Blue Lotus goes to Thailand each year to study with some of our favorite teachers and experience the magic of Thai culture. It is an opportunity for Thai bodyworkers (or people who aspire to be Thai bodyworkers) to dive deep into the cultural, historical and spiritual roots of this unique form of physical medicine. You will study with Pichest Boonthumme for 8 days and you will study with a number of other teachers and monks who will give their take on Thai bodywork, Thai medicine, Buddhism, meditation, and indigenous healing practices. As you meet these teachers, you will see the connections between Thai bodywork and the basic Buddhist philosophy, history, and culture that supports it. In truth, so many aspects of Thailand are intertwined in the physical practice and this trip will open your eyes to all those things that are embedded in this expression of healing touch.
We will all be staying together at a guest house in the “old city” of Chiang Mai. Within walking distance from the guest house are amazing markets, temples, restaurants, and an endless array of bodywork and healing opportunities.
The first week will center around Thai massage study in Pichest’s classroom. On Monday morning, we will go to the Chiang Mai Gate Market, the largest food market in northern Thailand, to pick up offerings for our first week with Pichest. We will eat breakfast at the market and get incense, candles, flowers, and fruit for the offerings. Then we will get on a yellow Songtao (pick up truck converted into a bus), and head to Pichest’s house. Paul Fowler began studying with Pichest in 1999 and has gone many times to learn more and more. Pichest is a teacher who will give you a lot to think about. That is why Paul keeps going back.
If you are open to being challenged in your practice and in your ego, then Pichest is for you! However, we don’t want to give the wrong impression. He is a truly loving and compassionate man who is one of the few who, from our perspective, honestly lives the dharma. He is a true teacher’s teacher. Almost all Thai massage teachers practicing today have either studied with him or with people who have studied with him. He has been the teacher to so many, including Asokananda, one of the first non-Thai person to share the practice with the world, and Chongkol Setthakorn, founder of ITM, one of the largest Thai massage schools in Thailand.
On Saturday, we will visit Mor Ta, a traditional doctor who lives outside of town in the countryside, and we will receive massages, eat home cooked food and take an herbal steam. On Sunday, we will take a trip to the mysterious Chiang Dao, a large mountain home outside of Chiang Mai. While there, we will visit a temple inside a cave, an herbal village and a sacred temple high on a hill overlooking the mountainous region.
In the mornings, evenings and weekends, we will have many wonderful and unique experiences together. For more details click on over to the Itinerary page or the 2015 Thailand Adventure Blog to learn more.
The second week will find us back at Pichest’s but will also include a 24 hour silent meditation with some local monks, a Thai cooking class, an herbal compress class and an opportunity to see a performance of traditional Thai dancing. Not to mention all the amazing food!!!
Overall, on this two week Thailand adventure, students will have the benefit of engagement with Thai teachers as well as with us, embarking on a conversation that begins in the USA, deepens in Thailand, and then continues back home. Our hope is to open the door to a lifetime of questioning, experimenting, experiencing and learning that bridges two distinct, rich and complex cultures.
Studying in Thailand is a vibrant, inspiring blend of traditional healing therapies, harmonious chanting, warm and friendly people, spicy food, meditative practice, temples, incense and a sense of community with practitioners from all over the world. With Paul’s support and caring guidance, we were invited into the homes, clinics and classrooms of master teachers and gifted healers. In Chiang Mai, we learned daily how one might weave together a physical practice with honest self exploration, appreciation for emotional well being and respect for Buddhist precepts and ancient traditions. Yes, we did expand our skill and technique but even more meaningful was the opportunity to cultivate empathy, keep a sense of humor and nourish our confidence in an environment where Thai bodywork, kindness and meditation are a part of the indigenous cultural and historical fabric.
~ Janine Biskind
This experience was unlike any other. It was a great adventure full of love and discovery. it has left me with an open heart that is overflowing with love. I am so grateful to have this trip in my soul, it was truly amazing and life changing. The food was incredible too!
~ Gaby Martinez
The Thailand trip is a very eye opening experience. Getting to know the culture and background that this style of massage gives great insight into the practice itself. Paul has also set up a wonderful variety of amazing teachers to experience on the trip, who have each their own style and approach. Plus the food is delicious!
~ Jeramie Glasenhardt
Any ideas I had about Thailand did not prepare me for the awe-inspiring adventure that I experienced. Paul F. showed us local Thai culture and introduced us to amazing healers that I would never have experienced without his guidance. Paul’s Thailand adventure enhanced my learning and introduced me to a healing bodywork community abroad, and here at home.