Yogassage uses breathwork and stretching to ease muscle soreness, encouraging injury recovery, mobilizing the body and promoting overall relaxation through assisted yoga poses.
The amount of client participation and movement during a yogassage session depends on the client’s needs, abilities and comfort level. Sessions are not meant to be aerobic but focus on body awareness, deep breathing, and grounding.
Yogassage takes some of the work out of yoga by calling upon your teacher to manipulate the muscles and limbs into various movements and stretches. These movements counteract the daily stress and pressure we put on our joints and bones. Though every session will vary depending on one’s needs and comfort level, there are a few commonly used yoga positions that combine easily with therapeutic techniques:
1. Downward-facing dog (adho mukha svanasana): The client holds this pose while the therapist pulls back on the front of the client’s thighs, creating a gentle hamstring stretch and bringing the heels closer to the ground. The therapist may also stand in front of the client and put pressure on the lower back, easing day-to-day tension carried in that area.
2. Cross-legged sit (sukhasana): This simple seated posture allows the massage therapist to apply pressure on the tops of the shoulders, rotate the arms, or pull the elbows back to create a pectoral stretch.
3. Seated forward fold (paschimottanasana) or child’s pose (balasana): Adding a forward fold to the simple cross-legged seated posture or moving to the knees as in child’s pose exposes the entire back for the therapist. Any kneading or palming techniques counteract posture issues or daily gravitational pressure on the vertebrae. The massage practitioner may also grasp the wrists and pull forward to deepen this hip-opener pose and create a stretch through the arms and into the shoulders and upper back.
4. Corpse pose (savasana): With the client lying on their back, a massage therapist can bend, stretch, or rotate any limb. Pulling on the ankles or wrists, raising and lowering the legs, or bending the knees into the chest all create gentle ways of stretching muscles, releasing tension, and promoting relaxation.
What to Know Before a Yogassage Session
Clients seeking yogassage need not be particularly limber or flexible, and it is not necessary to have experience in yoga to receive yogassage. Poses can be adjusted to fit almost anyone, regardless of age, experience, or ability. Yogassage may be good for someone who prefers a more interactive therapeutic experience, a clothed massage, or a heavily assisted yoga practice.
Benefits of Yogassage
A combined practice can help reduce a person’s stress levels and encourage body-mind wellness. This combination puts an emphasis on breathwork and relaxation throughout the session, facilitating a mindful approach to melting away tension.
Traditional massage allows the client to completely relax while lying on the massage table but is often limited primarily to this horizontal posture. Yogassage, in contrast, is able to incorporate other postures, including some inversion, which helps counteract gravitational pressure. For instance, the downward-facing dog position inverts the spine, allowing it to decompress from its usual upright position. This alleviates strain on the whole spine, but especially the lower back, where many people carry aches and tension. Your teacher can even further aid this decompression by applying light pressure in strokes from the base of the spine to the neck while a client is in downward-facing dog pose.
*performed in one-on-one therapy sessions. All parties remain clothed during session.*