Izzy Shafey - Zenthai Shiatsu

by GEM Magazine / Jul 09, 2015 / Comments

I grew up in destitute areas in and surrounding Toronto which were quite oppressive. There weren't many positive opportunities for the youth available and the potential to follow a very destructive path is high. It was a way of life I found myself on the edge of giving into a number of times.

Seeing the potential to go down this negative spiral, along with the devastating consequences it can entail, made me realize that it was not the life I wanted for myself. So I chose to follow a different path.

We all have a choice.

I longed to find something that I was passionate about. Even though I was successful working in sales, marketing and promotions, I felt like there was something missing, a void.

I learned and believed that if you follow your passion, without expecting where the money will come from, you will find your calling in the world. So I pursued my love of surfing and went to Australia in hopes that it would lead me to my life's mission, unaware of how it would come to be.

One afternoon of surf, I met a girl who needed a ride to the train station. I offered without expectation of anything in return but she insisted on giving me a small treatment right there and then, on the beach to show her appreciation.

I wasn't prepared for the effect it would have on me as I was expecting a regular massage. The best way to describe it was like an warm embrace from a long lost friend. It was so heartfelt and made other professional massages I'd had in the past, seem almost mechanical in comparison.

I've always loved touch. It makes me feel secure and has had a big impact on my life. I'd been thinking about working with my body in a meaningful way for a while, especially utilizing my passion for physical activity. This seemed like the perfect opportunity to learn something which combined the two aspects that came so naturally to me.

I felt like it was put on my path for a reason.

Although I had no previous massage experience, I decided to go meet the facilitator and founder of the practice that now truly intrigued me; Zenthai Shiatsu.

It's difficult for me to take on a mentor or role model as I've often filled that position myself, especially with three younger siblings. However, Gwynn Williams' teachings and views fell in line with my vision and understanding, making it a natural connection.

After gaining a wealth of experience and absorbing everything I could, I left the comfort and support of my Zenthai Shiatsu community in Australia with a vision to inspire and introduce this healing modality to Canada.

At times, I feel the pressure of starting up on my own, far away from the nourishing roots of the origins of Zenthai in Queensland, Australia. The usual fear of failure sometimes creeping in, especially without the support and feedback of those practicing around me. However, increasingly I am revived and re-inspired by the warm reception from all the new people I meet (and treat). That, along with my enduring drive, pushes me ever forward.

Touch means connection.

Being in contact with another human and having the intent to heal is a beautiful thing. It provides a depth and closeness which we as a society are often lacking in our current day to day.

Part of what I do is to bridge the gap between this disconnect in our lives. Instead of the superficial technology based connection we experience daily, I am nurturing bonds and connections on a soul level, which is much more nourishing to our tribally evolved minds.

I see so many people who feel alone and unsupported. This then closes off whatever beautiful offering they have for the world. I have also seen people transform and open up as a result of mindful human contact and facilitating in the healing of physical and emotional pain. This soul nourishment then leads to a sense of freedom where they can express themselves fully, create, and contribute to their community again.

I am bringing this knowledge and soul food into society with the Community Massage Jam events. These allow for more people to accessibly learn and participate in Zenthai Shiatsu (as well as other healing arts) in a safe communal setting, encouraging us to breakdown this disconnect we have with touch and to incorporate it into our daily practice.

I'd love for people to partake in this healing modality for total wellbeing, rather than just when they're feeling sore or tired, and to understand that it's a therapy much deeper than the external, surface level.

Overall, it is my vision to bring back touch, of any kind, to be more accepted within our modern lives and allow us to not only re-connect within ourselves and our bodies but with everyone around us.

Interviewed by Ashleigh James

Izzy Shafey is a Certified Zenthai Shiatsu therapist who incorporates elements of traditional Thai, Zen Shiatsu and Osteopatic techniques, as well as utilizing Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) diagnosis and meridians. He practices in Victoria, BC at studio Robazzo, and hosts bi-weekly community massage jams in association with Templed Mind.

Phone: 250-816-4518
Email: i2shafey@gmail.com
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/izzyzenthai

2001 Douglas Street
Victoria, BC, Canada

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