For many years my Thai Massage teachers taught me to chant well known Sanskrit chants such as “om mani padme om”. I was taught that the main reason for this, and why Thai Massage practitioners might regularly chant was to acknowledge the fact that the massage was based on a Buddhist philosophy, and that the regular process of chanting would focus my attention ready to give massage. I liked the idea behind this, but also wondered why we were chanting something that was non-‐Thai.
In more recent times I have new teachers and a new lineage-‐ I am very proud to be part of this. It is through this direct line, like a blood line or family that I have come to learn the Wai Kru.
For a long while this ceremony was very hard for me to commit to, the words are tricky to pronounce, (written in Pali), it is many pages long and I have struggled to feel comfortable about reciting religious words (I am spiritual but not religious).
Slowly though, I have come to understand why this is an important aspect of being a serious Thai bodywork practitioner and teacher, and slowly it has become easier, and slowly I find myself making space in myself for committing to this daily ritual.
Travelling to study with my teacher this autumn, my appreciation of the Wai Kru has deepened. This happened because her knowledge and how she explains everything to me widens my perspective and somehow softens the ceremony, making it something I can see value in and appreciate at a much deeper and human level.
My teacher reminds me that in Thai tradition it is always vital to have a teacher, to acknowledge our teachers and those that have patiently shared their knowledge and wisdom with us so that we can call upon their spirit to guide and protect us from negative influences when we offer healing. This is what the Wai Kru is about and why I can commit and connect to it.
The Wai Kru is translated as ‘Wai’ – “respect’ ‘Kru’ – ‘teacher’. It is quite simply a ceremony to pay respects to one’s teacher/s. Throughout Thailand in all walks of life a version of the Wai Kru is performed, there are many variations but all will pay respects to the Buddha and offerings of flowers, incense and candles are made. In the most basic of Wai Kru ceremonies Thai bodywork practitioners offer thanks to the Buddha, Jivaka Kumarabhacca (father of medicine) and Rheusi (shaman/medicine men who developed Thai bodywork). Others acknowledgements might be to your parents, Ganesh, the Sangha and there are verses for blessings and healing.
In the words of my teacher, ‘A Wai Kru practice is a bouquet of gratitude, blessings, protection and connections. Without it you can learn all of the Thai medicine techniques but you will not have learned the true healing. You will have only empty techniques with nothing inside them, nothing to give the techniques spirit, magic’.
With the new structure of our modular courses in place, and completely new content and theory to satisfy both existing Thai Massage practitioners and those that are new to Thai bodywork, I hope you will enjoy learning and embracing the Wai Kru with me.
See you in November
All info and dates for courses can be found here