The Lahu Experience of Thai Yoga


When you travel to Thailand aiming to learn Thai Massage it can be extremely confusing to choose a teacher because there is such a variety of schools. It is also the same overwhelming feeling when you go to India to study yoga.

My first trip to Chiang Mai, Thailand, became just an exploration and at the end I didn’t study any Thai massage. I ended up doing other things and visiting and exploring the different schools talking to their students to learn about their experiences. And that is how I found out about this 12 day Thai Yoga Massage course in a hill tribe village 80 km away from Chiang Mai.

This was the Sunshine Network founded by a german later called Asokananda. He was the first western man to organize the Thai Massage principles for a more western mind set by writing the first manual in a foreign language. He was also the one to link Thai Massage and Hatha Yoga, and that’s why he started calling it Thai Yoga Massage. He is the founder of this school near Chiang Mai.

My first course in this Lahu Village, called Huai Nam Rin, was in 2007. It was an honor that my teacher was a Lahu male member of the Asokananda family, Cahtachoi. I felt very lucky because it was a tiny group of just 3 students. I had already done a one-week Thai Massage course in Bali. Here in Lahu Village I was feeling very privileged to have a kind of private teaching by Chatchoi. My practice made a big step forward and Thai Yoga Massage became a part of my nomadic lifestyle.

Since then I have supported my travels by teaching yoga and giving ThaiYoga Massage treatments. I definitely do not work just for the sake of money. My passion became my work and my work began to be something that kept me healthy, centered and happy!

I've been going back to Lahu dozens of times repeating the course with Chatchoi and also studying with other teachers, such as Itzhak Helman and Kaline Alayna and then I naturally became an assistant teacher.

It was four years ago when my beloved teacher and friend, Itzhak Helman suggested me that I start teaching. I didn't understand it at the beginning. I didn't find myself with enough skills to teach and becoming a Thai Massage teacher was not my goal. I was just happy to share my time in Lahu village meeting interesting souls, improving my practice, and growing up with a family of permanent travelers with whom we all share the same lifestyle.

Itzahk designed the structure of my first 20 hours intensive workshop and from there I started sharing this beautiful healing art. Today I really understand Itzahk’s suggestion. I definitely knew more than beginners and teaching it is a gift. I've learned so much from teaching and spreading out this knowledge that I see how important is to share your passion from your hearth. While doing it you need to make it very clear and accessible to everyone’s needs. This makes me step out of my comfort zone and find the way to make it accessible for every one of my students.

I'm honored today to be a part of the Asokananda's lineage, to follow his dream to bring ThaiYoga Massage to our culture where there is a big need of start touching each other in a pure, loving, and kind way. In our western culture it seems that touching is limited to sex or violence. ThaiYoga Massage is one of those practices where you go back to a caring and nurturing touch that has the capacity to heal ourselves from the huge problem of disconnection and loneliness that so many people suffer from today.

We are never alone, we have the capacity to heal each other!

Love is the answer for us humans!

Eva Torres Domingo