Asher Gaudion introduces Zen Thai Shiatsu to Sweden
“Take a moment of tranquility, some time to observe your thoughts, to get to know yourself at a deeper level and to be in acceptance of who you are”
Finally the snow has covered the ground. Everything is silent, pure and white. I see Asher sitting outside with his legs crossed on the cold ground. His eyes are closed and his bare chest is moving in slow motion to the rhythm of his breath. There is something magical and tranquil in him. Asher Gaudion was born in Australia. He spent a relatively sheltered childhood in Brisbane growing up surrounded by friends and family and not really giving a thought which way his life would go. A trip to Bali at the age of 18 started to shape Ashers life.
”I had been living in the same neighbourhood most of my life, I was working with a job I didn’t enjoy, I was bored and unmotivated. I didn’t really know there was much else that I could explore. When I travelled to Bali I was spending a lot of time in different yoga- centers, experiencing healthy food for the first time in my life, enjoying the beautiful landscape and meeting people from different cultures. It was on this trip that I first became aware of meditation and yoga, something that was totally new for me. It was a very powerful experience. I had this intense feeling that this is the way I want to live my life.”
Asher returned to Australia and started to make changes in his life. He moved to the centre of Brisbane to live in a share-house with people who came from all over the world. He also got more and more into the meditation, yoga, nutrition and health. He just did not know yet how to direct that. Asher wanted to explore the world. He went back to Indonesia a couple of times, travelled in Asia for three months and spent six months backpacking in Europe and Africa.
”I had an amazing experience in Spain. I was walking the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage trail across the north of the country. I met incredible people and saw a different way to live. I experienced a true community the first time in my life. We were a group of people who did not know each other from before, but there was an instant feeling of family. That totally changed my way of thinking.”
He travelled from Europe to the Philippines were he met his now partner, Kiia. After some twists and turns they ended up living in Australia.
”Kiia came to Australia and we travelled across the country. It was then when my interest for meditation, yoga, nutrition and health really exploded. We spent a lot of time in different yoga and meditation retreats working as volunteers. I absorbed pretty much everything I saw and experienced.’’
After the roundtrip in Australia, Asher and Kiia were settled in Melbourne for 6 months. Earlier in the year Asher had some contact with Zen Thai Shiatsu during their travels. He had always been interested in some form of touch and massage but he felt that he did not resonate with the techniques that he had come across so far. He met some people who were practicing Zen Thai Shiatsu during their journey. They were really passionate about it and it began to spark Asher’s interest. He got an opportunity to participate to an introduction course in Melbourne and did not hesitate.
”The course itself completely changed my life. Before the course I felt lot more closed and hesitant, especially when it came to intimate touch. Being with 15 strangers for hours a day studying, practicing, touching and breathing together. Well that changed me. I felt like a new person. Since then I knew that this is what I want to do.”
” The technique is a combination of Traditional Thai Massage and Zen Shiatsu, with elements of Osteopathy. It was created in Australia by Gwyn Williams. Zen Thai Shiatsu is a dynamic and intentional form of bodywork. It is based on the floor, the practitioner and the patient are very close, both on the same level. I am using different parts of my body to twist, turn and stretch. It is very fluid, it moves like water or like a dance from one movement to another. I am able to be deeply present and focused during the session and my goal is to create the same level of peace and calm in the person who is receiving. I am trying to synchronise my breathing with the person I am practicing with. When I am stretching and touching the body I no longer see another person. I just see their body as an extension to myself. My goal with each session is to explore together the connection between our physical and emotional bodies.”
Asher is a very open and positive person and I must say that being around him it is almost impossible to have ”a bad day”. And if you are having one it magically goes away when you start to talk to him. He has a genuine interest for people and nature. He has also a great knowledge of nutrition and health. I could not help myself to ask some tips and advice for diet.
” I don’t want to work as a nutritionist or dietician specifically, but I would love to help people to connect deeper with the food they eat. I have had a lot of experience with different diet and lifestyle philosophies over the last few years. What I have found, to put it shortly, is that we are all different and there is no one ideology or practice that is going to work to everybody. The most important thing is to listen to your body, create a relationship with yourself and you will find what works. The best diet advice I can give to begin with is to eliminate all processed foods and to only eat whole foods. This practice will allow us to develop a relationship with our bodies and see clearly what foods actually make us feel good. It will take time, but all healthy relationships do.’’
I was also very curious about how Asher keeps himself fit and what kind of exercises he does.
” I think that having fun is the most sustainable way to create the movement practice. My amount of exercise as well as type of practice varies a little by seasons. Of course I am more motivated when it is warm and sunny as I enjoy going out to the nature to create a movement. I love climbing trees, swimming in the ocean, climbing rocks, playing in natural surfaces. I enjoy the idea of natural movement where I am moving in and out in different forms and shapes without tough of how it might look or what kind of particular exercise it is meant to be performing. Yes, I enjoy moving and having fun.”
Asher and his partner, Kiia, traveling around the world for three years. Now they are settled in Sweden for at least one year. Kiia lives in Malmö, so Sweden was a natural choice for now. Asher will be teaching yoga and introducing Zen Thai Shiatsu which he is very exited about.
Asher happily shares some of his thoughts and life philosophy with us:
* Try and be kind to yourself. Don’t try to rush with your health, it will take time. Just accept where you are now and begin to make small changes. * At least once a day get outside with bare feet, on the grass, dirt, snow, any natural surface. Breath deeply. This practice is immensely powerful and brings you right back to the present moment. It gives you a huge amount of energy. * Touch people more: family, friends, loved ones. Give a hug to the people you meet. Try to connect more with touch. * To take time every day to be grateful. List three things you are thankful for each day. This will allow us to focus on what we have, and not what we don’t have.
” For me, these practices are great way to put my day in the right direction.”
TEXT: Tiina Valavaara PHOTOS: Tiina Valavaara, Kiia Valavaara, Ashers and Kiias travel albums