on their yoga mats with towels and bottles of water provided by the hotel staff. Fresh juices were always available in a corner of the room in case anyone felt thirsty prior to the start of the class.
Anusara yoga, which translates as "following your heart" is a type of Hatha yoga. Cappon's style is to guide you into your heart by taking a look at life and postures from a new perspective. His teaching is suitable for all levels of ability and experience.
Cappon says yoga can enhance the ability to do other things, as you have freedom and body awareness when you are on the mat and that can integrate into real life.
"I realise the most important about teaching yoga is to make students feel better about themselves when leaving the class, not that they are still not good enough," he says.
A second yoga class was held from 4 to 5.30pm and often attended by Menu, the massage specialist, who is also an excellent yoga practitioner.
"Chi Nei Tsang is a Taoist Chinese massage technique that monks in ancient China used to enhance their spiritual practice. The belly is not big area to work on, but it's fascinating and there is so much to do. It works with all the system of the body from digestive, lymphatic, respiratory, nervous, endocrinal, urinary, reproductive and also the acupuncture meridian system".
Menu explained that Che Nei Tsang and yoga combine to make the inner organs healthy. "The massage can help you feel more at ease when doing yoga postures, while yoga postures give the organs the flow of energy, to help with the body's circulation and balance," she says.
Menu has a strong background in alternative therapy and wellness. She's been certified in Chinese acupuncture since the age of 18 and learned Tai Chi and Qigong while studying in Argentina and studied yoga and Thai massage when working in Spain. During her travels to India, she studied ayurvedic medicine and panchakarma then headed to Bali to learn Balinese massage before falling in love with and settling down in Chiang Mai, where she's learned the different styles of Thai massage and Thai herbs. Chiang Mai is also where she's studying the art of Chi Nei Tsang.
Cappon and Menu led the retreat with their hearts, working with each person individually to give them a tangible path for positive change.
"The retreat aims to get people away from the pattern, giving them yoga and treatments", Cappon said. "We can help to show them it's not impossible and not an unpleasant experience. Instead, it's a rewarding one. People can go home with a new tool to do things differently, to serve themselves and the people around them better."