There is not much more fun in Thai Yoga Massage than a good flip. This is one of the
features that makes Thai so awesome – the receiver doesn’t have to do ANYTHING. They don’t even have to turn themselves over. Ultimate lazy man’s massage :-).
For geeks like me, it’s also fun to watch the mechanics of the body. How controlling the hip, moves the entire body. Even if you
are a tiny person working on a large person, physics makes this flip not just possible, but easy!
How to do the Single Leg Flip
*For the sake of clarity, these instructions are presented using the right leg. You can flip using either leg. In fact, if your partner has limited range of motion in their hips or shoulders, you may well want to flip using the left leg. Think ahead!
- Move your partner’s arms up by their ears and ask them to turn
their head to the right.
- Lift the right foot, bending their knee.
- Begin to pull their leg toward straight as you walk to the left, stepping over their left leg; this will lift their right hip.
- The right leg is your lever to flip the hips, which, in turn, flips the rest of the body. Keep walking to the left as you lean back (pulling the leg) to flip the hips the rest of the way over.
- Once your partner is face up on
the mat, gently lay their leg down.
Benefits: Super fun!
Cautions: Recognize that this move may not be appropriate for some hip issues and for inflexible shoulders. Be cautious as you move.
There is a marvelous shoulder stretch that will help you understand the dynamics of this flip in your own body…
- Start by lying down on your belly and taking your left arm straight out to the side, palm down.
- Look to the right and place your right palm on the floor in front of your face.
- Bend your right knee and begin to lift your right thigh off the ground. Reach the right foot toward the left hand. This will begin to lift your hip. You can use your right hand for more leverage here.
Notice what happens to your hips as you reach that right foot toward your left hand. Very similar to our hip flip! Keep going and you will eventually roll onto your left hip and shoulder. Go only as far as it feels good for your shoulder. When doing this pose on your own, the placement of that left arm gives you the shoulder stretch and prevents you from flipping all the way over (this is why we first move the arms when flipping our partner).